On the Extent of Genuine Religion
Micah 6:8
He has showed you, O man, what is good; and what does the LORD require of you, but to do justly, and to love mercy…

Most commonly the Scriptures press upon us, in the first instance, that supreme and affectionate faith towards God and Christ, which is the foundation of every Christian virtue. And then proceed to inculcate those pure principles, those holy tempers, and those good works which genuine faith in God and Christ will necessarily produce. Sometimes, however, solicitous to recommend the tree by a reference to the excellence of the fruit, they specify works in the outset; and then direct our views to that faith from which every acceptable work is to spring. Love to God and our Redeemer, whether mentioned first or last, must be the fountain from which every human duty is derived. Christ is the cornerstone of the belief and the practice of a Christian. Explain the different branches of human duty according to the order in which they are arranged by the prophet.

I. "HE HATH SHOWED THEE, O MAN, WHAT IS GOOD." So clearly hath God made known whatever is necessary to salvation, that they who attain not salvation shall stand without excuse. In the breast of every man God hath implanted a natural conscience. And He has given us His written Word. On every man He bestows power to attain eternal life. He ensures to every faithful suppliant the all-sufficient influence of His Holy Spirit, not only that it may enlighten the mind to understand the Scriptures,. but may also give grace to obey them. And He commands His ministers to preach the Gospel throughout the world to every creature. Then if you know not your duty, it is because you will not know it. If you perish through ignorance, it is because you prefer ignorance to understanding.


1. You must do justly. You must be just in every part of every one of your proceedings. You must render to every man, cheerfully, and without delay, that which belongs to him. This rule obliges you —

(1) On all occasions to speak the truth. For a lie is not only a breach of your duty to God, but is also a breach of your duty to your neighbour.

(2) To be a faithful subject to the king: to submit to all who are entitled to authority over you.

(3) To keep from injuring the person and restraining the liberty of your neighbour.

(4) To avoid in any way injuring your neighbour's property. And the methods in which this may be done are numberless.

2. You are to "love mercy." Mercy signifies Christian charity in its largest sense. It includes everything which we mean by affection, benevolence, kindness, tenderness, mildness, meekness, patience, forgiveness; and by every other expression which implies goodwill to men. Observe the difference of the terms in which God requires of us first justice then mercy. We are to do justly; we are to love mercy. Justice admits of no degrees. If we are not perfectly just, we are unjust. But mercy is in its own nature capable of gradations. One person may be more merciful than another. Thou shalt love mercy then. Thy heart shall be constantly set on deeds of mercy, they shall be thy study; they shall be a delight unto thee.

3. You are to "walk humbly with God." To walk with God signifies to be a faithful and zealous servant of God. We are to bring our whole hearts, as well as our actions, into subjection to the Divine will. Are you in prosperity? Walk humbly with your God. Let the Giver be glorified in His gifts. Are you in distress? Walk humbly with your God. Evidently then, to the Jew and to the Christian, the sum and substance of religion have ever been the same.

(Thomas Gisborne, M. A.)

Parallel Verses
KJV: He hath shewed thee, O man, what is good; and what doth the LORD require of thee, but to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God?

WEB: He has shown you, O man, what is good. What does Yahweh require of you, but to act justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

Of Walking Humbly with God
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