Saturday, April 22, 2017

Proverbs 13:17 --- An Indescribable Love

Proverbs 13:17 
A wicked messenger falls into trouble,
    but a faithful envoy brings healing.

Growing up, I was never a big fan of poetry.  English poetry always struck me as too obscure and difficult to figure out the meaning.  Over the years it has grown on me a bit, but I still prefer prose to poetry.  And yet, I have come to love Hebrew poetry.  I think the reason for this is that the main feature of Hebrew poetry is parallelism, which instead of promoting obscurity, promotes clarity.  Hebrew poetry shares the imagery and terseness of English poetry, but its parallelism promotes meditative understanding.

In today's proverb we have a great example of how parallelism can pay meditative dividends.  The two things paralleled in Proverbs 13:17 are:

            A wicked messenger
                  is parallel and contrasted with
            a faithful envoy;


            falls into trouble
                  is parallel and contrasted with
            brings healing.

The first contrast suggests that wickedness is about unfaithfulness.  All human beings are obligated to their Creator.  Wickedness is essentially unfaithfulness to the Lord who made us.  Wickedness is not fulfilling our reason for existence, which is to bear his image and reflect his character.  The parallelism of "wicked" and "faithful" helps me better understand what wickedness is.  It also helps me to realize what the Lord requires of his servants, namely, faithfulness to himself.

There is a sense in which every person is a messenger or envoy.  This status as messengers is inherent to our created status and the purpose of faithfully glorifying our Maker.  We were created to reflect our God, who he is and what he is like.  But if we are unfaithful to him, we still send a message, but the message we send is false and is seen in all we say and do, as the previous proverb taught us.

The second contrast between falling into trouble and healing is more imprecise, but that imprecision makes it more interesting and thought provoking.  The first line teaches that a wicked messenger falls into trouble.  In other words, the messenger himself falls into trouble.  This trouble comes because the one who sent him calls him to account.  If we apply this to everyone's created status as sent ones, then the proverb teaches us that all of us will have to give an accounting of our lives to the Lord who made us.  We will be judged by what we said and did, and the faithfulness or unfaithfulness of our words and deeds will bring us either trouble or blessing.

The second line teaches us that a faithful messenger brings healing to others.  Because of the parallel with line one and the messenger who fell into trouble himself, the healing applies not only to those who hear and accept the message, but also to the faithful messenger himself.  The faithful messenger has been healed by the good news he carries to others.

Now, I have applied this proverb to the whole human race as image bearers.  But we could uniquely apply it to our Lord Jesus Christ, who was the One sent by the Father in a mission of mercy to the sinful human race.  Jesus said of himself, "For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me" (John 6:38).  Our Lord describes his mission of love and grace when he says, "For the Son of Man came to seek and to save the lost" (Luke 19:10).  "The lost" who need saving are all of us, who have fallen short of reflecting God's glory in this world.

But if we reflect on the parallelism between "trouble" and "healing," we see something remarkable about our Lord as the Apostle (cf. Hebrews 3:1-2) or Sent One from the Father.  Our proverb teaches that those who bring the gospel to others are blessed themselves by the gospel, because we are saved from the trouble and calamity of God's displeasure and wrath.  But not so, with our Lord Jesus Christ.  In order for him to bring us this message of healing, he himself had to be cursed.  He himself had to forego healing.  And so he says, in words that looked to the cross in his first sermon in his hometown, "Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, 'Physician, heal yourself'" (Luke 4:23).  Later, his words will be fulfilled at his crucifixion:

"And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, 'He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!'  The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine and saying, 'If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!'" (Luke 23:35-37). 

Our Lord came as a faithful messenger and envoy from heaven.  He was the Apostle, which means sent-one.  Sent from the Father, he brought a message of healing for a human race, which desperately needs saving, because we have fallen short of the glory of God and are subject to his just wrath and displeasure.  But the only way our Lord could save us was if he endured in our place the wrath and displeasure we deserve because of our wicked unfaithfulness.  And yet, in his great love and compassion, he did just that.  May we meditate and prayerfully take time to internalize and thank the Father for sending his Son, who has loved us in such an indescribable way.


Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Proverbs 13:12: The Healer and Lover of our Souls

Proverb 13:12 
Hope deferred makes the heart sick,
    but a desire fulfilled is a tree of life.
I am with Bruce Waltke who sees this proverb as "an index of lives that are moving either toward final despair of every expectation in death or toward a fulfillment of every desire in the the everlasting presence of the Lord."[1]  The wicked, in line one, are those who will learn the hopelessness that comes from not knowing the Lord and following after idols.  The righteous, in line two, are those who have set their desire on knowing the Lord, walking with him, and being in his presence forever.  In this life, they enjoy the continual hope and sustenance that comes from knowing him.
Earlier Proverbs gave us a picture of these two paths:

            But the path of the righteous is like the light of dawn,
                which shines brighter and brighter until full day.
            The way of the wicked is like deep darkness;
                they do not know over what they stumble.  (Proverb 4:18-19)

What the wicked do not see is that no one can live in the universe the Lord created and defy his rules with impunity.  If we do not love the Lord, but love other things more than him, we will pay a price.  The price in Proverbs 4:19 is deep darkness.  The price in Proverbs 13:12 is a heart that is sick with no hope of getting better, but only worse.

The righteous, however, desire to know the Father and the Son.  Above all else they long for eternal life in the presence of the Lord.  They know their heart is still sick with sin, and they long for the day when that sickness will be completely healed.  But even now they have a source of healing the wicked do not have.  That source of healing is called the "tree of life" in today's proverb.

The tree of life first appears in Genesis two.  The tree of life is a symbol of immortality and eternal life.  After man sinned in the garden, the first couple were not allowed to eat from the tree of life, lest they become confirmed forever in their sinful condition without a means of escape.  Therefore, they were banned from the garden:

"Then the Lord God said, “Behold, the man has become like one of us in knowing good and evil. Now, lest he reach out his hand and take also of the tree of life and eat, and live forever—” therefore the Lord God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken (Genesis 3:22-23).

The next time we run across the tree of life is in Proverbs 3:18, where it is associated with wisdom, and wisdom is personified as a woman:

            Blessed is the one who finds wisdom,
               and the one who gets understanding,
            for the gain from her is better than gain from silver
                and her profit better than gold.
            She is more precious than jewels,
                and nothing you desire can compare with her.
            Long life is in her right hand;
                in her left hand are riches and honor.
            Her ways are ways of pleasantness,
                and all her paths are peace.
            She is a tree of life to those who lay hold of her;
              those who hold her fast are called blessed.  (Proverbs 3:13-18)

Since the New Testament pictures our Lord Jesus Christ as embodying wisdom, Jesus is the fulfillment of the tree of life imagery.  His cross, which is often spoken of as a tree, is the means of our spiritual healing and eternal life.  One example, would be 1 Peter 2:24:

"He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed."

It is through the cross that our most pressing spiritual need is met, namely, our need of forgiveness and restoration to the heavenly Father.

When a person contracts a potentially fatal disease, what they want more than anything else is a cure.  Dear friends, we all have that fatal disease.  It is called sin.  It is called desiring other things more than we desire our Creator and Redeemer.

The "desire," in line two, is not a sinful desire, but a holy desire.  We know this because of the mention of the tree of life.  This desire is, first of all, to be healed of our disease.  It will be wonderful to be transformed in the age to come, free of sin, and filled with the glory of the Lord.  I don't know about you, but I long for, I desire, the day when I am set free from the sinful and wicked desires of my heart, and transformed by the glory of the Lord.

But, next, this desire is a desire to know the triune God.  It is a desire to know God as our Father; our Lord as our Husband and Savior; and the Spirit as the indwelling presence of Christ, who is changing us into his likeness.  If we don't want this, then our desires must be changed.  We must stop living for lesser things.  We must learn to see that those lesser things are merely pointers to a relationship with God, and only in the triune God is desire truly "fulfilled."

Wherever you are at spiritually, come to the great Physician.  He alone can heal your soul.  Come to the One who wants to be your Husband, and spread his arms on the cross to embrace you in his love.  Only He can satisfy your desires.  Come to the One who is your true food and drink, for only his body and blood can nourish you by faith and fill the hunger of your heart. 


[1] Waltke, Proverbs, vol. 1, 563.

