06 October 2006

Abraham Part III: Obedience & Righteousness

...continued from Part II:

2) Abraham seems repetitive (again): he wants to be a "follower of righteousness" and also “to keep the commandments”. This may not seem repetitive until one tries to define “righteousness”—which must include some mention of keeping the commandments. The difference between the two can be explained by Matthew 24:45-46:

“Who then is a faithful and wise servant, whom his lord hath made ruler over his household, to give them meat in due season? Blessed is that servant, whom his lord when he cometh shall find so doing.”
...and D&C 58:26:
“For behold, it is not meet that I should command in all things; for he that is compelled in all things, the same is a slothful and not a wise servant; wherefore he receiveth no reward.”
Abraham sees the difference between patiently serving by one’s actions (keeping the commandments) and taking the initiative to serve with one’s whole heart, mind, and body (following righteousness).

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

I can't help thinking that a "follower of righteousness" should be capitalized. Could it be something like what we call being a member of the Church? If you read "member of Christ's Church" in the place of "follower of righteousness", it fits very well. Also, maybe just Righteousness should be capitalized as a reference to the Lord.

I agree though, the key principle here is receive and then obey...

kjtw

Connor said...

I like this thought. There are both reactive and proactive actions. It would seem to me that simply "keeping the commandments" is reactive--we obey because we're told. Following righteousness, on the other hand, is proactive--we look for opportunities to serve, reach out, and spread the light within us.

Robert C. said...

I've been wondering about a similar phrase in Gen 15:6 (see here and here for some discussion). My thoughts were that righteousness may have more to do with being faithful in the marriage sense of giving oneself to another, rather than just obeying the commandments.

BrianJ said...

Connor: thanks for the comment on reactive/proactive. I think that's a good way to look at it.

Robert: thanks for the links to the further discussion. I especially liked your thoughts on the covenantal relationship between God and Abraham.

I fully accept your comparison of righteousness to marriage. That's along the lines of what I was going for in the post ("...serve with one’s whole heart, mind, and body"), but I think you said it better than I did.

Carrying on your theme: keeping the "commandments of marriage" doesn't imply love for one's spouse. It just means that rules aren't being broken (don't stay out late, don't cheat, do the laundry, bring home the bacon, blah blah). But following righteousness in marriage is pouring out love, serving, etc.

As for Abraham and "counting for righeousness": I'm awed by Abraham's trust in God. He's promised something very far-fetched: children after decades without. But he believes God! Just like that. Wow!