Sunday, September 7, 2014

Posted on Sep 11, 2014


Sin is not first of all a matter of wrong actions, but of wrong affections. Conversely, righteousness is not first of all a matter of right actions, but of right affections. Certainly, both sin and righteousness involve actions but these are the fruit, not the root. We do what we love. It is our affections that give birth to our actions. Affections generate motivation, and motivations take shape in actions. That this is the nature of the case is confirmed by the fact that God defines righteousness as love to Himself. The most basic act of righteousness is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your mind, and with all your strength.

Love to God is the essence of holiness.

This being so, the key to victory over sin is a transformed heart. If we would triumph over sin, if we would be victorious over the sins that so easily beset us, if we would triumph in giving ourselves to God as slaves to righteousness (Romans 6:12-23) then we must have a new set of affections. We must pursue love to God. Love to God is the way of righteousness, the way that is right, the path that God’s children ought to walk.

So how do this. How do we secure and develop a heart of love to God; a heart for God? King Josiah of Judah points the way.

King Josiah was the great grandson of King Hezekiah and reigned over the southern kingdom of Judah during the 7th century B.C. He was eight years old when he began to reign and he reigned for thirty one years. He was good king. He did what was right in the sight of the Lord and walked in the ways of his father, David.

2 Chronicles 34:2 tells us that “he did not turn aside to the right hand or to the left.” Josiah did not wander from the way of God, but did what was right in the eyes of the Lord.

2 Chronicles 34:3 gives us the very important reason why Josiah walked so steadfastly in righteousness—“For in the eighth year of his reign, while he was still young, he began to seek the God of his Father David.” Josiah walked steadily in the path of righteousness because he sought the Lord. He set himself to seek the Lord and from that came a heart of love to God that bore fruit in righteousness.

If we would walk steadfastly in the way of righteousness as Josiah did then we must set our hearts to seek the Lord. We must put ourselves on the path of knowing God more fully and more deeply; of knowing the Lord Jesus Christ more fully and more deeply. This we do by being in the Word of God; by reading—listening—hearing—and reflecting on the truth that it sets before us, giving opportunity for the Holy Spirit to open the eyes of our heart and bring about greater understanding of Who God is, what he is like, and what pleases Him; what love to Him looks like. By the work of the Spirit, this informed mind will give birth to a transformed heart that will produce the fruit of righteousness.

Exchanging any sinful pattern for a righteous one is not merely a matter of changing actions. It is more basically about changing affections. Exchanging love to self and the desires of our sinful nature for love to God; love to the Lord Jesus. May God grant that that exchange will be continually taking place in our minds and hearts. May He grant us ever greater love to Him and from that ever more faithful and firmer steps in the way of righteousness.


Seeking God together with you,

Pastor Guy