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Category: Purpose

Your Name is “In-Righteousness”

The Name a Parent Gives a Child

In Scripture, parents sometimes named their children according to an experience during or before childbirth. One example of this pre-naming is Jesus Christ. Mary had the experience of meeting an angel of God who told her “you will conceive in thy womb, and bring forth a son, and will call his name Jesus.” (1) Did this experience influence her? Obviously. Christmas, Easter, and Christianity attest to the effect of Mary’s experience. She named her son Jesus because of her heavenly experience before childbirth, and now all Christians call God’s son Jesus.

We see a tragic example of naming a child before childbirth in Rachel. Rachel “travailed, and she had hard labor.” (2) As she gave birth to her son, she was dying. As she was dying, she named her son Ben-oni which means the son of my sorrow or distress. (3) Rachel named her son Ben-oni because this name reflected her experience during childbirth. We can imagine the sorrow and distress that Rachel felt, knowing that she was dying and would not enjoy, nurture, or experience her newborn growing up as a boy into a man.

But Jacob named his and his wife’s son Benjamin, which means son of my right hand, son of hope, and son of honor. Like Rachel, Jacob named Benjamin from an experience before or during childbirth, but “Benjamin” referred the name to the eternal. By the eternal, I mean the eternal experience instead of the physical. At the tragic moment of Rachel’s soul leaving her body, one cannot say that Jacob was not distressed, saddened, or even hopeful to see his wife live, expecting God to turn things around. Yet if Jacob only looked at these physical circumstances, the name Benjamin wouldn’t have come to his mind. However, Jacob, looking at the eternal—the eternal God—named his son after the eternal blessings. For Jacob, there was more to life than Rachel’s dying body or Benjamin’s birth. There was, for Jacob, an eternal hope, joy, and honor coming into the world.

God’s expectation and hope are like Jacob’s and God is your heavenly father. Therefore, what has God your father named you? What is your name? The answer Scripture gives is “In-Righteousness.” Isaiah says that “the Lord has called you In-Righteousness, and will hold your hand, and will protect you.” (4) Your name is “In-Righteousness.” “In-Righteousness” is a rich name comprising two meanings: relationship and justice.

righteousness: relational and legal

On the one hand, righteousness is a relational term that refers to your relationship with God. A person is righteous when his or her life and actions align with God’s character. In Psalms, David asks God to bless his son Solomon to rule “In-Righteousness.” David says, “Give the king your judgments, O God, and your righteousness unto the king’s son [King Solomon]. King Solomon shall judge your people with righteousness and your poor with judgment. The mountains shall bring peace to the people, and the little hills, by righteousness.” (5) David wanted everything, in Solomon’s rule, to relate to God. This relationship included his son Solomon’s right relationship with God. In other words, David wanted Solomon to rule righteously which was to rule Godly.

On the other hand, righteousness is a legal term. You can think of In-Righteousness as another way of saying in-law. When you’re In-Righteousness, you are in legal conformity with God’s law. As Scripture shows, “That which is altogether In-Righteousness you shall follow, that you may live, and inherit the land which the Lord thy God gives you.” (6) Here, righteousness functions as a law that you should follow to receive God’s blessings. Therefore, since God names you In-Righteousness (in-law), He expects you to reflect your legal name, not your nickname.

God’s expectation

Thus, God expects you to do right and be right. Before you’re born, He calls you in-relationship to Him and in a legal bond to Him. Your legal name is God’s claim over your life. Scripture says that God names and claims us as His. He gives us a spiritual reputation and expectation to maintain. As Scripture states, “According as He has chosen us in Him [In-Righteousness or In-Law] before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to Himself, according to the good pleasure of His will.” (7) God, as a parent to a child, as Jacob to Benjamin, as Mary to Jesus, gave you a special name: In-Righteousness. Holiness, blamelessness, and love are a few attributes that you (In-Righteousness) are to exhibit.

(1) Luke 1:31.
(2) Genesis 36:16.
(3) Genesis 36:18.
(4) Isaiah 42:6.
(5) Psalm 72:1-3.
(6) Deuteronomy 16:20.
(7) Ephesians 1:4-5.

