A Righteous Congregation to Serve our God
King David asks: Who shall ascend the
When the psalmist prays: How can a young man cleanse his way to keep your word (Psalm 119:9) God answers through Micah: You have been told man, what rightness is. And what does Yahuh requires from you, but to act rightly, love mercy and be modest in dealing with your God. (Micah 6:8)
Yahuh said to
And the apostle Paul
writes to the Christian congregations that lived the corrupted city of
These words emphasize the fact that in order to enjoy a relationship with God and receive the promised blessings, we must seek physical and spiritual uprightness, love of truth and integrity in work, projects and intentions. The rejection of worlds corrupted practices is a key factor in true worship, he who seeks God's approval, must understand and love Gods concept of what is upright.
3 The instructions on Gods law received by Moses, virtually regulated any aspect of everyday life, exposing what was permitted and what was not. Yahuh had and still has a special commission for his people, and just as the obedience to God's Law protected the Israel of the Old Covenant from the immoral practices of the nations around them, the obedience to the words of Christ, who said I came down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me, (John 6:38-40) protects from the corrupt practices of the world, the spiritual Israel of the New Covenant.
Yahuh said to his people through Moses: Now, if you obey my voice and keep my covenant, then you shall be from among all the peoples, a possession for me. In fact the whole earth is mine but you will be a kingdom of priests and a nation holy for me. (Exodus 19:5, 6)
Should not these words give pause to the followers of Christ, who are through the New Covenant, God's people? Because even if it is true that Christians are not under the Law of Moses, they should be aware that the things written in it are the foreshadowing of things to come and that the reality is Christ. (Colossians 2:17) But if the law contains a shadow of good things to come (Hebrews 10:1) and the things in it are for us an example and were written as a warning for those of us who would come to the end of times, (1 Corinthians 10:11) it is essential to consider seriously the words of God about the moral condition of his people, since he warns: I, Yahuh, do not change. (Malachi 3:6) So the fact that the followers of Christ safeguard their integrity is as important today as in the days of the Law.
Let us recall that Yahuh rejected the nation of
God describes his people as a stray nation, a people laden with iniquity who insulted the Holy One of Israel by going back, (Isaiah 1:4) and says: What is to me your abundance of sacrifices? ...I am tired of Holocaust... do not keep bringing empty offerings! ... I cannot stand illegality and congregation... when you lift the palms of your hands I conceal my face. Even if you multiply your prayers, I do not listen... wash yourselves, clean yourselves. Take away from my presence the immorality of your deeds and cease practicing what is harmful. (Isaiah 1:11-16) When voluntarily and for personal advantage, a Christian abandons the integrity required by God from his people, religiosity and worship are useless, and add hypocrisy to error.
5 About due obedience, Jesus spoke this parable: A man had two sons. Going to the first he said: «Son, go work today in my vineyard», and he replied: «I do not want» but later he repented and went. Then he went to the other, told him the same thing and he answered: «I shall go sir» but he did not go. Which of the two did the will of their Father? (Matthew 21:28-31)
Yahuh does not consider words and exterior appearances, but deeds, and he looks and considers the desires of the heart. Solomon says: More than anything else care to protect your heart, because life flows from it, (Proverbs 4:23) and Jesus declared: From the heart come evil intentions, murder, adultery, idolatry, theft, false declarations and blasphemy. (Matthew 15:19) So if we do not monitor carefully the desires of the heart, and reject those that lead to a lifestyle proper of the world, we will certainly forsake the purity and the faithfulness we owe to our God.
Paul warns: We should not live to satisfy the material wishes of the flesh, for if we live to please them, we may be sure to die, but if we live in harmony with the spirit, and get rid of the sinful practices of the body, we shall live. (Romans 8:12-13) Justifying and defending anything that may lead us astray from the loyalty due to God, is irresponsible and useless. What is the advantage of moving away from God to achieve an illusion of happiness which only is the pleasure of one day? (2 Peter 2:13) Our time in this unjust world is a short and uncertain period. Could this period be for us more important than the everlasting life that Christ has placed within reach of men?
