Wednesday, July 18, 2007

“Whatever is Right” Part I

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right…think about such things.” Philippians 4:8, NIV

It’s easy to think we understand this third standard, and the temptation is to plunge on to the next word. But do we really understand?

Imagine a driver who is trying to navigate an unfamiliar part of town. Beside him sits a friend, trying to give him directions. The driver asks, “Which way should I go?”

“Right,” says the friend.

“That way?”

“Right.” The stop light turns red. “Watch out!”

Brakes screech. “Phew. That was close. Are you all right?”

Suddenly, the word right seems much more complex, doesn’t it?

It would be easier, perhaps, if the translators of the NIV would have used this Greek word's more common definition of “righteous.” Now there’s a hazy, theological concept we rarely use beyond the church walls!

In reality, though, righteous has a pretty simple definition, if any word of theology can be called “simple.” Righteous merely refers to the conformity (or that which conforms) to the standards, will, and character of God.

Still sound imposing? Think of keeping the Ten Commandments or the Golden Rule—that’s conformity to the standard of God. Or of giving thanks in all circumstances (I Thessalonians 5:18)—that’s conformity to the will of God. And conformity to the character of God? Loving each other as Christ loved us (John 15:12) for God is love (I John 4:16).

Now righteous isn’t such a hard word to understand, is it? Of course, living it is a whole different matter…

Feet on the ground, head in the clouds,
Chawna Schroeder

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