The Whole Duty of Man
By George Kirkpatrick
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Proclaiming the Everlasting Gospel of the Kingdom
Vital Words to the Body of Christ
Freely We Have Received, Freely We Give
As we begin our study we need to consider the question: "What is the whole duty of man before God Let's look at the words of Isaiah the prophet to find the answer.
"Wherefore the Lord said, Forasmuch as this people draw near Me with their mouth, and with their lips do honor Me, but have removed their heart far from Me, and their fear toward Me is taught by the precept of men:" Isaiah 29:13
This was true in Isaiah's day. It was also true in Jesus' day. Jesus quoted Isaiah:
"This people draweth nigh unto Me with their mouth, and honoureth Me with their lips; but their heart is far from Me. But in vain they do worship Me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men." Matthew 15:8-9
This was true in Jesus' day, and the same is true in our day. Let's look closer at the words of truth contained in these verses. Isaiah says, ". . . the people draw near to God with their mouths. . ." In other words, they are confessing Christ with their mouths, they claim to be Christians. In this nation, the greater percentage of people claim to be Christians. Why? Well, they live in what is called a Christian nation. Since they are not Jewish or Atheist, then they must be Christian. So when we ask, we hear them say, "I am a Christian", but their hearts are far from Christ. The heart is the mind or soul. It is what one thinks and what one does. Their hearts are far from what they confess with their mouths.
Proclaiming you are a Christian is not enough. True Christians have allowed God's Word to change their thinking, their walk, and what they are inwardly; not what they confess with their mouths. When confronted about their walk in God, many today will declare, "I am saved. I go to church. I am a good person." But their hearts are far from Him. Isaiah continues:
. . . the fear toward Him is taught by the precepts of men."
The word precept means commandment. Jesus described this as "teaching for doctrine the commandments of men." Today the church system does not teach the Word of God as it has been written. They teach what they think the Word says. If the Word is too hard, they water it down; and then this watered-down version often becomes the set doctrine of their denomination. Because they are afraid they will offend and lose membership if they teach the Word as it is written, they teach doctrine attempting to use the words of Jesus to prove their doctrines. In reality, even though they believe this is their whole duty to man, they have failed the test. Our whole duty to God is to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling. As stated by the words of Paul to the Philippians:
"Wherefore, my beloved, as ye have always obeyed, not as in My presence only, but now much more in My absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling." Philippians 2:12
We are instructed to work out God's plan of salvation in our lives with fear and trembling. We are not to take our salvation for granted just because we have repeated Romans 10:9 & 10. Romans 10:9 says:
"That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved." Romans 10:9
The phrase thou shalt be saved is futuristic. It is something that will happen gradually in one's life as they read God's Word, learn to know His voice, and change their way of thinking, their walk, and their life. When these things begin to happen, then we are beginning our walk into God's plan of salvation in our lives. But there is a going on. There is a growing process that must continue. We cannot stop at step one of God's plan of salvation, and declare with our mouths, "We are saved." Paul goes on to explain the going on aspect of God's plan of salvation in each life:
"For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation." Romans 10:10
When a man believes in his heart, then He begins his walk into righteousness. Then, and only then, can his mouth confess `salvation', because he is continually working out God's salvation plan in his life. In his letter to the Thessalonians, Paul declared:
"That everyone of you should know how to possess his vessel in sanctification and honor; not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God." I Thessalonians 4:4-5
Paul stated, "All should know how to possess their vessel." The word vessel means "our body." The word possess means "to procure a thing for one's self." What are we to procure for ourselves? We are to become sanctified before our God. How are we to be sanctified? We are to be sanctified in our hearts, in our inner most being, and by how we live our lives before others.
What else are we to procure for our lives? We are to live our lives in honor. The word honor means "to hold one's self above reproach, to have respect for others, and to have respect for one's self." Honor means that when we say something, our word is good. When we make a deal, we go through with that deal. When we promise to love, honor, and obey in our marriage vows, we honor our word. Honor has all but disappeared from the church system. Many no longer honor God or His Word.
