Friday, June 16, 2017

Why We Should Study Proverbs

The Bible is the revelation of God that is about God and about how He would have us live life. God is the Creator of all things, and therefore He is infinitely superior to them. There is no one like Him. No one has the infinite knowledge or wisdom that He has. We are limited by our creatureliness. He, as the Creator is unlimited. We are limited by the effects of the Fall, namely sin. He, as the pure and righteous King, is unlimited.

Through His Word, God has revealed His eternal plan of redemption through His Son Jesus Christ. He has revealed that one day, Jesus Christ will return and vanquish His enemies in order to rule over a kingdom of righteousness. And He has revealed that the righteous will participate in this Kingdom while the unrighteous are thrown into the Lake of Fire.

What does it mean by “righteous?” Who are the righteous ones? If “all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God” (Rom 3:23), and if “the wages of sin are death” (Rom 6:23); who can stand in the day of judgment? Praise be to our God and Savior “in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” (Col 1:14). “It is the gift of God” (Eph 2:8). Being a gift, it is not on account of our works (cf. Eph 2:9), for “to the one who works, his wage is not credited as a favor, but as what is due. But to the one who does not work, but believes in Him who justifies the ungodly, his faith is credited as righteousness” (Rom 4:4-5).

So there is no work that we do in order to be saved. No amount of works can save us. Ephesians 2:1 says that all people are dead in sin, only walking “according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, of the spirit that is now working in the sons of disobedience” (Eph 2:2). It takes a divine act of God to “[make] us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and [raise] us up with Him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the ages to come He might show the surpassing riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith; and that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God” (Eph 2:6-8).
What do those who are thus redeemed look like? They repent of sin (Acts 17:30), and believe in the Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 13:39). This is the message we preach: redemption from sins comes only to those who believe that Jesus Christ died to take away sin (1 John 3:5). Romans 10:9 says that salvation is only by confessing with the mouth that Jesus is Lord and believing that God raised Him from the dead.

And the life of the believer is then marked by godliness. 1 John 3:5 also says that “in Him there is no sin.” “We walk in the Light as [God] Himself is in the Light” (1 John 1:7). How do we do this? We meditate on the Word of God (Ps 1:2). He has given us His precepts that we might walk according to their light. Psalm 119:105 says that God’s Word “is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Yes, it guided us to salvation. It guided our feet to the narrow path. And now it also gives us instruction that we might walk in a manner that is worthy of our Lord and pleasing to Him in every respect (Col 1:10).

One of the most practical books in all of Scripture is Proverbs. It instructs us in wise living. It teaches us how to live in light of the revelation of this great and almighty God. Being one of the most beloved books by all who read the Bible, it is amazing how few resources there are to help us meditate on the Proverbs. And fewer still delve into this precious book verse-by-verse. But that is how the Proverbs are to be studied. They are to be savored section by section and proverb by proverb. I believe that if our churches took the time and put in the (indeed massive) effort to examine the Proverbs, much of the foolish living that so characterizes our churches would be cured. If we all took time each day to mull over a proverb—not read a whole chapter in a hurry—we would find ourselves filled with practical instruction for godly living.

Let us apply ourselves to this end. It is my hope that this blog series will enrich your understanding and help you to think through the Proverbs and how they apply to your life.

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