6 Peter writes to the disciples: Blessed be the God, and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in His great mercy made us be born again to a hope of life by rising Jesus Christ from the dead. An inheritance incorruptible, undefiled and eternal reserved in heaven for you who by the power of God, are guarded because of the faith, for the salvation to be revealed in the last days. (1 Peter 1:3-5) Do not forget that God has justified us through the faith in Christ and has called us to follow the way of truth and life. Therefore, beloved, says Peter, I urge you as foreigners and temporary residents, to abstain from the material desires which are in conflict with the spiritual life, so that your way of living among the people of the nations is blameless. (1 Peter 2:11-12) And since you call Father, he who judges each one according to his works without personal preferences, while you stay in this land where you are like strangers, conduct yourselves with respectful fear. (1 Peter 1:17)
Solomon wrote, The awe of Yahuh means to hate evil. (Proverbs 8:13) To please God and be ready to receive his blessings, it is essential that we do not try to justify our mistakes, because if we do not put the righteousness in the first place, one day Jesus will tell us, Go away from me, doers of lawlessness. (Matthew 7:23)
7 Isaiah says: He who walks in his integrity and speaks uprightly, he who rejects gain from extortion, removes his hands from the gain of bribery, shuts his ears to consider bloodshed and shuts his eyes to the consideration of evil will dwell on high, his shelter shall be inaccessible fortresses, his food will be delivered to him and his water will be guaranteed. (Isaiah 33:15-16)
The protection of Yahuh means safety for his people. Wealth, prestige and power so much valued in the world, are useless to achieve the life that through Christ, God has made available to humanity. Jesus told his disciples: Be not anxious for life, what to eat, neither for the body, how to dress. Life is more than food and the body is more than clothes ... And who of you may by worrying, add one cubit to his height? So if you cannot do this, why worry about the rest? Think of how the lilies grow, never tire nor spin, yet I tell you that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of them, and if God clothes so the vegetation which is today in the field and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, how much more you, men of little faith! Do not be looking for what you can eat and what you can drink and do not be anxious. This is what all the nations of this world are looking for, but your Father knows that you need these things. You must seek the kingdom of God and these things shall be added to you. (Luke 12:22-31)
8 Jesus encouraged his disciples to live sustained by trust. He told them: Fear not little flock, for your Father approves giving you the kingdom. Make for you purses that do not grow old, a treasure in heaven which does not fail, where no thief approaches and no moth consumes, for where your treasure is, there will your heart also be. (Luke 12:32-34) And speaking of the way that his disciples should take, he said: Enter by the narrow entrance, for wide is the entrance and broad is the road that leads to destruction and many are entering in it, but narrow is the entrance and narrow the path that leads to life and few are those who find it. (Matthew 7:13-14)
This was the path that Jesus followed, he did not seek to please himself (Romans 15:3) and gave himself for our sins, so to take us from this present evil world, according to the will of God our Father, (Galatians 1:4) so this is also the path that all his disciples must take, because he who says: «I have known him» and does not observe his teaching, is a liar and the truth is not in him... and he who says to be united with him, should also walk as he walked. (1 John 2:4-6)
9 What does the Scripture say of the path that by the will of God, Christ's disciples should follow?
First, it is essential be baptized in the name of Jesus, this is the only valuable baptism before God, as Jesus himself says in these words: I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No one comes to the Father except through me, (John 14:6) and Luke declares that Peter commanded the followers of Jesus, to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ, (Acts 10:48) for There is salvation in no other, because under Heaven there is no other name given to men by which we may be saved. (Acts 4:12)
Paul writes: Dont you know that when you were baptized in Jesus Christ, you were all baptized into his death? Through baptism we were then buried in his death, so that as Christ was raised from the dead by his glorious Father, we too may walk into a new life, because if we have been united with him in the likeness of his death, we certainly also shall be in the likeness of his resurrection. (Romans 6:3-5) He says: In Christ dwells all the perfection of a divine person, he is the head of all principality and authority, and you partake of his perfection. You have been circumcised in him, not with a circumcision made with hands that deprives you of a body part, but with the circumcision of Christ, that is, being buried with him through baptism and re-emerging with him through faith in the power of God, who has risen him from the dead. (Colossians 2:9-12)
Because "when the goodness of our God and his love for the men was manifested, he saved us by redemption, but not because of the righteous deeds we have done but by his mercy. And through baptism, he gave us birth again regenerated by the Holy Spirit that he shed abundantly on us through our Savior Jesus Christ. Thus justified by his generous gift we became heirs, according to the hope of eternal life. (Titus 3:4-7)
John tells the baptized in Christ, The whole world is under the power of the Malignant, but we know that we have been originated from God, (1 John 5:19) because after the baptism, they no longer are part of this unjust world and they consider themselves strangers in it, living sustained by faith and by the hope on the promises of God, that made them his children.
