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Striving to Do What Is Right

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Striving to Do What Is Right

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As true disciples of Jesus Christ we want to do what is right and pleasing to God (1 John 3:22 1 John 3:22And whatever we ask, we receive of him, because we keep his commandments, and do those things that are pleasing in his sight.
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In our desire to do what is right, we strive to fully submit to the righteousness of God, which is exemplified by Christ (Romans 10:3-4 Romans 10:3-4 [3] For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God. [4] For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to every one that believes.
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). How do we, then, put on the same mind as Christ’s, esteeming others better than ourselves, being humble and united in love, affection and mercy (Philippians 2:1-5 Philippians 2:1-5 [1] If there be therefore any consolation in Christ, if any comfort of love, if any fellowship of the Spirit, if any bowels and mercies, [2] Fulfill you my joy, that you be like minded, having the same love, being of one accord, of one mind. [3] Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. [4] Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others. [5] Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus:
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One way that has helped me personally is to keep in mind the “trunk of the tree,” the very purpose why we are born, which is none other than to be heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ (Romans 8:17-18 Romans 8:17-18 [17] And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. [18] For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.
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It is very encouraging to always remember the love that God the Father has for us (John 3:16 John 3:16For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.
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; 1 John 4:8 1 John 4:8He that loves not knows not God; for God is love.
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, 16) to make us His children. We have a better understanding—albeit still very incomplete—of that enormous love and the abundant riches of God’s grace towards us (Ephesians 1:7 Ephesians 1:7In whom we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of sins, according to the riches of his grace;
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) when we become parents like Him and have our own children and grandchildren. How great is His grace and goodness towards those who fear and have faith in Him (Psalms 31:19 Psalms 31:19Oh how great is your goodness, which you have laid up for them that fear you; which you have worked for them that trust in you before the sons of men!
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)! God wants us to ultimately be like Him at Christ’s second coming. That really should motivate us all to strive to do what is right (1 John 3:1-3 1 John 3:1-3 [1] Behold, what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called the sons of God: therefore the world knows us not, because it knew him not. [2] Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. [3] And every man that has this hope in him purifies himself, even as he is pure.
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What then does God expect of us? Does He want sacrifices and offerings (Micah 6:6-7 Micah 6:6-7 [6] With which shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before the high God? shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves of a year old? [7] Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, or with ten thousands of rivers of oil? shall I give my firstborn for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?
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)? It is like what we expect from our children! What we want is for our children to grow into well balanced and well-adjusted adults who are considerate and loving to others. Likewise God wants a living sacrifice in the way we live, which is nothing else than our reasonable duty and calling. It means we are to live a new life, with a transformed way of thinking according to God’s will (Romans 12:1-2 Romans 12:1-2 [1] I beseech you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service. [2] And be not conformed to this world: but be you transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.
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). And that is to do justly, to love mercy and to walk humbly in faith before God (Micah 6:8 Micah 6:8He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?
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)—which is exactly what the Pharisees lacked (Matthew 23:23 Matthew 23:23Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone.
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“As true children of God we are therefore to imitate Christ in doing what is right, which involves holding on steadfastly to the truth and to grow in His grace and knowledge.”

