From Proverbs 10-12
What do you think of when the scriptures use the word ‘righteousness’?
This post is part of my bible in a year series.
Passage and Comments
These chapters begin with a new section in Proverbs. Solomon is named the author. There does not seem to be any immediately discernable trend that distinguishes each of the chapters or verses within. Other than the ongoing comparisons between the righteous and the wicked.
These sayings of Solomon use the common vernacular of the communities in the bible. The ready assumption that some people were righteous and that they acted in righteousness. It seems strange to us today. Because we are so uncomfortable using this kind of language.
I found some interesting Proverbs.
16 The wage of the righteous leads to life,
the gain of the wicked to sin. (Pr 10:16)
Proverbs 10.16 should be read as an implicit instruction not to let our material earnings lead us into sin. Rather we should use it in positive ways. This reminds me of what Paul says in Rom 6.23. Let me reverse it though to make the similarity more evident.
the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord,
But the wages of sin is death. (Rom 6.23)
Both refer to wages, life and sin. I cannot say for sure, but it seems Paul had Proverbs in mind as he dictated this.
Solomon later says;
4 Riches do not profit in the day of wrath,
but righteousness delivers from death.
5 The righteousness of the blameless keeps his way straight,
but the wicked falls by his own wickedness. (Pr 11:4–5)
Proverbs 11.4 also focussing on wealth exhorts righteousness over riches. Righteousness has lasting value. In Proverbs 11.5 the blameless keeps his way straight through his righteousness. I suspect the meaning of ‘keeps his way straight’ might mean something along the lines of uncluttered with troubles arising from sin. Wickedness creates trouble.
Story of Jesus
Since I’ve already mentioned Rom 6.23 and these Proverbs say a bit about righteousness it seems appropriate to go on and make an exhortation. Based on the fact that by the work of Christ, believers have been freed from sin, Paul says;
[19b] For just as you once presented your members as slaves to impurity and to lawlessness leading to more lawlessness, so now present your members as slaves to righteousness leading to sanctification.  For when you were slaves of sin, you were free in regard to righteousness.  But what fruit were you getting at that time from the things of which you are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death.  But now that you have been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the fruit you get leads to sanctification and its end, eternal life.  For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom 6:19-23)
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