Daylight Savings Time

Daylight savings time is a procedure to advance or reverse clocks to gain more sunlight after the workday. In theory, it gives people an extra hour of sunlight to enjoy after work. Here, people manipulate time to control how long the light is with them. If we think about it, though, who controls time? Can people stop, advance, or reverse time? No. Time is one thing we cannot control. However, daylight savings time controls how long people experience sunlight. 

Yet, the only thing that actually changes is how people live. People who use daylight savings time do not change time but change their lives by waking up earlier or later. Therefore, daylight savings time is a life-change instead of a time change. This life-change affects how we interact with the light. This practice is interesting because Scripture also expresses that, though we cannot change time, we can make a life-change that affects how we interact with the Light.

The End of Time: As We Know It

How should we live? We must do God’s will while we live. We can procrastinate about many things, but we cannot procrastinate in living. Living is not only fragile but is valuable because we do not know when we will die. We, however, know our death. We may not know how, when, or where, but we all know that we will die (1).

When we die, our earthly life ends. Such a departure entails that we can no longer do earthly deeds. Therefore, any good that we wanted to do we cannot do. If we, for example, wanted to give money to charity, tell someone we loved him or her, or tell others about Jesus Christ, we cannot do any of this when we die. Jesus reminds us we “must work the works of God who sent Him, while it is day because the night comes when no man can work” (2). We can only live for God while we live. When night [death] comes, we cannot.

Living in the Day

Doing good deeds while we are alive is not enough. We must have light while we live. We get light by accepting Jesus Christ as our Savior and Lord. If we do not accept Jesus as the Lord and Savior, we live in darkness. Our life, thus, can be full of light or darkness. This life, however, does not last long. “We do not know what will happen tomorrow. For what is our life? It is even a vapor that appears for a little time and then vanishes away” (3). If tomorrow is not a guarantee and we have a choice to live in darkness or light, “a little while is the light with us” (4). Therefore, we should “walk while we have the light in us” before we die (5).

Now’s the Time

We can thus live two ways. We can live in the light: Living with Jesus in our hearts and doing His works. Or, we can live in darkness: living without Jesus and working in vain (6). One might say that “as long as people do the works of God, they live in the light.” However, the works of God are not gratuitous acts but our belief that Jesus Christ is Lord and Savior. As Jesus said, “This is the work of God, that you believe in Him whom He has sent” (7). We should, thus, believe in Jesus Christ and that He is our Lord and Savior while we are alive, while we have time.

(1) Hebrews 9:27.
(2) John 9:4.
(3) James 4:14.
(4) John 12:35.
(5) John 12:35-36.
(6) John 11:9-10.
(7) John 6:29.

What’s the Purpose of Life

As humans, we have a natural inclination to think about our purpose. This inclination is synonymous with every “why” question. Some believe we can live without answering “why” questions. This unintentional life appears possible, but is this how any person should want to live? The short answer is that we cannot live this way. Basic activities such as eating, working, and relationships (either for pleasure or necessity) prove that people cannot entirely break with purposeful activities.

More than a Gacha Life

The deeper question we could ask ourselves is “What is our purpose?” This question invokes us to understand our ideal selves. However, if we answer this question with only ourselves in mind, the answer is unsatisfying. If people do not want to live for a larger meaning, life becomes selfish, random, and meaningless. Life has to be more than a Gacha Life where getting objects and achievements are the primary goals. This virtual manner of life is no way to live in reality.

Calling You

We, however, have a purpose, and this purpose is to know and trust in Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior. As “fairy-tale” as it might sound, a happy-ending always awaits those who believe that Jesus Christ is Lord. We can find comfort in our knowing that “all things work together for good to them that love God and to those who are called according to His purpose” (1). This passage tells us if we are called, we have nothing to worry about. But what does “called” or His purpose mean? 

Purpose Driven

God has called all people to believe in His son Jesus Christ. This calling, the apostle Paul explains, is God’s purpose. “Having made known unto us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He has purposed in Himself, and according to the purpose of God who works all things after the counsel of His will: That we should be to the praise of His glory, who first trusted in Christ” (2). We are, therefore, called to believe in Jesus (3). Such a calling comes not from ourselves but God through grace and mercy (4).

