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Online Bible Verses - Proverbs Chapter 21: Pursue Righteousness

Updated on May 10, 2012

“Whoever pursues righteousness and love finds life, prosperity and honor.” Proverbs 21:21NIV

Seems reasonable. A righteous person will do well.

Well, wait a minute, few points of confusion I think we may need to clear up. First, how do we define righteous? Put another way, what standard do we use? If we happen to believe that scripture is God’s inspired word, maybe we should reference it. I do, so I will. The Book of Romans Ch 3 sets that standard for man:

“There is no one righteous, not even one;
11 there is no one who understands;
there is no one who seeks God.
12 All have turned away,
they have together become worthless;
there is no one who does good,
not even one.”

According to God’s standard, then, everyone falls way short. “no one” above means there are no righteous people. That includes Tom, Dick and Harry. Even Larry. What about Mary? Her too. If it could be adjusted on a conveniently sliding scale, pretty good might not be good today but will be tomorrow. But then again, pretty good could always be deemed, simultaneously, pretty bad.

If we cannot attain righteousness in our own effort, today’s verse implies we can pursue it; after years, perhaps, in attempting to become that of our own accord, maybe realize at some point it has been a failed effort and appeal to God for help. In effect, realize we, of ourselves, are not good enough and will not be without His help and grace.

Being good, then, may require we realize we are not and never can be.


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