Have you ever been in a conversation with someone about morality and when you brought up the law of God you hit a wall? Have you ever tried to help someone understand the validity of the law concerning homosexuality and they bring up Leviticus 18 and remind you that in that very chapter where Homosexuality is called an abomination that God prohibits the eating of shellfish? How do you harmonize and prove from scripture what you know in your spirit? Hopefully this blog will help give some clarity. Contained here is from sermon notes as we've been walking through the whole of scripture in a year and this week we found ourselves in Deuteronomy(second law), specifically chapter 25 verses 1-4.
25 “If there is a dispute between men and they go to [a]court, and [b]the judges decide their case, and they justify the righteous and condemn the wicked, 2 then it shall be if the wicked man [c]deserves to be beaten, the judge shall then make him lie down and be beaten in his presence with the number of stripes according to his [d]guilt. 3 He may beat him forty times but no more, so that he does not beat him with many more stripes than these and your brother is not degraded in your eyes. 4 “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.
As we journey together through the scriptures we find ourselves over the past week deep in the law of God here in Deuteronomy! As we said last week, Deuteronomy means “second law,” not in addition too but reiterated. Here in Deuteronomy Moses reminds the Israelites of the Law of God in detail, declaring the standard that God requires of His creatures! I would argue that one of the most misunderstood aspects of the Christian faith has to be the relationship of the Law and the Gospel! What does the Law of God mean for us today? Is it binding? Is it abolished? Most Christians are very intimidated by such a conversation but in this blog I want us to walk through the conversation together because it’s vital to our moral foundation and Christian worldview.
If you’ve try to defend righteous living and morality, especially in this day of sexual perversion, you’ve probably heard an argument like this… “That same chapter that talks about homosexuality says not to eat shellfish. Do you eat shellfish?” Now, how many laymen, how many of you can give an answer that both defends the moral law as well as expresses Christian liberty. Most just live “knowing” that certain things are wrong and other commands are secondary or abrogated but how do you defend that Biblically? I hope to help you with that tonight!
When we think of the Law we must do so in a biblical, New Covenant way. The Old Testament concealed, the New Testament revealed! What is the Law? What is it’s purpose? What is its application? Many wrongly think that the law is abolished or abrogated completely in the New Testament which is untrue. Certain parts have an abiding validity! We serve now in newness of spirit and not in oldness of the letter. That’s what image Paul the Apostle gives in Romans 7 about our relationship to the law. We are not bound to it for righteousness or right standing before God because it is impossible for this sinful flesh to keep it. The Law viewed and applied in that way towards us sinners only brings death because our flesh cannot and will not keep it! We, therefore, crucify the flesh and walk in the spirit. We were saved unto good works that were foreordained from eternity that we should walk in them as we’re told in Ephesians 2. But what is good?
Paul says that the Law is our school master! It taught us our fleshly depravity but does that equate to an abandonment of it or an abolishment of it? Paul says, "God forbid!"
Paul continues in Romans 7……
7 What shall we say then? Is the Law sin? May it never be! On the contrary, I would not have come to know sin except [e]through the Law; for I would not have known about [f]coveting if the Law had not said, “You shall not [g]covet.” 8 But sin, taking opportunity through the commandment, produced in me [h]coveting of every kind; for apart [i]from the Law sin is dead. 9 I was once alive apart [j]from the Law; but when the commandment came, sin became alive and I died; 10 and this commandment, which was [k]to result in life, proved [l]to result in death for me; 11 for sin, taking an opportunity through the commandment, deceived me and through it killed me. 12 So then, the Law is holy, and the commandment is holy and righteous and good. 13 Therefore did that which is good become a cause of death for me? May it never be! Rather it was sin, in order that it might be shown to be sin by effecting my death through that which is good, so that through the commandment sin would become utterly sinful.
The Conflict of Two Natures
14 For we know that the Law is spiritual, but I am of flesh, sold [m]into bondage to sin. 15 For what I am doing, I do not understand; for I am not practicing what I would like to do, but I am doing the very thing I hate. 16 But if I do the very thing I do not want to do, I agree with the Law, confessing that the Law is good. 17 So now, no longer am I the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 18 For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not. 19 For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want. 20 But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me. 21 I find then the [n]principle that evil is present in me, the one who wants to do good. 22 For I joyfully concur with the law of God [o]in the inner man, 23 but I see a different law in [p]the members of my body, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner [q]of the law of sin which is in my members. 24 Wretched man that I am! Who will set me free from [r]the body of this death? 25 Thanks be to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law of sin.
Though the flesh rebels, that inner man, the spirit man, that regenerate man, he submits!