10 Second, all who put faith in the good news of the Kingdom of God preached by Christ, must strive to declare it and share the hope of living forever, free from all kind of evil, because according to his promise, we are waiting for new heavens and for a new earth harboring justice. (2 Peter 3:13)
Jesus, calling the people towards his disciples, said: «If anyone wants to come after me, must deny himself, take his stake and follow me, because who wants to preserve his soul (=life) will destroy it but whoever loses his soul for my sake and for the good news will save it. What benefit is for man to gain the whole world and lose his soul? And what can a man give in exchange for his soul? From whosoever is ashamed of me and my words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed when he comes in the glory of his Father with the holy angels. (Mark 8:34-38)
Paul writes: I am not ashamed of the good news, because it is the mighty means of God to bring salvation to everyone who has faith, first to the Jew and then to the Greek. (Romans 1:16) Also, If I proclaim the good news, for me is not a merit but a duty. Woe to me if I did not preach it! I would have merit if I proclaimed it by my own initiative, but I do not do it by my own initiative because I have been entrusted with a mandate. (1Corinthians 9:16-17) And he says: Though I am free, I have become a servant to all in order to win a greater number of people... I have put myself in the place of the weak to win the weak. I have put myself in the place of everybody to win somebody. And I do it all on behalf of the good news, in order to share them with the others. (1Corinthians 9:19-23)
who wish to walk in the way of Christ must also understand and pay attention to
this warning of Paul, who says: You must not enter into a union unequal with the
unbelievers; for what connection is there
between righteousness and lawlessness? What communion between light and darkness? What agreement between
Christ and the Devil? What relationship
between the faithful and the unbeliever? Also, what harmony is there between
This provides a fundamental principle to preserve spiritual integrity, a principle that governs the rapport of the Christian in marriage, work and business, and with this world at large and its politics, which have nothing to do with Gods kingdom. And it is important to keep it in mind when taking decisions.
12 John writes that Christ gave himself for us, to redeem us from our sinful condition and to establish a people that belongs to him, and is pure and diligent in good works. (Titus 2:14)
In our daily life, the practice of good works includes to glorify the name of God, remaining in touch with him through prayer while we endeavor to signify by our behavior, the fruits of his spirit. Paul says the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-discipline... Those who belong to Jesus Christ have set the body with its passions and desires, on the stake. If we live by the spirit, let us also walk guided by the spirit. Let us not be conceited and envious, competing with each other, (Galatians 5:22-26) and let us do good and not lose courage, because if we do not get tired, at due time we will collect ... while we have time, let us do good to everyone, but above all to our brothers in faith. (Galatians 6:9-10)
We must not forget the people who suffer from diseases, natural disasters and other human tragedies. Remember that Yahuh loves generosity and that the most important gifts received in this world by the Disciples of Christ remain unchanged and are faith, hope and love. (1Corinthians 13:12)
13 Every athlete, Paul says, is subjected to rigid discipline to win a perishable prize while we, one which is incorruptible. So I run, but not without a purpose. I aim my punches so as not to hit the air. In fact, I submit to harsh discipline dominating my senses that does not happen that after having preached to others, be disqualified myself. (1Corinthians 9:25-27)
As servants of the Almighty, we have to show integrity before the difficulties that life holds for us and help each other to overcome them, putting first as Christ did, loyalty to our God who says through Solomon Be wise my son, rejoice my heart and I will answer him that is defying me (Proverbs 27:11) And in fact the Scripture shows us that there is a challenge, for example, when Satan speaks of the loyalty of Job, says: Did Job fear God without benefit? Did you not build a wall around him, his house and around all that is his? (Job 1:9-10) But if you extend your hand and touch all that he has, he will curse you in your face. (Job 1:11) And then accuses men saying everything that man has he will give for his life, but touch his bones and his flesh, and he will curse you in your face. (Job 2:5)
Yahuh knows that as Christ and many faithful men, demonstrated this claim is false but by remaining loyal and obedient in adversity we may have the great privilege to cheer his heart.
14 Remember John heard these words in his vision: Those who have overcome will inherit these things (God's promises). I will be their God and they shall be my sons, but, those who are cowards, those who do not have faith... and all liars will find their place in the lake of fire burning with brimstone, which means the second death. (Revelation 21:7-8)
Do not let the worlds pressures bow down the righteousness we owe our Father. Paul tells us: I urge you, brothers, to present yourselves as living sacrifices, holy and approved as an eloquent offering to God. (Romans 12:1) The privilege of having been cleansed by baptism in Christ is of immense value, and since we know that all things shall be dissolved, let us live in fidelity and purity, while we wait the arrival as soon as possible of the Lord's Day, in which the heavens will be dissolved and the elements intensely hot will melt. So while we wait for these things, let us pray with all our heart to God so that he finds us spotless, blameless and at peace. (2Peter 3:11-14)