Tuesday, October 1, 2013

There is no one righteous?

That's the first part of "the gospel," right? In Sunday School I learned the Romans Road, and the first verse was Romans 3:10, "There is no one righteous, not even one."

Oh geez, it looks really far, I sure hope I can get a taxi. (The first thought I had after seeing this image- probably because I've been walking around in a big city in China all day.) Image source.

So what does it mean when I read Psalm 75, which mostly talks about God punishing the wicked, but concludes by saying, "I will cut off the horns of all the wicked, but the horns of the righteous will be lifted up"?

The righteous? Ah, but we Christians know that "the righteous" don't exist. That's the first thing you gotta say when sharing the gospel, right?

So, clearly, when Psalm 75 refers to "the righteous," it means people who trust in Jesus and are counted as righteous because of him. Clearly. Because no one's actually righteous.

Right, and what about all the other psalms which mention "the righteous" and "the wicked"...? Clearly should be interpreted as "when it says 'righteous' it doesn't really mean righteous, it means you believe in the correct God so then Jesus' righteousness counts for you", yes?

Really? That's what the psalmists meant? That long, convoluted definition of "righteous" which wouldn't make any sense for hundreds of years after these psalms were written?

It seems there are some evangelical Christians- myself included- who have taken Psalm 53:1 and Psalm 14:1 (the psalms referenced in Romans 3) ABSOLUTELY LITERALLY and then had to conjure up some weird twisted interpretation of every other psalm's mention of the word "righteous."


Well that's awkward.

And I just realized I now have no idea what "righteous" means. If we're not going to divide people into 2 categories based on the specific facts they believe about Jesus, then how can we divide them?

And I'm not comfortable labeling people anyway. Categories like "the righteous" and "the wicked" are too simple. People are really complicated.

Or maybe, psalms are poetry, so we shouldn't take their use of these terms to mean "everybody in the world can be categorized as 'the righteous' or 'the wicked.'" Hmm. Poetry. This is hard for me, man, my brain takes everything literally.

So... still not sure who "the righteous" in Psalm 75 are. In church I learned they don't exist. I guess I'll have to reread the whole bible.


This post is part of a link-up on the topic of Psalm 75. To read other people's posts, click here: Tell of His Deeds: A Community Post.

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