Paul explained that we are not to do as the Gentiles, which know not God. We are not to lust after the things that God forbids. If we have lust in our life, then honor will flee. When this lust is brought forth in our life, we begin to justify our thoughts and our actions with our mouth. John, the beloved disciple, recorded Jesus' words concerning lust:
"For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world." I John 2:16
Lust is not of the Father. Lust is a worldly vice. Paul states this is what the Gentiles do. If we do not control our lust, are we any different than the Gentiles? Lust and greed go hand in hand. Some people can never have enough of anything. They lie, cheat, steal, swear falsely, and then wonder why their life is a mess. God will deal harshly with these in ways they cannot even imagine. These actions will be dealt with in their health, in their relationships with their family, with their fellow man, and in their business relationships. When they wonder how they went astray, they never consider that it is because of their unruly tongue. And because of this, God will deal with their lustful and greedy attitudes. Paul warns about our dealings with our brothers.
"That no man go beyond and defraud his brother in any matter: because that the Lord is the avenger of all such, as we also have forewarned you and testified." I Thessalonians 4:6
The phrase go beyond means "to step over the limits set down in God's Word." The word defraud means "to cheat or to swindle, to take advantage of another." No one should be proud of such activities. When we defraud a brother in any matter, we are stepping over the limits God has set down in His Word.
When we think of defrauding, we usually think of one who is deceptive in business dealings. But there are many other ways to defraud a brother. One of the ways we defraud our Christian brothers and sisters is when we withhold our fellowship from them. Another way we defraud a brother is when we do not lend a helping hand to them in their time of need. We can also defraud them with our looks, our actions, and our deeds. There are many other ways to defraud someone, but we have God's promise He is the avenger of all who defraud a brother. The word avenger means "one who exacts the penalty of the law."
Paul admonished all: "I have forewarned you of these things." Paul forewarned all those who read His Word are not to defraud their brother or sister in any way. The problem that has arisen in the church system is that many believers only accept the partial Word. They take God's Word, and only use that which best suits what they want to believe, and claim the rest was written for someone else.
They do not accept the practical Word. The word practical means "serving an actual use or purpose." Every word in the Bible serves as an actual or useful purpose in the life of those who have received God's free gift of salvation. Every word in the Bible explains the whole duty of man toward his God, his family, and his fellow man. Paul continued to explain man's whole duty to God.
"For God hath not called us unto uncleanness, but unto holiness. He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God, who hath also given unto us His Holy Spirit." I Thessalonians 4:7 & 8
God has not called us to uncleanness, but unto holiness. There are many kinds of uncleanness. Besides physical uncleanness, one of the most damning is mental uncleanness. When our thoughts are unclean, then our minds are perverted, and we cannot think righteous thoughts. And this uncleanness will come out of our mouths in the form of profanity, hurtful words, and stinking attitudes. But when our thoughts are holy, then we would rather cut out our tongue, then to hurt someone with our words and actions. Paul states:
". . . He therefore that despiseth, despiseth not man, but God . . . " I Thessalonians 4:7b
The word despiseth means "to reject, to disannul, to bring to nothing." These are those who have not dealt with their unclean thoughts. When we cleanse our minds of unclean thoughts, it will also clean up our mouths. Then we can use our mouths to praise God, instead of demeaning His Word and His name. When there is uncleanness of any kind in our life, then we not only despise God, but we end up despising ourselves, also.
God has given us the Holy Spirit. Why? Is it so we can speak in tongues, prophecy, or give words of knowledge? No! The Holy Spirit came on the Day of Pentecost as cloven tongues of fire. Why? He came to bring a cleansing fire to cleanse us from within and without from all unrighteousness, so there would be no uncleanness in our life. He was not speaking of uncleanness that you can wash off with water. He was speaking of our inner thoughts. We must allow the Holy Spirit's cleansing tongues of fire do its work in our innermost being. Peter explains why we need to become like our example:
"For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps:" I Peter 2:21
We need to strive to become like our example in every way. Paul continues to admonish the church at Thessalonica:
"But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another." I Thessalonians 4:9
There are two basic kinds of love described in the Bible. First, there is phileo love, which is the love we have for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Second is agape love, which is the unlimited, infinite love God has for all His creation. Agape love is the love God has for the unloving. It is this kind of love we must have, if we are going to be as our example. It is easy to show phileo love to our brothers and sisters in Christ. But to show God's agape love, we must love those who do not love us back. This is the kind of love Jesus spoke of in His sermon on the mount:
"But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you; Matthew 5:44
When we can display this agape love, we have truly entered into the Kingdom of God. This is the kind of love Jesus displayed when He hung on the cross, and declared:
". . . Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do . . ." Luke 23:34.