Monday, March 27, 2017

Proverbs 13:9 --- The Necessity of the Right Goal

Proverbs 13:9 --- The Necessity of the Right Goal
The light of the righteous rejoices,
    but the lamp of the wicked will be put out.
Reading the Proverbs in the light of Christ's death and resurrection transforms our reading of the Proverbs.  Read christologically, Proverbs 13:8 is transformed from a verse that deals with the unlikely situation of kidnapping or enslavement and how that might apply to the literal rich and poor, to a spiritual lesson for the poor in spirit and the way to deal with persecution from an unbelieving world.

The other transformation that often occurs when we read the Proverbs in the light of Christ's resurrection is that we find a remarkable flow to the Proverbs.  Each proverb seems to flow seamlessly into the next.  So, for example, we are not terribly surprised to read about the joy of the righteous in this proverb, for this theme of joy is exactly what we find in Jesus' teaching about the persecuted in the Beatitudes:

"Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account.  Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you" (Matthew 5:10- 12).

When we read the Old Testament in the light of Christ's death and resurrection, the Old Testament truly becomes Christian Scripture, and that is a good thing!  One of the reasons we shy away from reading the Old Testament is that we doubt its value for us.  But when we read it as our Lord taught us, seeing Christ prefigured in the Old Testament, the Old Testament teaches us wonderful things as we discover truths that were hidden until the coming of Christ, but now are made known to us, his people.  As Colossians 1:25-26 says:

"I [Paul] became a minister according to the stewardship from God that was given to me for you, to make the word of God fully known, the mystery hidden for ages and generations but now revealed to his saints."

The "word of God" Paul made fully known was the Old Testament.  But for generations, the full meaning of the Old Testament was not fully known.  But now it can be known by us, who are God's saints, i.e., his people who have been set apart for him, for his use, and for his glory.  The Old Testament is now fully known to us, for it has been revealed to us.  How privileged we are to live in this era after Christ's death and resurrection!

So now we come to the proverb for the day, and we see that the human heart always has a goal.  The human heart is likened to a lamp.[1]  A lamp is made to be lit.  The question is whether the lamp will be lit with a worthy goal or an unworthy goal.  Will we live according to our purpose as the Lord's image bearers or will we resist that purpose?

The Heidelberg Catechism nicely summarizes our purpose as his image bearers.  We are to "truly know God . . . love him . . . and live with him in eternal happiness for his praise and glory."[2]  Is this our goal?  Is it our goal to know God, and his Son whom he sent?  Jesus said, "This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent."  Is it our goal to love him?  Paul wrote, "If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed" (1 Corinthians 16:22).  Is it our goal to live near him?  The psalmist wrote that his presence is our good (Psalm 73:28).  Is it our goal to honor him with our lives in all we say and do?  The apostle wrote, "So whether you eat or drink, or whatever you do, do all to the glory of God" (1 Corinthians 10:31).

We will be healthy spiritually only if our aim and goal in life is good!  Jesus taught this when he said:
"Your eye is the lamp of your body. When your eye is healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when it is bad, your body is full of darkness.  Therefore be careful lest the light in you be darkness (Luke 11:34-35).

Are you being careful?  Is your purpose in life to glorify the Lord Jesus Christ?  Or, is your eye --- your purpose --- bad?  You see, Jesus is teaching us that if we are seeking something less than knowing God, loving him, and living with him for his praise and glory, then our lives are full of darkness.  And even if we think we are spiritually okay with a lesser purpose than to glorify our triune God, we are deceiving ourselves, and that deceit makes our darkness greater.

Eventually those who live for lesser things will experience what our proverb teaches us: "the lamp of the wicked will be put out."  It will be put out by God himself.  Therefore, the warning of our passage is to repent and turn from our darkness, and turn to Jesus and his light.  Let us confess our failure to have the right purpose for our lives, and let us humbly come to the Lord to live in a new way for the honor and glory of our triune God.


[1] Waltke (vol. 1, 560) points out that "the light is part of the broken, stereotyped phrase 'the light of the lamp' (Jer. 25:10; cf. Job 18:5-6; Prov. 6:23), it should be interpreted as part of that imagery and not contrasted with the artificial light of a 'lamp.'"
[2] Heidelberg Catechism Q&A 6.

