|Volume 20 Number 4 April 2018||
Mark N. Posey
Many people view integrity as outdated and no longer applicable to them in our fast-paced world. However, the need for integrity is as great as it has ever been. The word “integrity” occurs 16 times in the Bible. It is one of the most important words in Scripture.
Integrity and character are different but alike. Character is a matter of doing right, over and over, until it becomes a part of one’s life: make a bed, clean a room, get dressed, read the Bible, brush teeth, do chores and so on. Integrity is more than character. It is something that comes from the heart. It is character that is resolute; it is something that can neither be changed nor polluted.
Throughout the Bible, there are three men identified as men of integrity: Abimelech (Genesis 20:5-6), David (1 Kings 9:4) and Job (Job 2:3). People of integrity live close to the heart of God and reflect character consistent with godly lives.
Consider the case of King Abimelech (Genesis 20:5-6). Abraham lied about Sarah, saying she was his sister, and Abimelech was warned by God not to touch her. Strangely, Abraham acted without integrity while Abimelech acted with it. Abraham acted from fear, while Abimelech acted from faith.
Note the occasion of King David (1 Kings 9:4). David was a man “after God’s own heart.” Despite his human failings, David loved the Lord entirely in his heart. He had openness of heart (Psalm 26:1-2; 139:23-24) and brokenness of heart (Psalm 51:17); contrition leads to cleansing and forgiveness. David also had truthfulness of heart (Psalm 15:1-2); God will not tolerate a lying heart in His presence, but He desires “truth in the inward parts” (Psalm 51:6). In addition, David had a holiness of heart (Psalm 24:3-4). No wonder he cried out under the burden of sin, “create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
Contemplate Job (2:3, 9; 27:5; 31:6). Job was a man who held to his character, resulting in a glowing integrity. This reference to integrity indicates a strengthening of the grip Job already had on his resolve to serve God faithfully (2:3). Job’s wife had abandoned her integrity (2:9). What Satan had been able to do in regard to Mrs. Job, he was not successful when it came to Job. During Job’s last response to his friends, he refused to be a party to evil actions and gladly offered up his life for examination to reveal his sterling and wholesome integrity (27:5; 31:6).
In conclusion, God’s children in every age need integrity. Christian integrity involves the whole of the inner person: the heart (Matthew 6:19-21), the mind [“eye”] (Matthew 6:22-23) and the will (Matthew 6:24).
The Bible: What Is It Trying to Say?
Mark T. Tonkery
Have you ever wondered what the Bible is trying to say? In the pages of the Bible, we learn that God is the Author of all life (Genesis 1-2), and His creation proclaims His existence (Job 12:7-10). By listening to creation and the teachings of the Bible, one can come to know the true God of the universe. The pages of the Bible maintain that the God of creation cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). If God cannot lie, then humans ought to pay attention to what has been written in His revelation, the Bible (1 John 5:13; John 20:30-31). God tells us through His Son Jesus Christ that His “words will never pass away” (Matthew 24:35). As one reads the Bible, he will see that Scripture is powerful, even more powerful than the risen dead (Luke 16:30-31). The Bible has the words that tell of eternal life (John 6:68). Romans 10:17 says it is Christ’s words that produce faith, and Hebrews 4:12 states, “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any two edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of souls and spirit, and the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”
From these Scriptures, the Bible presents itself as the authority from God, which is meant for people to base their lives today. First John 2:24-25 reads, “Let that therefore abide in you, which ye have heard from the beginning. If that which ye have heard from the beginning shall remain in you, ye also shall continue in the Son, and in the Father. And this is the promise that he hath promised us, even eternal life.” The Bible is God’s message to man on how to live now and how to prepare to live in the next life.
We at the church of Christ take the Bible very seriously. We teach from it in our Bible classes and preach from it in our pulpits. We encourage every Christian to read the Bible and live by its teaching. If you would like to study the Bible with us, please give us a call or come to our times of Bible study and worship. Today, open your Bible and read the wonderful words of life.