Righteousness and Salvation; October 1, 2022

Psalm 132:9, 16 “May your priests be clothed with righteousness;
may your saints sing for joy.”
“I will clothe her priests with salvation,
and her saints will ever sing for joy.”

This is presented as a prayer, and then God’s response. It strikes me that in the prayer, the request is for the priests to be clothed in righteousness, and in God’s response, He says “salvation.” From the people’s standpoint, they certainly want their priests to be righteous! Unrighteous clergy have been a problem from at least the days of Eli and Samuel, as recorded in 1 Samuel 2. Righteousness is always desirable, but it isn’t sufficient to gain salvation. As Paul so famously explained, that is by grace through faith. (Ephesians 2:8-9) God is here saying that He will go beyond righteousness to salvation. Actually, righteousness is a natural outgrowth of salvation; those who are saved are going to tend toward righteousness in response to God’s grace. As John makes abundantly clear in his first letter, that doesn’t mean that saved people never slip up, or even fall flat on their face, it just means that they are never satisfied with that state of affairs, and strive to draw closer to God in obedience. When spiritual leaders have this straight, then those under their care can indeed sing for joy!

Since I am a pastor, I’d better pay attention! I have no doubt of my own salvation, but I can’t say I’m fully satisfied with my response to God’s grace toward me. However, I do see signs that I’m growing! When even Paul could lay no claim to perfection, (Philippians 3:12-14) I am neither to give up nor to keep picking at myself. I am to walk in humility, listening to the Holy Spirit’s guidance and correction and repenting instantly when He shows me I’ve slipped up. I am to walk in His righteousness because of His salvation, and indeed sing for joy because of His incredible goodness and faithfulness toward me.

Father, thank You for this reminder. Thank You for this period of three weeks of Cathy in the hospital, that hasn’t passed the first week yet. I realize that to a degree, my righteousness has depended on her, because she is such an excellent partner and counterpoint to me. It’s not that I’m beset with temptations, it’s that my days feel empty, and I need to be proactive in seeking what You want me to do with each moment. Help me be fully sensitive to You, recognizing Your schedule and following it, so that all of Your purposes for me may be fulfilled in Your timing for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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