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Proverbs 12:28 --- Walking in Eternal Life

Proverbs 12:28 
In the path of righteousness is life,
    and in its pathway there is no death.

One of my weaknesses is my inability to do more than one thing at a time.  I am not a good multi-tasker.  Therefore, in meditating on and writing about the Proverbs, I rarely look ahead, and if I do, at my age, I quickly forget what lies ahead.  So I am always amazed at how my poor attempt at a Christological interpretation of the Proverbs tends to such a smooth transition from one proverb to the next.  Yesterday, I argued that the Book of Proverbs is far more eschatological than is generally recognized by most of the commentators.  To put it more simply, Proverbs is constantly talking to us about eternal life and eternal death, heaven and hell.  I honestly had no idea that today's proverb would be one of the clearest examples of Solomon's belief in life beyond the grave.

The Israelites' belief in immortality should not surprise us.  Many of her idolatrous neighbors believed in immortality, so are we really to believe that the people of the true God would not also believe in life with the Lord after death?  Egypt, for example, is well known for its belief that the pharaoh upon his clinical death would journey from this life to the next life.  But Israel's belief in the next life is different than Egypt's view which limited eternal life to pharaoh.  In Proverbs the Lord democratizes this eternal life and offers it to all who are willing to walk in wisdom's path of righteousness.
It is true that the understanding of eternal life in the Old Testament was not nearly as clear as what we have in the New Testament.  As 2 Timothy 1:10 says, "Christ Jesus . . . abolished death and brought life and immortality to light through the gospel."  Nevertheless, if we say Old Testament believers had no knowledge of eternal life, we turn the witness of the New Testament into a lie!  For the great hall of fame of faith for Old Testament believers, Hebrews 11, clearly tells us Old Testament believers were seeking a heavenly country (see Hebrews 11:14-16).

There is a hiddenness about the Old Testament.  The apostle Paul speaks of this hiddenness when he speaks of "the mystery hidden for ages and generations" (Colossians 1:26).  But this does not mean that New Testament believers should read the Old Testament in this hidden way!  On the contrary, the very next words from Paul's mouth are "but now revealed to his saints!" (v. 26).  We, Christ's people, are now to mine "the riches of the glory of this mystery!" (v. 27).  What was hidden in the Old Testament Scriptures, God has now made "fully known" (v. 25), through his beloved Son, Jesus Christ.

But we really don't have to do much mining of today's proverb to discover the immortality that is taught.  The word "life" in line one is paralleled with "no death," in line two.  Since every person born has also died, with the exception of Enoch (Genesis 5:24) and Elijah (2 Kings 2:1-18), what can it mean that in the pathway of righteousness there is no death, except that those who walk with the Lord will live after they physically die!  Eternal life belongs to those who walk with the Lord.  It was said that "Enoch walked with God, and he was not, for God took him" (Genesis 5:24).  Our verse is saying the same is true for all who walk with God in his path of righteousness, though unlike Enoch, we may have to pass through death before the Lord takes us to himself, barring his soon return.

The Heidelberg Catechism (Q&A 42) is very good on this point.  It asks:
            "Since Christ has died for us, why do we still have to die?"

And it answers:

            "Our death does not pay the debt of our sins.  Rather, it puts an end to our sinning and
            is our entrance into eternal life."

Jesus has transformed the death of his people into a blessing, namely, "our entrance into eternal life."

Finally, to this good news, I would add one word of warning implicit in our proverb.  True believers seek to live righteous lives!  While Christ alone saves us by his sheer, unmerited grace, this does not mean we can live lives that have no interest in walking with Christ.  Here, Colossians 2:6 speak a faithful word to us:

            "Therefore, as you received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in him."

The second part of this verse, "walk in him," is not optional.  Sadly, many today think it is.  Undoubtedly, we all will struggle with the flesh, our sinful nature, our entire life.  But with that struggle understood, if we have no desire or interest in walking with Jesus in the obedience that flows from faith, then we should be concerned about our souls and cry out to Him for the help of his Spirit.  For the Spirit's work in our hearts, as the Heidelberg Catechism, again, faithfully teaches, is to make us willing to live for Christ:

            "Because I belong to him, Christ, by his Holy Spirit, assures me of eternal life AND makes
            me wholeheartedly willing and ready from now on to live for him" (Q&A 1).

