Times change. People change. Values change. WE know this. We are living in an era with a pace of change that the world has never seen before.
When I look back on my childhood, I can think of things we simply knew were true. There were no questions. Yet, in our culture today, we find groups struggling with or flat denying simple truths that we all knew from childhood. What has happened? Has the truth changed? Or have the values of the nation changed?
Psalm 119:142–144 (ESV)
142 Your righteousness is righteous forever,
and your law is true.
143 Trouble and anguish have found me out,
but your commandments are my delight.
144 Your testimonies are righteous forever;
give me understanding that I may live.
In Psalm 119, God has given us 176 verses that point us to the praise of the Lord and his word. Here, as I near the end of reading through this glorious text, I find two verses that use the word “forever.” And those verses are helpful to me as I look at our land’s ever-changing value system.
In verse 142, we read that God’s righteousness is righteous forever. In 144, we see that God’s testimonies, his holy words, are righteous forever. Ask yourself how important it is to know that God’s righteousness and God’s word are righteous forever?
God’s righteousness is righteous forever. This tells us that God’s thoughts and actions regarding what is right are always and forever right. They do not change with the times. Regardless of how much a society may turn values on their heads, God’s righteousness has no part of change in it. No matter what the media says, or the polling data declares, God determines what righteousness is and that determination has not changed from the dawn of time.
Similarly, God’s testimonies are righteous forever. Not only is it true that God in himself and his character is righteous forever, his word, his holy Scripture, his written down revelation of himself is righteous forever. The Bible is righteous forever. No matter what changes in society, the Bible is true and righteous altogether. There is no part of rightly applied Scripture that becomes irrelevant to the people of God. Yes, parts are fulfilled in the coming of Christ. But no parts pass away until all is fulfilled. And as the word of God stands forever, so too does it stand as righteous forever.
So, yes, society changes. The values of people change. But the values of God do not change. If God says that something is true and right, then it is true and right today. If God declares something to be unacceptable for his church in the first century, that thing is unacceptable for his church in the 21st century. While we might understand that some things are purely applicable to a local culture—people do not greet with a kiss in every culture—sin and righteousness have not changed and will not change forever.