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Saturday, April 27, 2013

Proverbs 21:3

"To do righteousness and justice Is more acceptable to the Lord than
sacrifice" (Proverbs 21:3 NASB). Men often think they can make up for a lack
of obedience by giving a little back to the Lord. To those under the Old
Covenant, sacrifices were not just a mere ceremonial observance, they were a
way of worshipping God, a way of fellowshipping with God and drawing near to
Him, a way of showing thanksgiving to God, and a way of seeking forgiveness
(Leviticus 1-5). To the Israelites, they were an essential part of having a
relationship with God. They were important and they were commanded, but they
were not accepted unless the worshipper met certain requirements. God wants
worshippers who are first obedient to His voice (cf. 1 Samuel 15:22-23).
This includes a moral obedience to be righteous and just. God does not care
about their sacrifices until they are striving to be obedient, righteous,
and just (cf. Isaiah 1:11-17).
Now, let's consider this principle under the New Covenant. Service to God in
one (or more) areas of our lives does not make up for disobedience in
another. Putting a little extra in the plate on Sunday does not make up for
sin; the purpose of offering is to show thankfulness, not to seek
forgiveness (cf. 2 Corinthians 9:7, 12-13). God does not care how much we
study His word if we do not follow it (cf. James 1:22-25). God does not care
about a person's "religion" if they haven't bridled their tongues,
restraining them from lying, gossip, and slander (cf. James 1:26, 3:8-12). A
moral lifestyle does not make up for forsaking the assemblies of the saints
(cf. Hebrews 10:25) and attending worship does not make up for an immoral
lifestyle (cf. John 4:24). God does not care how much we do for Him, if we
are serving another master (cf. Matthew 6:24). We seek first the Kingdom of
God and His righteousness (Matthew 6:33).

Jeremy Sprouse

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