As Paul declared, we are taught of God to love one another. How are we to show this kind of love? It is by our kindness, patience, and caring. We should desire to be around one another in fellowship. We need to lend a helping hand and be there for one another.
Now, if God teaches us this, then if we do not love one another, we are walking in disobedience to what God teaches in His Word. There is much disobedience in the church today. Man has forgotten that Adam was removed from the garden because of disobedience. We need to know that disobedience will keep us out of the Kingdom of God. John declared:
"We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren. He that loveth not his brother abideth in death." I John 3:14
When we love the brethren, then we have passed from our death state into life. Anyone who does not love his brother does not possess God's life in their vessel. They remain in their death state. This is where the world and many in the church are today.
How then, do we recognize those who abide in death? We know them by their actions and their talk. Do they look like the world? The world has crept into the church with its music, its dress, its language, and its lack of love for one another. The beloved John describes the condition of today's church very correctly:
"But whoso hath this world's good, and seeth his brother have need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion from him, how dwelleth the love of God in him?" I John 3:17
The church no longer takes care of the people in the community they are supposed to serve. When someone needs help, the church sends them to some government agency for help. Is it any wonder that the people have begun to look to the government as their God to meet all their needs? The church has failed in their commitment to love their brothers in Christ. As John declared, "One who loves his brother has an open hand toward his brother." Those who shut their hand to their brothers' needs have no bowels of compassion. The word bowels means "tenderness, kindness, and affection for." Those who shut up their tenderness, kindness, and affection toward their brothers and sisters do not have the agape love of God in their life. These only think of themselves and their own needs. These are selfish, lifeless people who are unusable to God. These end up unhappy, discontented, and blame others for their failures. Then they wonder why God seems to be far off, and why He does not hear their prayers.
John continues to describe what our whole duty before God is:
"If any man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen? And this commandment have we from Him, That he who loveth God loveth his brother also." I John 4:20-21
As John so boldly stated, those who hate their brothers and sisters, hate God also. If we confess a love toward God, then we had better love our brothers. Today we hear many confessing their love for God, but their life does not display any love for their brothers or sisters. They do not even love themselves. Love is not an emotion. It is an inward commitment. We must determine to love, no matter the circumstances. Paul continues his exhortation to the Thessalonians:
"But as touching brotherly love ye need not that I write unto you: for ye yourselves are taught of God to love one another, And indeed ye do it toward all the brethren which are in all Macedonia: but we beseech you, brethren, that ye increase more and more;" I Thessalonians 4:9-10
Those who truly love the Lord are taught of God that they should love one another. Then Paul goes on to say we are to extend our love to all Macedonia. The word Macedonia means "extended land." Our extended land includes all who are outside our immediate reach. This is our outreach toward others. Yes, we are not only to love our Christian brothers and sisters, we are to show our agape love toward all the brethren which we meet, and those who are not in our immediate area. And as we grow into the knowledge of our God and come into a close, intimate relationship with him, then our love should also grow.
Many people believe love and clean living are an option, and that sin does not affect their lives. Paul explains what causes illness in our lives:
"I speak after the manner of men because of the infirmity of your flesh: for as ye have yielded your members servants to uncleanness and to iniquity unto iniquity; even so now yield your members servant to righteousness unto holiness." Romans 6:19
Paul informed the church at Rome why there was sickness among the people. The word infirmity means "sickness." Many are sick because they have yielded their members to become servants to uncleanness. The word uncleanness means "impure motives in a moral sense." Today the morals in this nation are that of an alley cat, and then we wonder why many of the populace have aids and venereal diseases, why abortions are in the millions, why marriages last less than five years - - - that is, for those who bother to even get married at all. Shacking up seems to be the order of today. Young people believe and are taught that sex is part of dating and that being sexually active is acceptable, even at an early age.