Are you willing from now on to live for him?  If you are, praise the Lord!  But if you are not willing to live for him, then cry out to Jesus Christ to send his Spirit into your heart to do his gracious work of making you willing.  Then you too can have a true, not false, assurance that eternal life is yours.




Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Proverbs 12:26 --- The Most Precious Thing in the World

Proverbs 12:26    
The righteous chooses his friends carefully,
   but the way of the wicked leads them astray.

C. S. Lewis astutely observed, "Friendship can be a school of virtue, but also a school of vice."[1]  This is one reason why "the righteous chooses his friends carefully."  As the apostle Paul warned us, "Do not be deceived: 'Bad company ruins good morals'" (1 Corinthians 15:33).
A British monk named Aelred wrote a book on friendship in the twelfth century.  Aelred divides friendship into three classes.  First, carnal friendship, which "is based on the shared pursuit of pleasure."[2]  This shared pursuit could be anything from chasing a little white ball to chasing women, or I suppose, men.  Second, Aelred teaches there is worldly friendship.  This kind of friendship "is based on mutual advantage."[3]  Examples here might be, the mutually advantageous relationship between a golfer and his caddy, to keep the golf imagery alive, or a man and his mistress, to keep the sexual imagery alive.  Third, Aelred points to spiritual friendship.  This is based on "a mutual commitment to follow Jesus Christ."[4]

C. S. Lewis is right when he says that friendship starts when people find and share a common interest or passion.  "It [friendship] is found when we discover those travelling the same road as us, and decide to walk together."[5]  While there is nothing necessarily wrong with carnal or worldly friendship, especially when it relates to golf (my own biases may be showing through!) rather than prurient interests, the deepest friendship is spiritual friendship.  As Vaughan Roberts writes:

"Christians have the ultimate common passion and shared goal, which encompasses the whole of life.  We have been called, as brothers and sisters, to belong to Christ's family, as we travel along the way of the cross throughout our lives, with our eyes fixed on the destination of the new creation to come, which Christ will introduce when he returns."[6]

The righteous want their deepest and most intimate friends to be those who share a common faith with us.  While it is fine to have friends with whom we share a love for stamp collecting or passing our classes together in school, as believers our deepest friendships will be with other believers.  For with such people we are on the same path, under the same cross, following the same Lord we trust and love, to the same glorious destination.  These are our true brothers and sisters, for as Jesus taught us, "whoever does the will of God, he is my brother and sister and mother" (Mark 3:35).  Among these, our brothers and sisters in Christ, will come our deepest friendships.

Jesus is our model for choosing friends carefully.  While he was certainly the friend of all sinners, nevertheless, he sought a deeper friendship with the disciples who followed him on earth, a still deeper friendship with the twelve, and the deepest of friendship with the three: Peter, James, and John.  

And so, "the righteous chooses his friends carefully" based on a common faith, a common walk, a common love, and a common goal.  But, sadly, no such consideration is in the heart and mind of the wicked.  The wicked person's way is the antithesis of the righteous.  The wicked has no fear of the Lord.  His faith is in himself.  The wicked do not walk in the way of the Lord, but follow the path of their own understanding (Proverbs 3:5).  The wicked have no love for the Lord, and this lack of love is the very thing that sends them to a different destination than the righteous.  For as the Spirit warns us, "If anyone has no love for the Lord, let him be accursed" (1 Corinthians 16:22).

Let us choose our friends carefully in the Lord.  Let us try to imitate our Lord in befriending all sinners who cross our path.  But, most of all, let us cultivate the friendship of all friendships, our friendship with our heavenly Father and his Son, Jesus Christ.  This is the friendship which is the most precious thing in all of this world.  We could ask for no greater gift than this, and yet it is a gift freely given, because God so loved the world that he gave us his only Son, who gave himself freely for us, offering his body on the cross.  Let us cherish such a friendship, which was made with such a price.


[1] Quoted by Vaughan Roberts in True Friendship: Walking Shoulder to Shoulder, 39.
[2] Ibid., 20.
[3] Ibid.
[4] Ibid.
[5] Ibid.
[6] Ibid., 21.