Deliverance from Bondage
8 Therefore there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. 2 For the law of the Spirit of life [a]in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death. 3 For what the Law could not do, [b]weak as it was through the flesh, God did: sending His own Son in the likeness of [c]sinful flesh and as an offering for sin, He condemned sin in the flesh, 4 so that the requirement of the Law might be fulfilled in us, who do not walk according to the flesh but according to the Spirit. 5 For those who are according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who are according to the Spirit, the things of the Spirit. 6 For the mind set on the flesh is death, but the mind set on the Spirit is life and peace, 7 because the mind set on the flesh is hostile toward God; for it does not subject itself to the law of God, for it is not even able to do so, 8 and those who are in the flesh cannot please God.
9 However, you are not in the flesh but in the Spirit, if indeed the Spirit of God dwells in you. But if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him. 10 If Christ is in you, though the body is dead because of sin, yet the spirit is [d]alive because of righteousness. 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies [e]through His Spirit who dwells in you.
12 So then, brethren, we are under obligation, not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh— 13 for if you are living according to the flesh, you [f]must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you have not received a spirit of slavery [g]leading to fear again, but you have received [h]a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” 16 The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, 17 and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.
We are not in bondage to the Law but the Law is in bondage to the spirit of resurrection!
31 Do we then nullify [a]the Law through faith? May it never be! On the contrary, we establish the Law.
17 “Do not think that I came to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I did not come to abolish but to fulfill.
The writer of Hebrews says that the Law was a shadow of the good things to come! So, if the law is a shadow and an image and a school master, then what is it showing? What is it teaching? In what way is it still abiding in validity?
2. The Law; In Substance!
From the scriptures we see that the Law is good and holy according to the apostle Paul! Jesus also affirms that the Law is good and that He is in no way abolishing it but fulfilling it!
He also makes this peculiar statement…..
19 Whoever then annuls one of the least of these commandments, and teaches [a]others to do the same, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but whoever [b]keeps and teaches them, he shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.
20 “For I say to you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will not enter the kingdom of heaven.
But we know that there were differences in application and abiding validity between the Hebrew nation of Israel, their Law, and the application of it to the New Testament believer, specifically Gentiles! For example, Peter was given a vision from God concerning clean and unclean animals and God gives the freedom to eat any animal, for all are now clean, so how do we harmonize these truths! We must understand the Law in its substance or essence. When we say "the Law" we typically mean all of the commandments from Exodus to Deuteronomy and so on but then when we get to Christ, he declares that ALL of the Law and Prophets hang upon the greatest commandment and the second like unto it, which is to love the Lord thy God with all our heart, soul, might, and mind and to love our neighbor as ourselves. But how do we do that? That is expressed farther in the Decalogue, the Ten Commandments. The first four are vertical, the greatest commandment, and the last six are horizontal, the second. With this we can say that all the commands of God flow forth from His glory, righteousness, holiness, majesty, and love which works itself out in our adoration for Him and those that bear His image!
From the Decalogue onward we must recognize the three-fold nature of the Mosaic Law. The moral law, the ceremonial law, and the civil law. The Moral Law is for all people and for all time! It consists of natural law and revelation and the Decalogue. We know this because though the Canaanites, the Hittites, and others who had never received special revelation from God concerning His law were held accountable to Him simply by natural law and were destroyed and spit out by the land because of their immorality, sexual perversions, abominations, irreverence, idolatry, and the like!
Israel Provoked God
9 “Hear, O Israel! You are crossing over the Jordan today to go in to dispossess nations greater and mightier than you, great cities [a]fortified to heaven, 2 a people great and tall, the sons of the Anakim, whom you know and of whom you have heard it said, ‘Who can stand before the sons of Anak?’ 3 Know therefore today that it is the Lord your God who is crossing over before you as a consuming fire. He will destroy them and He will subdue them before you, so that you may drive them out and destroy them quickly, just as the Lord has spoken to you.
4 “Do not say in your heart when the Lord your God has driven them out before [b]you, ‘Because of my righteousness the Lord has brought me in to possess this land,’ but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is dispossessing them before you. 5 It is not for your righteousness or for the uprightness of your heart that you are going to possess their land, but it is because of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord your God is driving them out before you, in order to confirm the [c]oath which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
24 ‘Do not defile yourselves by any of these things; for by all these the nations which I am casting out before you have become defiled. 25 For the land has become defiled, therefore I have brought its [a]punishment upon it, so the land has spewed out its inhabitants. 26 But as for you, you are to keep My statutes and My judgments and shall not do any of these abominations, neither the native, nor the alien who sojourns among you 27 (for the men of the land who have been before you have done all these abominations, and the land has become defiled); 28 so that the land will not spew you out, should you defile it, as it has spewed out the nation which has been before you. 29 For whoever does any of these abominations, [b]those persons who do so shall be cut off from among their people. 30 Thus you are to keep My charge, that you do not practice any of the abominable customs which have been practiced before you, so as not to defile yourselves with them; I am the Lord your God.’”