Paul goes on to say, " . . . iniquity unto iniquity." The word iniquity means "unrighteousness and violation of God's laws." Because of divorce, children no longer have two parents. This is why children are in trouble constantly with the law. It is why suicides are rampant among the young. It is also one of the main reasons why these children are not loved or cared for. And because of these things, many of the young turn to drugs, crime, and elicit sex.
If this nation and the world are to turn around, then it must start with the fathers and mothers turning their hearts back to God. They must make their marriages work to keep the family together. They must make sure their children have two parents who love and care for them.
As Paul revealed, we must yield our members servants to righteousness and holiness. Morality must start in the home. We cannot expect our government leaders to teach our children morals, because their moral standards are the lowest in the nation. Teaching correct morality is the parent's whole duty to God. Paul continued his revelation:
"For when ye were the servants of sin, ye were free from righteousness. What fruit had ye then in those things whereof ye are now ashamed? For the end of those things is death. But now being made free from sin, and become servants to God, ye have your fruit unto holiness, and the end everlasting life." Romans 6:20-22
Those who are servants of sin are free from righteousness. The word free means "unrestrained, not bound by obligations." Those who have given their life to sin are unrestrained, and continue committing even more sin.
Paul then asks, ". . . what fruit does sin have in your life?" One must confess the things they are now ashamed of, knowing the end of these sins will produce death in their life. If people could only see and understand how sin changes their whole life, their appearance, and their relationships; then, perhaps, they would tire of their sin, and become free, and turn back to God and righteousness and the fruit of holiness, and earn for themselves everlasting life. What a difference these could make in this world. Paul summed up the whole matter of man's duty before God:
"For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our lord." Romans 6:23
There are only two choices man has to make: he will either continue in his sin which will bring forth death, or he will turn back to God and receive eternal life through Jesus Christ. The only conclusion we can then come to is, "We must deal with the sin in our life and become true servants of God. It is only then that we can expect everlasting life."
We can learn much from the Old Testament. Moses quoted the words he heard from God, and the same is true today.
"See I have set before thee this day life and good, and death and evil." Deuteronomy 30:15
God has set before each of us life and death, good and evil. Every morning is a new day in which we have choices to make for that day. Will we choose God's way which leads to life and good - - - or will we choose to follow evil which will lead to death? Perhaps not the death of the body, but certainly the death of the soul and the spirit. Moses continues his declaration:
"I call to heaven and earth to record this day against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing: therefore choose life, that both thou and thy seed may live." Deuteronomy 30:19
God records the choices we make every day. He has not only set life and death before us, He has also set blessings and cursings. If we choose the way of life, God will bless us. But if we choose the way of death, then we will suffer God's curses. These two choices not only govern our own lives, but also our children's lives. If we choose God's way and live His way, then our children too will be blessed. But if we choose the way of death, then our children will suffer the same experiences. Again we look to the Old Testament and the wisdom of Solomon:
"As righteousness tendeth to life: so he that pursueth evil pursueth it to his own death." Proverbs 11:19
Those who live righteously tendeth to life. The phrase tendeth to life means "reviving, as the springtime flowing of fresh water." Those who live righteously do not labor with the things of the flesh, because they allow God to handle their grief and disappointments. They do not fall under situations, they rise above them. Those who pursue evil, pursue it until it finally kills them. We witness this with people who commit a simple crime or a little adultery. They never stop thinking they can always get away with it. They end up losing everything, sometimes even their life - - - and they always loose their self-respect and their honor. Solomon continues his words of wisdom:
"Death and life are in the power of the tongue: and they that love it shall eat the fruit thereof." Proverbs 18:21
Life and death are in the power of the tongue. We can choose to speak words of life, or we can choose to speak words of death. The fruit of our words are what they produce. And we will consume the fruit our words produce. The words we speak are very important. The apostle James informs us:
"Even so the tongue is a little member, and boasteth great things. Behold, how great a matter a little fire kindleth! And the tongue is a fire, a world of iniquity: so is the tongue among our members, that it defileth the whole body, and setteth on fire the course of nature; and it is set on fire of hell." James 3:5-6
When our mouths boast of great things, we are only fooling ourselves. When we glorify the flesh, we are raising the flesh above God. And the fire we kindle with our tongue cannot be extinguished. It is a world of iniquity (unrighteousness of heart and life). Our tongue can defile our whole body. It is set on fire of hell or Gehenna. Gehenna is a place south of Jerusalem where the filth and dead animals were burned. It has become the symbol of God's final judgment of man. James informs us that every kind of beast and bird has been tamed by man, but . . .
