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Zacharias and Elisabeth

(Luke 1:5-13,24,25,59-64)

Lesson 1 -- first quarter 1997
December 1, 1996

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1996, Christian Light Publications

"And they were both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless." What a beautiful testimony of an elderly couple! I hope this could be said of all couples who reach old age.

But why wait till then? How terrific to have this said of young and middle-aged couples also! That means that now, at whatever stage in their marriage, they should invest their lives in the task of developing righteousness, obedience and blamelessness. Together. Doesn't that have such a nice, close, warm sound and feeling to it? But it won't happen unless they aim and meticulously strive for such a goal. They must do so on an individual basis in addition to doing so as couple.

But why wait till now? Yes, I know that sounds a little strange. What I want to say with that is they should have begun this project a long time ago, back at the beginning of their relationship. Ruby and I should have begun on August 1, 1980, when we married. Right? Yes, that would have been great, but we could have started earlier. Back in March of 1977 when we had our first "date."

But why wait till even that early time in the relationship? Perhaps you are presently dating, maybe you are engaged by now. More likely, though, most readers are romantically unattached as yet. This is the time for you to start building a relationship in which you are "both righteous before God, walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blameless."

Before you conclude that I'm really getting this quarter off to a weird start, consider that often what you are as an individual is the spiritual "gene pool" which determines future relationships. So, now is the time to prepare for the possibility of the Zacharias-and-Elisabeth stage of your life!

Righteous before God. Right thoughts, right values, right choices, right actions, right motives, right entertainment, right purposes, right perspectives--all of them are defining parts of righteousness before God. Before God! Get it?! Don't be void of understanding, living only before often-distracted, often-blind humans! Live in righteousness knowing that "all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do" (Hebrews 4:13).

Walking in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord. All of them?! That's what I understand that verse to say, alright. All of them. That means I can't excuse disregarding one if I do twenty- five others. Nor may I justify my "oversight" with the unfaithfulness of another Christian. It also means that I will make this one of the focuses of my life: I will search the Scriptures for yet-unknown commandments and ordinances in which to walk. Then I will walk in them.

Blameless. Oh, plenty of enemies (human and otherwise) will throw ovenloads of "blame pies" at your face. But the blame should stick to you as effectively as real pies would to Teflon. Blamelessness has nothing to do with successfully hiding your sins and misdeeds. Neither is blamelessness talking about sinless perfection. Blamelessness is living in open integrity, striving toward perfection in Jesus and repenting of our failures as we become aware of them. Blamelessness is have a clear record before God, Who has graciously forgiven us.

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