A Thin Line Between Friends And Snakes

Recently I read a story about a church that promised a sort of tithe of reparations for some sort of imaginary wrongs as a way of appealing to the woke, perhaps as an attempt to evangelize to them.  Politics has long provided problems for believers, and for predictable reasons, even though these problems repeatedly come up over and over again.  Among the problems include the fact that just about everything that people do or do not do can become political, and so what strikes some people as a modest request for others to make peace can be intolerably political and hostile to someone else.  To the extent that a given group might desire to blend in with society, that becomes increasingly difficult when the cost of blending in becomes unacceptably high to the point of betraying one’s ideals and beliefs.  Likewise, what some might demand as minimum concessions to contemporary views will be viewed as others as being too far to accept, meaning that the politicization of life offers an obvious threat to schism because of the fierce pressures that exist from all sides.

Throughout the Bible and history there have always been times where politics took a large importance, and these times were generally very dangerous ones.  The decision of the midwives of Moses’ day to refuse to kill Hebrew boys was a political one that made them enemies of the Pharaoh and his state.  The refusal of Daniel’s friends to bow down to Nebuchadnezzar’s graven image led them to be thrown into the furnace as rebels.  Jesus Christ Himself was crucified for the crime of treason, setting up an alternative kingdom to that of Caesar, even if that kingdom was and remains “not of this world.”  John the Baptist himself was imprisoned and then executed because he applied biblical standards of morality with regards to adultery, divorce, and remarriage to an Idueman kinglet, Herod Antipas.  Less than six decades or so it was against the law in the United States for white and black brethren to fellowship together, something my family happens to have dealt with in our own accidental way.  In contemporary days, obvious truths about the need for all people to become grafted into Israel to enter into God’s family as well as behave according to the standards of biblical law are widely viewed as being bigoted in several ways.  The corrupt ways of the world have always been hostile to God’s ways and to preach and practice God’s ways is to make oneself an enemy of a corrupt state that views itself as the ultimate authority and does not tolerate rebuke and correction from others.  If it is wise to make no unnecessary enemies, and it is, there are all too many necessary enemies that one makes without trying to or wishing to simply by being godly and open about it.

It remains of vital importance, in whatever place or age we find ourselves in, to recognize that politics will not save us, as much as one might wish it otherwise, and also that one’s beliefs have inevitable political ramifications.  A belief that all peoples have the potential to repent, receive God’s adoption through the giving of the Holy Spirit, and to enter into God’s family makes any kind of sexism, classism, or racism logically untenable.  That does not mean some people, many people, fail to recognize the implications of their faith, but those implications exist nonetheless.  Paul, in Galatians 3, makes those implications obvious because sometimes the obvious needs to be spelled out to us.  To be godly requires that we take responsibility for our own sins and repent for them, and that we reflect upon the inheritance we have received from our fathers and mothers, and it also requires that we refrain from taking advantage of others.  These are not easy tasks, but they are certainly possible when our goal is to be just and not to look just to the flawed and corrupt society that is around us that does not define terms as God does.  Ultimately, God will be our judge, not the irrational mob around us, and seeking approval from the ungodly will only bring trouble upon us.  It is not our job to appeal to the corrupt ways of the present evil world.  It is our job to model the godly ways of the Kingdom of God to a world that has little knowledge and less tolerance for righteousness, self-restraint, and an ability to distinguish between good and evil [1].  Let us do that job, and do it well, for there are few who are even aware that such a job needs to be done, much less motivated to go out and act accordingly.

[1] It should be noted that this is not any new thing.  Of Paul it is said in Acts 24:24-27:  “And after some days, when Felix came with his wife Drusilla, who was Jewish, he sent for Paul and heard him concerning the faith in Christ.  Now as he reasoned about righteousness, self-control, and the judgment to come, Felix was afraid and answered, “Go away for now; when I have a convenient time I will call for you.”  Meanwhile he also hoped that money would be given him by Paul, that he might release him. Therefore he sent for him more often and conversed with him.  But after two years Porcius Festus succeeded Felix; and Felix, wanting to do the Jews a favor, left Paul bound.”  Here we see that the Roman governor Felix was corrupt, looking for a bribe from Paul to be set free from his unjust imprisonment, and that Paul’s message to him focused on those elements where Felix’s life fell short in righteousness, self-control, and a realization of the reality of the judgement to come, all aspects that are similarly problematic in our own corrupt contemporary age.

About nathanalbright

I'm a person with diverse interests who loves to read. If you want to know something about me, just ask.
This entry was posted in Bible, Biblical History, Christianity, Church of God, History, Musings and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

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