". . . the tongue can no man tame; it is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison." James 3:8
The tongue can only be tamed when we turn it over to the Holy Spirit and His control. We need to speak as our example spoke. Jesus declared, "I only say what I hear My Father saying, and I only do as I see My Father doing." When we turn our mouth over to the Holy Spirit, then we will speak words of life, and righteousness will rule in everything we do. Jesus has given us a very precious promise through the pen of John:
Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth My Word, and believeth on Him that sent Me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life." John 5:24
Those who hear the words Jesus spoke, and do His words, and believe on the one who sent Him will receive everlasting life. That is why God created man. It was so He could have a people who will live in His presence for all eternity. Those who hear His words and do them will not come into condemnation, but will pass from death unto life. These are those whom the psalmist David revealed in his twenty-third Psalm:
"Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life: and I will dwell in the house of the Lord for ever." Psalm 23:6
Those who hear God's words and do them will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. This is the eternal life God has promised from the beginning. God has made many great and wonderful promises to His creation man. Jesus also shows us His wonderment through the pen of Luke:
"And why call ye Me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?" Luke 6:46
This is a question each of us who are called by His name should also ask ourselves. The name Lord means "supreme in authority." Are you ready to make the Lord supreme in authority in everything you do and say? This is our whole duty to Him.
When we stand before the Lord in judgment many will declare:
" . . . We have eaten and drunk in Thy presence, and Thou hast taught in our streets." Luke 13:26
Those who have not followed God's Word to the letter will declare, "We have eaten and drunk in thy presence." These declare, "We have taken your communion. We have taught you in our streets. Why, then, are we not acceptable in Your sight?" What will be the words these will hear from the Lord?
"But He shall say, I tell you, I know you not whence ye are; depart from Me, all ye workers of iniquity." Luke 13:27
What a pronouncement! I know you not. Depart from Me all ye workers of iniquity (ye workers of unrighteousness). I know ye not.
Then Luke continues to record Jesus' words:
"There shall be weeping and gnashing of teeth, when ye shall see Abraham, and Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets, in the Kingdom of God, and you yourselves thrust out." Luke 13:28
Those who cry, Lord, Lord, but do not do as He directs in His Word will weep and gnash their teeth in the coming day of wrath, when they realize they have missed Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and all the prophets in the Kingdom of God sitting down at the great marriage supper of the Lamb. Paul wrote to Timothy about those who will miss the Kingdom:
"Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;" I Timothy 4:1
What religion forbids their priests to marry or to eat meats on certain days? Yet, these are not all who have been taken over by seducing spirits. One of the biggest users of seducing spirits is the Moslem religion. These claim they are the only religion, and everyone who is not a Moslem is an unbeliever, and it becomes their duty to eliminate all these unbelievers. These are those who are taught terrorism from childhood, and that it is an honor in their religion to become a suicide bomber to kill as many unbelievers as they can. They are promised a place in heaven surrounded by many beautiful virgins. There is no love taught in their religion. Their children are taught from birth this is their duty to their god.
Those who follow the teachings of Christ are taught, instead, to love their neighbors, to love their enemies, and to love themselves. Those who are called by the name of Christ need to know they have God's wonderful Word to stand on. And as Paul wrote to the Ephesians:
"That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive:" Ephesians 4:14
Today, many are blown about by every wind of strange doctrine. The only way to deal with those who lie in wait to deceive, is to be armed with the Word of God. Only then are we able to turn away every false doctrine. Only the words of God can turn away these deceivers.
