Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Do the Right Thing

The only good that I do is from Christ. 

“As far as God sees Christ in anyone He accepts them. If Christ is not there, no matter what they have, He does not regard them.” See Christ Is All In All, Jeremiah Burroughs (1657).

• Unregenerate people do things right.     • Regenerate people do things wrong.
• Regenerate people do wrong things.       • Unregenerate people do right things.
See Romans 2:14; Romans 7:19; and a large % of the Proverbs and Ecclesiastes

Total Depravity and our ability to “Do the Right Thing?”
John Piper
Westminster Shorter Catechism Questions 17-19
Westminster Confession Chapter VI
Calvin’s Institutes, Book II. Especially chapter 3, sections 3 and 4: virtues are but “special gifts of God.”

I cringe everytime I hear “Do the Right Thing.” Something in me wants to rebel and do the wrong thing. I think it is because “Do the Right Thing” is a disingenuous phrase. It says one thing, but really means another. It’s like the “dear” friend who says, “Don’t you think it’s interesting that Eli still can’t say his Rs?” when you’d rather they just said, “I’m concerned. Eli can’t say his Rs.”

I think the person who tells someone to “Do the Right Thing” really means one of two things. Either they mean:

1. “Do those things that are within the bounds of the rules of your present situation so that others don’t have to deal with you, discipline you or get themselves messy because of you.”


2. “Change your heart so that you desire to do those things that fit the boundaries of God or at least desire to do the things that fit the rules of whatever situation you find yourself in.”

The problem with 1: The speaker sounds concerned for the well-being of the recipient, but is actually interested in having a less bothersome day.

The problem with 2: The speaker demands what no person can do; change their heart. God can demand that we “Do the Right Thing.” See I Peter 1:15-16. But God can also do it, i.e. change hearts. See Ezekiel 11:19.
Consequently, the speaker either unintentionally plays God, demanding of another what only God can accomplish, or unintentionally plays the Devil, encouraging another to do what only God can do.

I will likely say, “Do the right thing” this week. 
And, it will probably be said to someone who has read this blog. 

I trust that you will do what we are commanded and, 
because of Christ, able to do; 
forgive me.


Anonymous said...

I don't get it.....please clarify - doesn't U2 have a song about this?

tiffany said...

why did you go to law school? there's something called TBI....

Unknown said...

You are much too kind.
I learned of law school before I learned of TBI.

Law school: I did not pursue law school; it pursued me. I imagined that I would endure law school. Instead, I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I've been surprised by many things in the past three years.