Integrity is defined in the Oxford Dictionary as “wholeness, soundness, uprightness, honesty”. The related word “integer” means a “whole number, undivided quantity”. It is a word found sixteen times in the AV, and in all instances it is in the Old Testament. From the idea of wholeness and completeness in a physical sense has come the moral concept of integrity, where character is complete and “perfect”, and in the highest sense, in accordance with the standards of God. Abimelech protested his “integrity” to God when defending himself for having taken Sarah (Gen 20:5, 6). The word is used by God of David (1 Kings 9:4); also by David of himself (Psa 7:8; 25:21; 26:1, 11; 41:12; cp Psa 78:72, by Asaph of David). Amongst other moral excellencies, it is used of Job (2:3, 9; 27:5; 31:6), and also of the upright (Prov 11:3; 19:1; 20:7). It is a quality of character we should be striving to attain and emulate. Christ is the supreme example and his character was complete in his Father’s eyes in every respect. There were no faults, weaknesses or failures.

In his discourse on the mount (Matthew 5–7) Jesus pronounced blessedness and reward upon the components of the “complete” character. The culminating beatitude, “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God”, challenges all disciples. Our characters have to be unalloyed. Our actions and words have to spring from pure motives in which God’s will is the governing force. We need to “know what the will of God is” in all the circumstances of our lives so we can do it. This is no mean challenge and it requires determination, conviction and a love for God’s ways. Our God is more than the omnipotent Creator, He is a moral Being as well. Like Jesus we must have both a love for righteousness and a hatred for iniquity (Psa 45:7). We need to realise that ultimately only what is in harmony with God’s will, will continue. All else will vanish forever. If only we truly realized this we would change our ways and lead more profitable lives.

We have to scrutinize our lives. The daily reading of the Word of God both sets before us what is right, and acts as a mirror, highlighting where we fall short. But its purging influence is only going to be effective if we believe it, cherish it, love it and accept it as God’s inspired Word. “The law of Yahweh is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of Yahweh is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of Yahweh are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of Yahweh is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of Yahweh is clean, enduring forever; the judgments of Yahweh are true and righteous altogether. Moreover by them is thy servant warned: and in keeping them there is great reward” (Psa 19:7–9, 11).

It is not sufficient for us to walk in Christ’s steps only when in suits us. At all times and in all circumstances we have to be examples of and followers of Christ. He is the pattern. Integrity implies genuineness, and freedom from hypocrisy and double standards. We have to be true and consistent with our calling. Being a Christadelphian, a brother or sister of Christ is the highest calling one can profess. Those we have to do with in the world will carefully observe how we live, behave, and react in all situations. It may afford them some relief and even pleasure if we fail to live up to our profession. The Lord said that “a city set on an hill cannot be hid”. Our calling has elevated us and we must strive for consistency and integrity. It is not sufficient to know the doctrines of the Truth, important as that is. This may even bring condemnation upon us if our dealings with our fellows are contrary to the Lord’s teaching. In the workplace, at home or in the ecclesia, we have to speak and act as Christ would have us. We must be sensitive to others, and be aware of how our words and deeds are impacting on them. Remember, we have to live as Christ lived! His ways must be reflected and replicated in ours. We must ask ourselves how he would respond in this situation. It helps, too, if we remember that God sees all: “all things”, even the thoughts and the intents of our hearts “are naked and open unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do.” Jesus “set Yahweh always before him” (Psa 16:8), and so was able to walk with God. We cannot hide from God.

So there is a great need for Christ’s brethren to always do the right thing, to act with integrity, even under stress, and even if it involves pain and loss for the present. Jesus pronounced a blessing on those who hungered and thirsted after righteousness. We must have this insatiable longing to do what is just and right.

Remember that we must all, and soon, appear before the judgment seat of Christ to give an account of our stewardship, and to be judged according to our ways. Oh, that we might be in the presence of our Lord with joy, and love that casts out fear. How we shall in fact feel when he appears will be determined by whether we live lives of integrity now.

“The integrity of the upright shall guide them: but the perverseness of transgression shall destroy them” (Prov 11:3).