(Proverbs 13:6 KJV) Righteousness keepeth him that is upright in the way: but wickedness overthroweth the sinner.
A constant message of the Bible is to behave properly, with “righteousness” (6666). If it is impossible to live a righteous life, this verse is empty poetry. The fact that demands for righteousness occur so often stresses that it is possible and it is vital. Don’t brush this demand off with quoting about “righteousness being as filthy rags.” Maybe so, but it is demanded. God must have known that modern theologians would deny righteousness, so He kept bringing it up.
The proper behavior “keepeth” (guards NASB) (5341) us. How? This can be from the actual holiness in us. It can be like a positive flow that keeps evil from entering. Again we have an idea that is hard for some to accept because of their theological paradigm. But think about the OT talking about a new heart and all of the promises of the Spirit. Think about the change in the disciples after Pentecost.
This can also be the result of holy habits. When we pattern our lives a certain way we automatically respond without having to make conscious choices. These habits can be good or bad. Good habits protect us in those moments that we do not have time to plan.
We can act “upright” (blameless NASB) (8537). Isn’t that what it says? I am not going to try to sell a bridge to you and claim to be perfect, but the word seems to say that we can be without blame. We know this is through grace and the blood, but sooner or later it involves our obedience.
Jesus said that evil comes from our hearts. Here it is this inner “wickedness” (7564) that works to “overthrow” (subvert NASB) (5557) one who is already a “sinner” (2403b). Could this wickedness be another expression of original sin or the carnal nature?
So? Make sure that you have taken the initial steps of repentance. Seek the fulness of the Spirit. Apply the gifts. Expect to grow and for you life to reflect righteousness.