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On being "overly righteous"

Ecclesiastes 7:16a

English Standard Version - "Be not overly righteous, and do not make yourself too wise. Why should you destroy yourself?"

King James Version - "Be not righteous over much; neither make thyself over wise: why shouldest thou destroy thyself ?"

Here are some of the faithful commentators of the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries.

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The Law and the Christian

"He who looks at his own character and position from a legal point of view, will not only despair when he comes to the end of his reckoning, but if he be a wise man he will despair at the beginning; for if we are to be judged on the footing of the law, there shall no flesh living be justified.

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Sinners, Hypocrisy and Jesus

Yesterday God was clearly revealing to me that I am a sinner.

I need not, I must not change that, or hide it, from myself, God or others, because Jesus is the friend of sinners. It's not the righteous, but sinners he came to call to himself - to love them, to save them, to change them from within.

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Healing of the Body and the Christian

Dear brother/sister, just a few words of encouragement about the healing of the body in the Christian life. As we with chronic pain tend to get easily discouraged at times.

I don't think it is always a fault, or the lack of faith, or an un-confessed and un-repented sin that a believer is not healed.

Some passages in the NT would indicate the same -

"...I left Trophimus, who was ill, at Miletus". 2 Timothy 4:20b

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"Shall we not much more be subject to the Father of spirits and live?"

The text of Hebrews 11-12 is full of suggestive thoughts like - the life of faith/dependence, being in the race, surrounded by many witnesses. These witnesses have passed on to be in the presence of God, and have arrived at the finishing line, and are waiting for us to complete the race with them, that they may receive with us even something better that was promised them. "...since God had provided something better for us, that apart from us they should not be made perfect." (Hebrews 11:40)

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"...O prisoners of hope..."

"Return to your stronghold, O prisoners of hope; today I declare that I will restore to you double". Zechariah 9:12

Though God's people of Israel have been back in their homeland from Babylonian captivity for some time, it seems that the people have been discouraged in their hearts and doubting if God will actually do what he's promised and restore the blessings of his covenant to them. The times looked hopeless.

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Jesus only

We must let go of our secret ideas of God’s acceptance of us because of our performance. Because, " if righteousness were through the law [by what I do for God], then Christ died for no purpose [than he died in vain]".

It’s true of us that, if we compare ourselves with others in our church and reason out something like this - 'I used to be where they are and now I'm not', so, subconsciously I might think, ‘either I get to where they are or I can’t face them'.

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"Peace with God"

In Romans 5:1 Paul says, "Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ."

Therefore, - Paul in previous chapters spent describing how we sinners have been set right with God. So, now the conclusion on the justification by faith.

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Holy paradox - Life of emptiness and fullness at the same time

By nature we don't even know we have a need. It's only when we are face to face with God in Christ that the Holy Spirit graciously opens our eyes, and we see that "we come short of the glory of God".

And now, through the death of Christ, on behalf of us sinners, God has provided the forgiveness and cleansing, fullness and fruit for God.

It is a life of constant "beholding him", which teaches us wisdom - of knowing the God of fullness and knowing the emptiness of self.

And faith is the hand that appropriates the fullness of God to our empty selves.

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"And the effect of righteousness will be peace"

God is a God of hope, and a God of second and third...chances. In Isaiah 32 the Prophet is giving God's people of Israel another promise of a coming king, and particularly the promise of the fruit in his people that his coming will produce.

More specifically in 32:15-17 -

15 until the Spirit is poured upon us from on high,and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.
16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.

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