Let us begin with describing the purpose of this truly unique book, and the very practical value these proverbs bring to Christians who are walking in this fallen world. It is a collection of good advice, good common sense, or in other words, wisdom.  The Book of Proverbs does not really speak to salvation, in the way that the Gospels do; however, it can help us, through taking in this wisdom, not to make dreadful mistakes that will lead to ruin and much sadness. Proverbs 1:1-7 really brings out the purpose of the Proverbs: “The proverbs of Solomon the son of David, king of Israel; To know wisdom and instruction; to perceive the words of understanding; To receive the instruction of wisdom, justice, and judgment, and equity; To give subtilty to the simple, to the young man knowledge and discretion. A wise man will hear, and will increase learning; and a man of understanding shall attain unto wise counsels: To understand a proverb, and the interpretation; the words of the wise, and their dark sayings. The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction”.

Now, in Proverbs 31, I think we see a couple of principles in the first few verses that are so important for Christians to observe: first, the perils of sexual immorality, and secondly, the perils of much strong drink. These things have led to the downfall of so many, Christian and non-Christian alike. The final portion of chapter 31 describes the virtuous woman, and her compelling attributes. This is truly an example to us in how a godly wife who follows the wisdom of God will act, and the value she brings to her family.

But now, I believe we want to remember that this book does not bring out salvation, but rather godly wisdom to help direct our lives. The truth is that none of us live up to the high standards of God’s Law: “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus…” (Romans 3:23-24).

We are all sinners, both by nature and by choice, and we all come short of God’s high standard. Because of this, we are all guilty of breaking God’s law, and are all subject to the penalty of death, which is the consequence of sin. Going on in Romans 6:23 we read, “For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.“ This is the Gospel—we are sinners, lost and ruined, with no hope of deliverance; but God loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins. Thus, through faith in the finished work of the Lord Jesus at Calvary, we are saved, forgiven, and “born again”.

But now, even after being saved, we do still have the old nature, and though it is not expected of us, we do sometimes sin. So, what then?  Are we then to come under the penalty of the law once again? Not at all! We read in 1 John 1:8-9, “If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”

So, we are not saved by our good actions or works of the law, and this we clearly see in Ephesians 2:8-9 and in Titus 3:5. I would declare to you that when we believe, we are for sure changed…we are born again, and a new nature, a heavenly one, is placed within us through the working of the Holy Spirit. This is true whether we feel “holy” or not. This means we are “born again”, and we read about this in John 3:5-6, “Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Again, we read in 1 Peter 1:23, “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever”.

So, if you have believed on the Lord Jesus Christ and have trusted in Him for salvation, the Holy Spirit has entered you and you are born again with a new nature. I think the difficulty comes in, though, in that while we are yet on this earth, we do still have the old nature.  Thus, when we compare ourselves to God’s standard, or indeed, to the godly wisdom put forth in Proverbs 31, we can feel discouraged and weighed down by our shortcomings. Indeed, we should feel the need to repent of those things. And when we do, there is Grace to forgive us and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness! You asked whether you are unholy or must feel ashamed, and the answer is that you need not. God, when you have repented forgives you and does not remember your sins anymore. The great apostle Paul had sinned egregiously before he was saved on the Damascus road, and he was very aware of this all the rest of his life. But he was also aware that he was now a new creation in Christ Jesus, and he need not be weighed down by these past sins any longer. We read in 1 Timothy 1:15-16, “This is a faithful saying, and worthy of all acceptation, that Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners; of whom I am chief. Howbeit for this cause I obtained mercy, that in me first Jesus Christ might shew forth all longsuffering, for a pattern to them which should hereafter believe on Him to life everlasting.”

We too, when we believe on Christ Jesus are forgiven, are redeemed, and we are cleansed. Consider the encouraging words of Psalm 103:3-4, “Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases; Who redeemeth thy life from destruction; who crowneth thee with lovingkindness and tender mercies….”  Then again in Psalm 103:12-14,  “As far as the east is from the west, so far hath He removed our transgressions from us. Like as a father pitieth his children, so the LORD pitieth them that fear Him. For He knoweth our frame; He remembereth that we are dust”.

My dear friend, are you born again? If not, I would pray that you believe on the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation this very minute. If you are saved but weighed down by past sins, then remember the finished work of Christ and His love for you. Repent and ask forgiveness, and He will hear you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. And, consider the words of Paul from God’s Word,“Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new,” (2 Corinthians 5: 17).  (438.1)  (SF)