Blessed are those whose way is pure, who walk in the law of the Lord.
Blessed are those who keep his testimonies and seek him with their whole heart,
Those who do no wickedness, but walk in his ways.
You, O Lord, have charged that we should diligently keep your commandments.
O that my ways were made so direct that I might keep your statutes.
Then should I not be put to shame, because I have regard for all your commandments.
I will thank you with an unfeigned heart, when I have learned your righteous judgements.
I will keep your statutes;
O forsake me not utterly.
How shall young people cleanse their way to keep themselves according to your word?
With my whole heart have I sought you;
O let me not go astray from your commandments.
Your words have I hidden within my heart, that I should not sin against you.
Blessed are you, O Lord; O teach me your statutes.
With my lips have I been telling of all the judgements of your mouth.
I have taken greater delight in the way of your testimonies than in all manner of riches.
I will meditate on your commandments and contemplate your ways.
My delight shall be in your statutes and I will not forget your word.
O do good to your servant that I may live,
and so shall I keep your word.
Open my eyes, that I may see the wonders of your law.
I am a stranger upon earth; hide not your commandments from me.
My soul is consumed at all times with fervent longing for your judgements.
You have rebuked the arrogant; cursed are those who stray from your commandments.
Turn from me shame and rebuke, for I have kept your testimonies.
Rulers also sit and speak against me, but your servant meditates on your statutes.
For your testimonies are my delight;
they are my faithful counsellors.
My soul cleaves to the dust;
O give me life according to your word.
I have acknowledged my ways and you have answered me;
O teach me your statutes.
Make me understand the way of your commandments,
and so shall I meditate on your wondrous works.
My soul melts away in tears of sorrow;
raise me up according to your word.
Take from me the way of falsehood;
be gracious to me through your law.
I have chosen the way of truth and your judgements have I laid before me.
I hold fast to your testimonies;
O Lord, let me not be put to shame.
I will run the way of your commandments,
when you have set my heart at liberty.
But if the wicked turn away from all their sins that they have committed and keep all my statutes and do what is lawful and right, they shall surely live; they shall not die. None of the transgressions that they have committed shall be remembered against them; for the righteousness that they have done they shall live. Have I any pleasure in the death of the wicked, says the Lord God, and not rather that they should turn from their ways and live? But when the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity and do the same abominable things that the wicked do, shall they live? None of the righteous deeds that they have done shall be remembered; for the treachery of which they are guilty and the sin they have committed, they shall die.
Yet you say, ‘The way of the Lord is unfair.’ Hear now, O house of Israel: Is my way unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair? When the righteous turn away from their righteousness and commit iniquity, they shall die for it; for the iniquity that they have committed they shall die. Again, when the wicked turn away from the wickedness they have committed and do what is lawful and right, they shall save their life. Because they considered and turned away from all the transgressions that they had committed, they shall surely live; they shall not die. Yet the house of Israel says, ‘The way of the Lord is unfair.’ O house of Israel, are my ways unfair? Is it not your ways that are unfair?
Therefore I will judge you, O house of Israel, all of you according to your ways, says the Lord God. Repent and turn from all your transgressions; otherwise iniquity will be your ruin. Cast away from you all the transgressions that you have committed against me, and get yourselves a new heart and a new spirit! Why will you die, O house of Israel? For I have no pleasure in the death of anyone, says the Lord God. Turn, then, and live.
2 Corinthians 12
It is necessary to boast; nothing is to be gained by it, but I will go on to visions and revelations of the Lord. I know a person in Christ who fourteen years ago was caught up to the third heaven—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows. And I know that such a person—whether in the body or out of the body I do not know; God knows—was caught up into Paradise and heard things that are not to be told, that no mortal is permitted to repeat. On behalf of such a one I will boast, but on my own behalf I will not boast, except of my weaknesses. But if I wish to boast, I will not be a fool, for I will be speaking the truth. But I refrain from it, so that no one may think better of me than what is seen in me or heard from me, even considering the exceptional character of the revelations. Therefore, to keep me from being too elated, a thorn was given to me in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment me, to keep me from being too elated. Three times I appealed to the Lord about this, that it would leave me, but he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is made perfect in weakness.’ So, I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me. Therefore I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities for the sake of Christ; for whenever I am weak, then I am strong.
I have been a fool! You forced me to it. Indeed you should have been the ones commending me, for I am not at all inferior to these super-apostles, even though I am nothing. The signs of a true apostle were performed among you with utmost patience, signs and wonders and mighty works. How have you been worse off than the other churches, except that I myself did not burden you? Forgive me this wrong!
Here I am, ready to come to you this third time. And I will not be a burden, because I do not want what is yours but you; for children ought not to lay up for their parents, but parents for their children. I will most gladly spend and be spent for you. If I love you more, am I to be loved less? Let it be assumed that I did not burden you. Nevertheless (you say) since I was crafty, I took you in by deceit. Did I take advantage of you through any of those whom I sent to you? I urged Titus to go, and sent the brother with him. Titus did not take advantage of you, did he? Did we not conduct ourselves with the same spirit? Did we not take the same steps?
Have you been thinking all along that we have been defending ourselves before you? We are speaking in Christ before God. Everything we do, beloved, is for the sake of building you up. For I fear that when I come, I may find you not as I wish, and that you may find me not as you wish; I fear that there may perhaps be quarrelling, jealousy, anger, selfishness, slander, gossip, conceit, and disorder. I fear that when I come again, my God may humble me before you, and that I may have to mourn over many who previously sinned and have not repented of the impurity, sexual immorality, and licentiousness that they have practised.
Lord of all power and might,
the author and giver of all good things:
graft in our hearts the love of your name,
increase in us true religion,
nourish us with all goodness,
and of your great mercy keep us in the same;
through Jesus Christ your Son our Lord,
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit,
one God, now and for ever. Amen.