It means putting to death our own corrupt human nature with the help of God’s Holy Spirit and putting on the new man according to Christ’s image (Colossians 3:1-14 Colossians 3:1-14 [1] If you then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sits on the right hand of God. [2] Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. [3] For you are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. [4] When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall you also appear with him in glory. [5] Mortify therefore your members which are on the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence, and covetousness, which is idolatry: [6] For which things' sake the wrath of God comes on the children of disobedience: [7] In the which you also walked some time, when you lived in them. [8] But now you also put off all these; anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy communication out of your mouth. [9] Lie not one to another, seeing that you have put off the old man with his deeds; [10] And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: [11] Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all. [12] Put on therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, bowels of mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, long-suffering; [13] Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you. [14] And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfection.
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). In doing that the genuineness of our faithful commitment will be tried and tested through various difficulties in life, which we have to endure until the end (1 Peter 1:6-7 1 Peter 1:6-7 [6] Wherein you greatly rejoice, though now for a season, if need be, you are in heaviness through manifold temptations: [7] That the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perishes, though it be tried with fire, might be found to praise and honor and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ:
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; Revelation 17:14 Revelation 17:14These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.
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). It means we have to put on the divine nature of God, to be like Him, with the help of God’s Holy Spirit (2 Peter 1:3-4 2 Peter 1:3-4 [3] According as his divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of him that has called us to glory and virtue: [4] Whereby are given to us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these you might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.
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More specifically, to do what is right, we must make every effort to add to faith all virtuous characteristics of proper interpersonal relationships, with self-control and patience in the process of becoming more like Christ is, in both brotherly love and godly agape love (2 Peter 1:5-7 2 Peter 1:5-7 [5] And beside this, giving all diligence, add to your faith virtue; and to virtue knowledge; [6] And to knowledge temperance; and to temperance patience; and to patience godliness; [7] And to godliness brotherly kindness; and to brotherly kindness charity.
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). This is an unending commitment to bear fruit in the knowledge of Jesus Christ (2 Peter 1:8 2 Peter 1:8For if these things be in you, and abound, they make you that you shall neither be barren nor unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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). If we do so we will never leave the Church (2 Peter 1:10 2 Peter 1:10Why the rather, brothers, give diligence to make your calling and election sure: for if you do these things, you shall never fall:
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), and we will be blessed with the gift of eternal life in the Kingdom of God (2 Peter 1:11 2 Peter 1:11For so an entrance shall be ministered to you abundantly into the everlasting kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.
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For this reason it is important for us to be reminded of what is important (2 Peter 1:12-13 2 Peter 1:12-13 [12] Why I will not be negligent to put you always in remembrance of these things, though you know them, and be established in the present truth. [13] Yes, I think it meet, as long as I am in this tabernacle, to stir you up by putting you in remembrance;
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)—what is the “trunk of the tree.” Hopefully we have learned to choose the right tree, the tree of life (Genesis 2:16-17 Genesis 2:16-17 [16] And the LORD God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat: [17] But of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, you shall not eat of it: for in the day that you eat thereof you shall surely die.
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)! Therefore choosing to do what is right is really the meat of the matter (Deuteronomy 30:19 Deuteronomy 30:19I call heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both you and your seed may live:
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). That is the solid food of the Christian life and experience: discerning right from wrong and having our senses exercised in doing what is right (Hebrews 5:14 Hebrews 5:14But strong meat belongs to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil.
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As true children of God we are therefore to imitate Christ (1 Corinthians 11:1 1 Corinthians 11:1Be you followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
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; John 13:15 John 13:15For I have given you an example, that you should do as I have done to you.
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) in doing what is right, which involves holding on steadfastly to the truth and to grow in His grace and knowledge (2 Peter 3:18 2 Peter 3:18But grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and for ever. Amen.
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A trap some may fall into is when they try to establish their own righteousness (Romans 10:2-3 Romans 10:2-3 [2] For I bear them record that they have a zeal of God, but not according to knowledge. [3] For they being ignorant of God's righteousness, and going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted themselves to the righteousness of God.
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). In such cases some get caught in twigs, with their own ideas, fables and calculations of dates and times which only cause divisions. Such do not produce godly edification of the Church of God (1 Timothy 1:3-4 1 Timothy 1:3-4 [3] As I sought you to abide still at Ephesus, when I went into Macedonia, that you might charge some that they teach no other doctrine, [4] Neither give heed to fables and endless genealogies, which minister questions, rather than godly edifying which is in faith: so do.
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; 2 Timothy 4:3-5 2 Timothy 4:3-5 [3] For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; [4] And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned to fables. [5] But watch you in all things, endure afflictions, do the work of an evangelist, make full proof of your ministry.
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). Some of these people may come in by stealth, as has happened before, turning the grace of our God into an excuse to break God’s laws, and some others have ended up denying our Master and Lord, Jesus Christ (Jude 1:3-4 Jude 1:3-4 [3] Beloved, when I gave all diligence to write to you of the common salvation, it was needful for me to write to you, and exhort you that you should earnestly contend for the faith which was once delivered to the saints. [4] For there are certain men crept in unawares, who were before of old ordained to this condemnation, ungodly men, turning the grace of our God into lasciviousness, and denying the only Lord God, and our Lord Jesus Christ.
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We clearly live in the end times, and some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits, doctrines of demons (1 Timothy 4:1 1 Timothy 4:1Now the Spirit speaks expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
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) and contradictions of what is falsely called science (1 Timothy 6:20 1 Timothy 6:20O Timothy, keep that which is committed to your trust, avoiding profane and vain babblings, and oppositions of science falsely so called:
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). We know that such ungodly ideas spread like cancer, causing disputes that generate pain and suffering (2 Timothy 2:16-17 2 Timothy 2:16-17 [16] But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase to more ungodliness. [17] And their word will eat as does a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus;
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, 23).

Let us keep the big picture in our mind—the trunk of the tree! We were born predestined to be sons and daughters of God (Romans 8:16 Romans 8:16The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God:
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). Don’t get sidetracked onto twigs, because they break sooner or later, and one then ends up being separated from the trunk of the tree (John 15:6 John 15:6If a man abide not in me, he is cast forth as a branch, and is withered; and men gather them, and cast them into the fire, and they are burned.
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Remember that our hope is so great that even the whole creation waits in eager expectation for the sons of God to be revealed, when the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God (Romans 8:19-21 Romans 8:19-21 [19] For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. [20] For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of him who has subjected the same in hope, [21] Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God.
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, New International Version).

Let us keep our great hope—the purpose of why we were born—burning bright in our minds with the help of God’s Holy Spirit. This way we may do what is right and pleasing to God. And this way we might be preserved blameless at the time of Jesus Christ’s return (1 Thessalonians 5:23 1 Thessalonians 5:23And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and I pray God your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless to the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
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