Happy Ending

But why is this answer to the “why” question satisfying? It is satisfying because it can give our life meaning. A successful career, fame, worldly knowledge, or other earthly achievements do not give our whole life meaning. They do not come near explaining unfortunate events in life. However, Jesus Christ explains everything and is the explanation (the purpose) of life: Those who are called according to God’s purpose—our faith in Jesus Christ—receive eternal life (5). Isn’t this the most satisfying answer to why we live? Isn’t this more satisfying than the explanation of randomness or meaninglessness? What is more satisfying than our knowing that the purpose of living is to live eternally?

(1) Romans 8:28.
(2) Ephesians 1:9, 11, 12.
(3) Romans 1:6.
(4) Romans 9:23, Galatians 1:15.
(5) Acts 13:48, Romans 10:9.

The Compass From God

We must have a heart from God if we want to be God’s children because the center of our being must point to Him. We can think of our center as compasses. Compass directions (North, South, East, and West) relate to the directions of the Earth. The direction the compass points to relates to the position of a magnetic needle. The center of this needle aligns itself with the Earth’s magnetic field. The Earth’s magnetic field pulls the needle, which compass manufacturers design to always point to the North. When the center of the compass aligns with the Earth’s magnetic center, the needle will point in the right direction.

Likewise, God said he will put a “magnetic needle” in us that aligns with Him. Like the center of a compass aligns to the Earth’s magnetic field, the center of our being can align with God. Scripture calls this magnetic needle or center of our being a heart. This heart can contain God’s law but also “encompasses” our whole being (1). Our whole being is our emotions, desires, will, conscience, and moral values. No wonder how we came up with the term “moral compass.” 

Since the fall in the Garden of Eden, our compasses (hearts) needed repair because they no longer pointed in the right direction (2). The center of our hearts aligned with the devil and pointed to the directions of lust, lying, stealing, cheating, hate, jealousy, and many other evil directions (3). God, however, promised that he would give us new compasses that align to Him. He says he will give us “a new heart,” so we can “walk in His statutes, keep His judgments, and do them” (4). When we have a compass—or heart—like the one that God gives, we “inherit all things” and become his children (5). God’s children have a center that aligns with God; they have the center of Jesus (6).

(1) Jeremiah 31:33; Psalm 103:1.
(2) Genesis 3.
(3) Ezekiel 36:26, 27.
(4) A compass that has an evil center spins around chaotically. It makes us wander back and forth needlessly and confusedly, Psalm 107:4-5, Joshua 5:6, Numbers 32:13; Ephesians 4:14, Job 2:2.
(5) Revelation 21:8.
(6) Colossians 1:15-22.

A Message Out of Fear

We should follow God’s commandments regardless of how others may react. The reaction of others cannot compare to our disobeying God’s commandments. Disobeying His commandments is worse because God has the power to “destroy our soul and body in hell” (1). Disobedience of God’s commandments is a spiritual problem. However, we, as humans, sometimes do not see disobedience this way. 

Today, our obedience to God might not cause physical death but, more subtle and dangerous, spiritual death—a disconnection with God’s will for our lives. We sometimes think we can curb obedience because of our fear of losing earthly aspirations. If God, for example, tells me to preach, but I do not preach because I fear that it will stop me from pursuing my career, I have now disobeyed God for fear of losing not my physical life but my earthly desires. 

We see such earthly aspirations in Scripture, in people like king Zedekiah and the Pharisees. They knew and believed that God commanded true and beneficial actions. However, they feared the ridicule of people instead of God’s judgment (2). Therefore, since they feared people’s judgment instead of God’s, they disobeyed His commands. When we live according to the fear of people or losing our desires, we do not trust that God will take care of us and end up disobeying Him.

God’s judgment should be the only thing we fear because He is God, and we cannot forget that God created us, the universe, and the earth (3). God’s commands are always for our benefit, even if we do not understand what those benefits are (4). Knowing that God loves us and cares for us should encourage us (despite our reasoning the “pros and cons”) to obey Him and not fear the results or people’s reactions. As we live, we want a God-outcome, not an earthly one. When we seek a God-outcome, we know that it is the outcome that God destined us to experience.

(1) Matthew 10:28.
(2) Jeremiah 38:19; John 12:42-43; John 19:12-13.
(3) Isaiah 51:13.
(4) Jeremiah 29:11.

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Dwight A. Lucas II. All rights reserved.