God desires His people to be healthy, happy, and full of life, - - - His life. Solomon, David's son, sought happiness in many ways. He married many women. He had a multitude of concubines. He built many buildings, lived in palaces, and had all the great wealth of the world. But even with all this he could not find true happiness. Solomon finally came to the conclusion:
"A merry heart doeth good like a medicine: but a broken spirit drieth the bones." Proverbs 17:22
A merry (joyful, rejoicing) heart does a person good like a medicine to his soul, but a broken or wounded spirit causes great misery to the bones, (his innermost being). Those in this sad state have lost their will or reason for living. They come to the sad conclusion that death is their only way out of their miserable condition. Solomon continues his revelation:
"A merry heart maketh a cheerful countenance: but by sorrow of the heart the spirit is broken." Proverbs 15:13
A merry heart can be seen on a person's face when they are walking close to the Lord. You can also see the opposite on a person's face that has sorrow of heart and a broken spirit. Solomon knew the difference between a merry heart and a broken spirit. His own broken spirit is revealed in the book of Ecclesiastes when he declared that all he had achieved was only vanity and vexation of spirit. Solomon began his writings:
"Vanity of vanities, saith the Preacher, vanity of vanities: all is vanity." Ecclesiastes 1:2
The word vanity means "vain." It also has the meaning of "vapor or breath." The word breath has the meaning of "life." So vanity speaks of living a vain life, or life itself. Solomon's whole life was summed up by the word vanity. He used his wisdom and knowledge to corrupt his life. But his wisdom showed through in what he wrote. Again he writes:
"Heaviness in the heart of man maketh it stoop;" but a good word maketh it glad." Proverbs 12:25
Solomon must have had a heavy heart many times, even when he had obtained all the success and wealth any man could imagine. But as he put it in his own words, all was vanity. Yet man will never learn. Today we have those who are seeking wealth, recognition, and success. And when they accumulate vast amounts of money and their name becomes a household word, they generally find their life is one of loneliness and bitterness. One thing we know for sure is, when the sun goes down, and the lights are turned off, every man and woman has to face themselves. Were they proud of what they had accomplished that day, or did they lay down in sorrow?
As Solomon revealed, heaviness of heart makes a man stoop. The word stoop means "to bow down, to do obeisance to their god." If the god sthey served that day were the gods of greed, lust, and deception, then their hearts would be heavy when they faced themselves. Solomon goes on to explain what will become of those who live their lives as if they were promised tomorrow:
"For the living know that they shall die: but the dead know not any thing, neither have they any more a reward; for the memory of them is forgotten. Also their love, and their hatred, and their envy, is now perished; neither have they any more a portion for ever in any thing that is done under the sun." Ecclesiastes 9:5-6
Every person on earth knows that they will die, but once they go to the grave, they know nothing. They cannot receive a reward and the memory of them is forgotten. All their love, their hatred, and their envy perishes. All they have accumulated in this life, cannot be taken with them. They no longer have place or portion in this life; or anything that is done on this earth. Solomon knew this finality of man. He knew because of this, man should do all he can to enjoy this life. He stated:
"Go thy way, eat thy bread with joy, and drink thy wine with a merry heart; for God now accepteth thy works. Ecclesiastes 9:7
Solomon knew the joy of a happy life, but he had lost it because of the lust in his heart for all the things of this life. Solomon stated a man should eat his bread with joy. This is because Solomon had so many at his table that he never had any privacy. He could not drink his wine with a merry heart because of all the responsibilities he had for all those he had to care for. Because of all this, Solomon proclaimed a great truth:
"Let thy garments be always white; and let thy head lack no ointment." Ecclesiastes 9:8
Solomon learned a great lesson in life, saying, "Let your garments be white." Solomon came to know the importance of righteousness, because he had lost his somewhere along the way. Then he stated, "Let thy head lack no ointment (anointing)." Again, Solomon came to know the importance of the anointing of God, because this, too, was something he had lost along the way. When we follow these simple ways of God, then our works will be accepted in His sight. Solomon continued to share with the people how to enjoy life:
"Live joyfully with the wife whom thou lovest all the days of the life of thy vanity, which he hath given thee under the sun, all the days of thy vanity: for that is thy portion in this life, and in thy labour which thou takest under the sun." Ecclesiastes 9:9
Solomon said to live joyfully with thy wife. The word wife in this verse is singular. Solomon knew the heartaches that a multitude of wives cause. It was recorded of Solomon's life:
"And he had seven hundred wives, princesses, and three hundred concubines: and his wives turned away his heart." I Kings 11:3
Again, in his extravagance, Solomon could never have enough of anything. This made his life miserable. Solomon knew one wife was enough for any man to love and care for. He also knew the heartache and misery seven hundred could cause a man; not to mention he had three hundred concubines, who further complicated his life. Solomon's whole life ended up in vanity and waste:
"Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do it with thy might; for there is no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest." Ecclesiastes 9:10
Solomon went down to his grave, a broken, unfulfilled, old man because the works of his hands were all vanity. Solomon's works were not his accomplishments - - - they were his burden. They were all brought to pass by hired and forced labor. Even the temple he built in the name of the Lord was done with forced labor.
