Fundamentals of Righteousness

Fundamentals of RighteousnessText: Psalm 101

College courses are identified with a number that indicates the level of the material covered in the course – ex: “Biology 101” would be the basic, fundamental biology course. Higher numbered courses would build upon the foundation of the lower numbered courses. Coincidently, Psalm 101 outlines some basics that we are to build upon – the fundamentals of righteousness.

Focus on God (v. 1)

  • The psalm begins with David praising God – always needs to be of primary importance; acknowledge who God is and what He has done; God’s goodness motivates us to do what is right (1 John 4:19; Romans 2:4)
  • Praise for God’s lovingkindness (mercy, KJV) and justice (judgment, KJV) – mercy is not giving one what he deserves; judgment is giving one what he deserves; recognize God’s kindness and severity (Romans 11:22); they are conditional and unbiased (Acts 10:34-35)
  • Opening with such praise is appropriate – God is worthy of praise for these characteristics; it is also instructive; God has shown mercy, so we must be righteous, thereby avoid judgment

Walk in Integrity (v. 2)

  • I will give heed to the blameless way” – not the way that “seems right” to us (Proverbs 14:12); the what that IS right (Psalm 119:142; Jeremiah 6:16); therefore, we must LEARN the word of God (Psalm 119:13) and KEEP it (Psalm 19:9-11)
  • Walking with integrity (following God’s commands) is not superficial or sporadic – to be complete and consistent
  • Done in private (“within my house“) – God knows what is done in secret (Psalm 90:8; Matthew 6:4, 6); He will judge us accordingly (Romans 2:16)
  • Done from the heart (“in the integrity of my heart“) – not just an outward display of righteousness (Matthew 6:1); we must love the Lord with all our heart, soul, and might (Deuteronomy 6:5; Matthew 22:37); this love from the heart is manifested in our actions (John 14:15)

Avoid Stumbling Blocks (v. 3-5)

  • I will set no worthless thing before my eyes” (v. 3) – we must limit temptations as much as possible; we cannot avoid all temptation, but we can avoid some (2 Timothy 2:22)
  • I hate the work of those who fall away; it shall not fasten its grip on me” (v. 3) – we must hate sin; understanding God’s law should lead us to hate sin (Psalm 119:104); when we love sin, we will hate the Light and refuse to come to it (John 3:19-20)
  • A perverse heart shall depart from me; I will know no evil” (v. 4) – our hearts must be kept pure; it is possible for one’s heart to be changed so that he falls away (Hebrews 3:12)
  • Whoever secretly slanders his neighbor, him I will destroy” (v. 5) – sin must not be tolerated; sin is lawlessness (1 John 3:4); because God’s law does not change, sin is always wrong; when sin is tolerated, it spreads (1 Corinthians 5:6); the influence of sin must be removed (1 Corinthians 5:13)

Keep the Right Company (v. 6-8)

  • My eyes shall be upon the faithful of the land…” (v. 6) – observe those who do what is right and follow their example (Philippians 3:17); surround ourselves with those who are righteous and build one another up (Hebrews 3:12-13)
  • He who practices deceit shall not dwell in my house…” (v. 7-8) – do not maintain fellowship with those who do evil (Ephesians 5:11; 2 John 10-11); do not allow them to influence us (1 Corinthians 15:33)

Conclusion

  • We can strive for righteousness just as David did – acknowledge God first (understand His mercy and judgment), obey God from the heart (even in private), avoid stumbling blocks whenever possible, and surround ourselves with righteous people while avoiding the influence of wicked people
  • God has called us to be righteous – these are the fundamentals of being righteous before God

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