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Christ in the Proverbs: Proverbs 12:22---Practicing the Truth

Proverbs 12:22 
Lying lips are an abomination to the Lord,
    but those who act faithfully are his delight.
"A sense of what disgusts God is essential to the fear of God."[1]  So writes Michael V. Fox, and indeed this is true.  It is so helpful for us to learn about the Lord, our Creator --- to learn what he is like.  The goal when we open our Bibles is to get to know the Father and the Son and be conformed to his image.  Verses like this teach us what our heavenly Father and Lord Jesus Christ hate and love, and what we also should hate and love.

For our goal, our purpose, our aim in life is to imitate our Lord.  This is what image bearers are created for!  We were created to represent the Lord on earth.  We were created to show forth the character of the triune God in all we think, feel, will, say, and do.  In the temple of this world (the tabernacle or temple was designed as a microcosm of the universe), men and women are His images placed in the temple!  Only in Israel's temple, first the tabernacle and then Solomon's temple, were no images placed.  In all of the pagan temples, images were placed, so why the difference?  The difference comes because human beings were created to be God's likeness in his temple, not lifeless idols that cannot think, feel, speak, will, or do.  Man, male and female, were to be the triune God's representatives.

But why does the Lord hate "lying lips?"  Why are lies such an abomination to him?  It is because when we lie we imitate the evil one, who Jesus tells us is the "father of lies."  When we lie, we do something reprehensible.  We imitate, not the Lord, but the enemy.  We act treasonously.  We participate in the darkness rather than the light.

But the good news here is that "those who act faithfully," or those who do the truth or practice the truth, are the Lord's "delight."  This word translated as "delight" is the Hebrew word ratzon, which also carries with it the idea of favor, intimacy, and protection.[2]  We see something of the intimacy that those who belong to the truth enjoy, in Proverbs 3:32:

            for the devious person is an abomination to the Lord,
                but the upright are in his confidence.

How wonderful it is to be brought into this intimacy and favor with the Father and the Son.  In Christ, God's beloved Son, we can come to know this intimacy and fellowship.  Think of the apostle John, who describes himself throughout his Gospel as the disciple whom Jesus loved, and you get a sense of the favored and intimate relationship the Father wants to have with us his children (John 13:23, 19:26, 20:2, 21:7,21:20).

But this intimacy with the Father comes only through Jesus Christ, who came as the perfect revelation of God (e.g., John 12:44-50, 14:8-10).  Many people lie and claim an intimacy with God, but reject God's Son.  We must reject the claim of such people for it is false.  Those who reject the Son, reject the Father who sent him (John 5:23,15:23; Luke 10:16; 1 John 2:23).  Fellowship with God is only possible through God's beloved Son.  Though the Jewish scribes and Pharisees claimed to have fellowship with God, their rejection of Jesus showed their true, inward colors.  Their rejection of Jesus pointed to their true Father, who was not the Father of our Lord, but the "father of lies," i.e., the devil (John 8:44).

We should also note that this fellowship and intimacy with the Father and Son can only be ours if we acknowledge our sin.  This was also part of the problem with the Jewish leaders who rejected Jesus: they were unwilling to acknowledge their sin.  If we are unwilling to humbly acknowledge our sin and unworthiness before a holy God, then we can never enjoy the intimacy of union and communion with the Father and Son for which we were created.  This truth is stated in 1 John 1, using the same phrase we find in the second line of our proverb, namely, to "act faithfully" or more literally, to "do the truth."  This phraseology is picked up in 1 John 1:6 as practice the truth:

"If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truthBut if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin. If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us."

Part and parcel of practicing the truth, doing the truth, or as our proverb puts it, acting faithfully, is acknowledging Christ's atonement for sin.  If we say we have no sin, we reject Christ's atoning work on our behalf.  Ironically, in order to "act faithfully" the Lord's people must humbly acknowledge themselves as liars and sinners who need the gracious atoning work of Christ, which transfers us into his kingdom and cleanses our hearts daily from sin.  May the Spirit teach us what it means to practice the truth in intimate and delightful fellowship with the Father and the Son.

[1] Fox, Proverbs, vol. 1, 167.
[2] Waltke, Proverbs, vol. 1, 539.

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