Commentary on "Integrity: Wholeness and Holiness"
Day 3: Monday, May 31, 2010 - Maintaining Integrity
This day’s lesson is a call to maintain integrity by refusing to rationalize or do small indiscretions when no one else is looking. It cites Genesis 39:6-12 which records Joseph’s resistance of Potiphar’s wife’s seduction, David’s refusal to kill the sleeping Saul when he encountered him in a cave, and Daniel’s refusal to stop praying when the king’s edict demanded no one pray to anyone but him for 30 days.
The lesson asks the reader how he or she has chosen “expediency over forthrightness” and encourages him or her to think about a nonbiblical character who has integrity and to seek to emulate that person’s qualities.
The situations in which Joseph, David, and Daniel found themselves were intense and difficult. Without doubt they suffered greatly and were mightily tempted to succumb to the pressure or opportunities they encountered.
The fact that I believe the lesson author misses is that these three men were completely loyal to Yaweh. They honored Him and identified with Him. He was not merely an abstract and distant god to whom they offered sacrifices and whom they tried to please. He was real, powerful, and personal. They honored Him because they knew and loved Him. Honoring God was more important to them than avoiding persecution, slander, or having revenge.
This sort of integrity does not result from imitating people we admire. For one thing, people we admire may behave well but not be born again. When a person does the right thing from the will of one’s natural self, that “right thing” is still as filthy rags in God’s eyes. It is only when a person is in Christ instead of in Adam by virtue of the new birth, then the work done by the power of the Holy Spirit as we submit to Him is work God approves.
On page 119 of the Teacher’s Comments the author says, “Moral and structural collapses almost always are preceded by erosion…How did Jesus guard against erosion?”
This question is offensive. Jesus was not only fully human but fully God. God does not erode nor sin. The Lord Jesus was our Substitute because He was completely spotless and righteous. He did not earn the right to save us; He intrinsically was able to save us because He brought to His incarnation the eternal, omnipotent perfection and righteousness of God. He did not merely have righteousness; He is righteousness.
Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit and possessed eternal life from the moment of His conception. He was God from the moment of His conception—just as He was before. The question of His erosion is a moot point. The Lord Jesus always trusted His Father; He was never out of relationship with Him. He was God.
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