Solomon knew that no work, no desire, no knowledge, no wisdom would ever go to the grave with any one. Solomon wrote about a merry heart in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes, but today there are few merry hearts in the world. All we see is wrinkled brows, worried faces, and anguished looks. Men's hearts are failing them for fear when they see what is coming upon the earth, Luke 21:16.
Jesus, in His foreknowledge of man, knew in the last days before His return to set up His Kingdom, that man would forget their duty to God, and look to the temporal governments of the earth for their help. And when those governments fail them, they will know their only hope is gone, because they have rejected God and looked to the arm of flesh which will always fail them.
In the beginning of this nation, man depended totally on God. Because of this, the people and this nation prospered. At that time, man looked to the church because it was strong and righteous. But as the years went by, people began to look to government for their help instead of God. They found, too late, that the government's whole purpose was to enslave them. Their only hope was to turn back to God, and look to Him and His Word. In the progress of time, these affairs have not as yet come full circle to completion. But it is well on its way.
When the people who know God's Word begin to stand on His Word and apply it everyday to their lives, then they will be the overcomers in this life. These are those whom God declares will be the inheritors of all things, Revelation 21:7.
Although Solomon made many foolish decisions in his life, his words of wisdom are not any less true. Solomon made a promise to all those who live righteously:
"For God giveth to a man that is good in His sight wisdom, and knowlege, and joy: but to the sinner he giveth travail, to gather and to heap up, that he may give to him that is good before God. This also is vanity and vexation of spirit." Ecclesiastes 2:26
God gives to the man who is good in His eyes, wisdom, knowledge, and joy. But it is the sinner's lot in life to gather and heap up that he may give to him that is good before God. This is vanity and vexation to the sinner.
As we view man's whole duty to God, it is easy to see God has one plan for the righteous, and another plan for those have forsaken His gift of life. Peter, who was given the keys to the Kingdom, gives us insight to the will of God:
"The Lord is not slack concerning His promise, as some men count slackness; but is longsuffering to us-ward, not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance." II Peter 3:9
God's promises were made to all mankind, and God is not willing to see anyone of His creation perish. But if a person rejects God's ways, then the choice to perish falls upon his own shoulders. God would rather each man and woman would come to a place of repentance, but if they choose to live their lives to please their own flesh, then God's promises mean nothing to them. Solomon, in all his wisdom, came to one conclusion:
"Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God, and keep His commandments: for this is the whole duty of man. For God shall bring every work into judgment, with every secret thing, whether it be good, or whether it be evil." Ecclesiastes 12:13-14
To fear God and keep His commandments (His Word) is the whole duty God has set before us. And there is a Day of Judgment coming when every man's works will be judged by God Almighty. If our works are good, then the righteous will enjoy eternal life. But if our works are found to be evil, then we will be destroyed in the burning Lake of Fire. As Solomon stated, there will be no more remembrance of that man.
God is going to judge us by every word that proceeds from our mouths. Did we speak words of life, which will bring blessings, or did we speak words of death, which will bring cursing? Once we know and understand our whole duty to God, then we will stand before Him without excuse on that grand and glorious Day of Judgment. Praise the Lord!
Related books by George Kirkpatrick
Love Thy Neighbor
God's Progressive Gift
How Are We To Possess Our Vessels
Think On These Things
The Kingdom Within