Integrity (definition): “firm adherence to a code of especially moral or artistic values: INCORRUPTIBILITY” (M-W Dictionary). Thesaurus: honesty, truth, morality, honor, reliability, and uprightness. Antonym (opposite): immoral, crooked, dishonest, fraudulent, perverted, and wicked.
Proverbs 19:1-3 ESV
Better is a poor person who walks in his integrity
than one who is crooked in speech and is a fool.
Desire without knowledge is not good,
and whoever makes haste with his feet misses his way.
When a man’s folly brings his way to ruin,
his heart rages against the Lord.
To walk in integrity is to be a person whose character and whose lifestyle is above reproach. A person of integrity is one who deliberately makes it his choice to not lie, to not deceive others, and to not take advantage of others in any way. This person takes seriously the commands of the Lord and/or the standards of his profession, and he is trustworthy to hold to those standards and/or to walk in obedience to the Lord’s commands.
Nonetheless, it appears these days that people of integrity, at least here in America, are few and far between. So many people, including those who profess faith in Jesus Christ, have been convinced that they can lie, deceive, cheat, steal, abuse others, be sexually immoral, be adulterers, mock those who are different from them, and mock and gossip about those who are living righteously, and that makes them “normal” and acceptable.
Whereas, those who are living righteously and who are walking in integrity are often being accused of being self-righteous, conceited, prideful, intolerant, and bigoted, just because they hold to a godly standard of living and they take God and his Word seriously, and they choose to not compromise with the world of sin. And, they are even being encouraged to “lighten up” and to not take life so seriously and to “have fun” with sin.
Even within the church we have this attitude prevailing which says that we can believe in Jesus Christ, be promised heaven when we die, but that it doesn’t have to alter our lifestyles at all. In fact, many are saying that God no longer requires repentance or obedience to his commands now that we are “under grace,” as though God’s grace is liberty to sin as much as we want without consequence or guilt. But, it isn’t (Tit. 2:11-14; Eph. 4:17-24; Rom. 6:1-23; Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9; Gal. 5:19-24; Gal. 6:7-8).
Proverbs 19:8-9, 16 ESV
Whoever gets sense loves his own soul;
he who keeps understanding will discover good.
A false witness will not go unpunished,
and he who breathes out lies will perish.
Whoever keeps the commandment keeps his life;
he who despises his ways will die.
This teaching is not just Old Testament. This is New Testament teaching, too. For, scripture teaches us that Jesus died that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. It teaches us that if we go on sinning, i.e. if we make sin our practice, our lifestyle, that we will perish in our sins, not have eternal life with God, no matter what prayer we prayed or what words we professed with our lips (Lu. 9:23-25; Rom. 8:1-17; Gal. 5:19-24; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
So, if we have this notion that we can profess faith in Jesus Christ and that our sin no longer matters to God, and that we can sin as much as we want without guilt and without consequence, then we better think again.
This is not saying that we will live in sinless perfection, though. This is not saying that we will never sin again once we have trusted in Jesus Christ to be Lord and Savior of our lives. But, scripture does teach all throughout the New Testament that our salvation is not complete until Jesus returns for us, his bride, and that our faith must endure to the end, and that we must walk (in lifestyle) according to the Spirit of God if we want eternal life with God.
Proverbs 19:20-22 ESV
Listen to advice and accept instruction,
that you may gain wisdom in the future.
Many are the plans in the mind of a man,
but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand.
What is desired in a man is steadfast love,
and a poor man is better than a liar.
Because so many people have been convinced that they can “believe” in Jesus and have heaven secured, but that it does not have to alter their lifestyles and/or that their sin no longer matters to God, many who profess the name of Jesus are living no differently than those who make no such profession of faith. Thus, it is barely distinguishable between the church and the world anymore. Many professing Christians and non-Christians alike are living for the flesh to do what their flesh desires, without regard for God.
But, God is not like us. We can’t bring him down to human level. His grace is not liberty to keep on sinning without conscience, without guilt, and without consequence. And, his salvation from sin is conditional. We don’t just “get saved” and then we are good to go until we die no matter how we live our lives while we are on this earth. Our sins do matter to God! God can still see when we sin, and he is grieved by our sins, too. For, he gave his life up for us on that cross, not just to forgive us our sins, but to free us from our slavery to sin and to make us slaves of him and of his righteousness.
God does require that we leave our lives of sin behind us and that we follow him in obedience if we want to know him, and for him to know us, and if we want to have eternal life with God. For, many people are going to stand before God one day, convinced they are going to heaven, only to hear, “Depart from me! I never knew you!” And, that is because they believed the lie instead of the truth, because the lie allowed them to keep on in their sins, and it allowed them to ignore and to quench the Holy Spirit of God.
But, God’s purposes will stand! His Word will be fulfilled! What he said he will do he will do. What we decide about God and about his salvation in our own minds is not going to be the determining factor as to whether or not we are approved by God and that we have eternal life with him. His Word is the determining factor. And, his Word says we must walk according to the Spirit and no longer according to the flesh if we want to have eternal life with God. For, God desires that we love him, and to love him is to obey him.
Proverbs 19:23, 27-28 ESV
The fear of the Lord leads to life,
and whoever has it rests satisfied;
he will not be visited by harm.
Cease to hear instruction, my son,
and you will stray from the words of knowledge.
A worthless witness mocks at justice,
and the mouth of the wicked devours iniquity.
Does it sound like I keep saying the same stuff over and over and over again? Yes, it does! You know why? Because the scriptures teach this over and over and over again. This is all throughout the New Testament, and it is definitely all throughout the Old Testament, too. For, God has not changed. His divine character and will for us has not been altered to fit with our modern way of thinking about sin. If we want to have eternal life with God, then we must walk in the fear of the Lord (Rom. 8:1-17; 1 Jn. 1:5-9).
All Through the Night
An Original Work / December 7, 2013
Based off Various Scriptures
Blessed are you when you’re persecuted
Because of your faith in Jesus Christ.
Blessed are you when people insult you,
And falsely say what leads folks to doubt.
Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is
Great in the heavens. You’re not alone.
When you are persecuted in one place,
Flee to another. God will be there.
You will be hated by all the nations
Because you testify of God’s grace.
Many will seize you and persecute you,
And put to death the foll’wers of Christ.
Yet, do not fear what humans may do to you,
For I’m with you all through the night.
I tell you, love your enemies with my love,
And forgive as I forgave you.
Pray for those who do evil against you.
Rest in my love and grace from above.