“And the work of righteousness shall be peace;
and the effect of righteousness quietness and assurance for ever”
This verse is one of those super meaty ones that you can look at and examine yourself to see “if ye be in the faith.”
Let’s just break down each word and see how much meat is inside.
Essentially, the work and effect and speaking are of the same idea yet when applied to the rest of the text, have slightly different thoughts.
Work – You could say the result of righteousness; the main thought of work is the product…what righteousness produces in the believer. Specifically, the way the word is used it would refer to the product as a poem.
What is a poem? An artistic expression of something that has been experienced. An excellent poem is experienced because of the one who writes it. In a sense, righteousness is poetry that God has written BY CHRIST into the believer’s heart! In other words, what righteousness yields in us is so good, so moving, that it’s like the best poem ever written displayed in our soul.
We have a lot of proof for this; have you read the Psalms? Experiences into poetry.
Of righteousness – this is the righteousness of the believer mentioned over 136 times in the Word.
Peace – the experience of that poem in our life is rendered in the soul as tranquility, or contentment…or remember this one, we’ll talk about it in a minute…an at-ease disposition.
And the effect – Again, similar to the word used for work but here it is more of a service than a product…That’s all that something laboring can offer: a product or a service. The same use of this word is found in II Chronicles 35:16…what I want you to see is that it is a service BECAUSE OF and FOR and THROUGH Christ.
The effect of righteousness that we will see is wrought IN US for the Lord’s glory!
[Of righteousness] quietness – This quietness isn’t not saying anything. In fact, we know by the Great Commission that we should be some of the most talkative people out there!
No, this is to show an inner stillness of the soul, a calm, the Bible calls it a peace that passes all understanding!
Psalm 76:8 – (still) it is the effect of righteousness that causes reverence yielding a stillness and quietness of the soul!
And assurance – WOW! This is the best part! This is the same word used in Psalm 78:53…Righteousness’ effect is compared to the safety and security the Lord afforded the children of Israel as they escaped the hand and wrath of Pharaoh while passing through the red sea!
The word originates from a Hebrew one meaning place of refuge, safety, confidence, or to be care-free. Truly, if we are in Christ, we are called to hate our lives, that is to be carefree, knowing God will supply all our needs.
There is a great security in the righteousness of Christ given to us, as well as the righteousness we work out in sanctification – as they are both means of assurance like the verse says, one of eternity, the other that we are in the faith. Faith produces works!
For ever – Literally, this means until eternity, which never ends!
But the picture behind this for ever is ‘until the vanishing point.’ Like the horizon where land meets the sky. You know there’s more, though it’s not visible at the moment and it never ends.
So to pull it all together without doing harm to the Scriptures,
“And the product of righteousness shall be a poetically, at-ease contentment with God, and the service of righteousness, a stillness of the soul caused by reverence and a care-free security in the Lord for eternity!”
Only can the Holy Spirit bring something like this about in the believer.
It’s interesting to note that this verse calls the results of righteousness in the believer an at-ease disposition and a care-free trust. God speaks of this a bit in the verses prior, like verse 9.
These women are at ease and careless but God says they will be troubled, they will lament. Notice, then it says ‘until the spirit be poured out from on high.’ I believe He is very precisely confirming two things for us, today.
That only His Holy Spirit can work righteousness in us through Christ’s blood and righteousness.
That when we lack these things in our life, and we know when we do, that we have obviously surrendered ourselves over to the flesh. If you’re not at ease, if you’re careless instead of care-free, take heed.
I dare say, you can work some righteousness on your own, as a believer, but if it doesn’t produce these things in your soul, it is ALL of you. When we allow Him to work in us and through us is when we will see righteousness manifesting these things in our life.
It’s how we endure, we press on, we can rejoice always.
Let us strive for a righteous, holy life that we might experience these more and draw closer to Him.