Next, we have the ceremonial law. The ceremonial law consists of all the laws applied to the tabernacle, the sacrificial system, and the priesthood. These laws were fulfilled in Christ as priest, prophet, king, and sacrifice! We vicariously keep this law through the very righteousness of Christ applied to us through his substitutionary atonement at Calvary! As well, when we worship the Lord of Glory on the Lord’s day and partake of the sacraments we fulfill them in the image they bear, the work of Christ!
Lastly, we have the civil and judicial law of Israel. These were the laws that were put forth to draw a distinct line of separation between God’s people, the nation of Israel, and the Pagan nations surrounding them. The civil laws of separation were for Israel in that time and are not valid today except through general equity, what was the essence behind the law and how does that apply today? For example, when we live holy, a set apart life for service unto God we are fulfilling the general equity of that civil law of Israel. As well we have the many sundry or judicial laws given, case law if you will.
For example, the scriptures say….
8 “When you build a new house, you shall make a parapet for your roof, so that you will not bring bloodguilt on your house if anyone falls from it.
In that culture the roof was like a porch where people would relax and they were commanded to think safety first and to put up a barrier to keep people from falling off and you be liable!
That may sound familiar….. Building codes.
Another example is our text, specifically verse 4.
4 “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.
Now what does this have to do with us? In what way do we apply general equity? Paul quotes this specific law, implies it’s continued validity in the new covenant, and reveals why God gave a law concerning animals who do not bear His image.
1 Corinthians 9:8-10
8 I am not speaking these things according to [a]human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? 9 For it is written in the Law of Moses, “You shall not muzzle the ox while he is threshing.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? 10 Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops.
The law is for our good and God’s glory!
3. The Law & The Gospel!
We are not in bondage to the law in the sense that it validates our righteousness for our flesh cannot and will not submit to it! But we are new creatures in Christ Jesus! Born again by grace through faith that is a gift from God!
8 For by grace you have been saved through faith; and [a]that not of yourselves, it is the gift of God; 9 not as a result of works, so that no one may boast. 10 For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand so that we would walk in them.
What are those good works? The goodness, holiness, and standard of God, His Law Word! They flow from the greatest commandment and the second alike! When we love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, might, and mind and love our neighbor as ourselves the shadow, the substance, the essence, the glory of the whole law will flow through us! The moral law, the atoning work of Christ(the ceremonial law), and the general equity of the judicial law rest upon the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctifying us into the image of Christ as we walk not in the flesh but in the Spirit that we may equipped with the very mind of Christ! The Gospel is the Law fulfilled in Christ which is then imputed upon us so that we walk not in bondage to keep the law for righteousness but we are now clothed in the righteousness of Christ as we walk in the freedom to fulfill the law of God in LOVE!
Walk not in the flesh to fulfill its lusts but walk therefore in the Spirit!
13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 15 But if you bite and devour one another, take care that you are not consumed by one another.
16 But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not carry out the desire of the flesh. 17 For the flesh [a]sets its desire against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; for these are in opposition to one another, so that you may not do the things that you [b]please. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the Law. 19 Now the deeds of the flesh are evident, which are: [c]immorality, impurity, sensuality, 20 idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, outbursts of anger, disputes, dissensions, [d]factions, 21 envying, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these, of which I forewarn you, just as I have forewarned you, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who [e]belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.
25 If we live by the Spirit, let us also [f]walk by the Spirit. 26 Let us not become boastful, challenging one another, envying one another.
Pastor Bradley Testerman
Worship is engrained in the heart of man, it's part of our created nature. We long for the transcendent, we are empty in the material world alone and we NEED, we CRAVE, we search for something more! Many try to find comfort and peace in the midst of earthly pleasures, pursuing all sorts of distorted pleasures in hope that something will fill the void in our lives! The creature cannot be fulfilled by the created. By grace those who have placed their trust, faith, and lives in the work of Christ recieve by that same grace his peace that passes all understanding, his righteousness, his Spirit, his joy, his mind and yet we(the visible church) fail to worship the LORD as he so rightly deserves. Across the text of scripture there is only one unto whom worship is to be directed and the one deemed worthy is God, the God who saved us, the God who delivered us, the creator God and yet we sincerely lack to fulfill the task we were created to do. Let me be clear, I'm not simply speaking of being charismatic or performing religious rituals, I'm talking about an attitude of worship that works itself out in our actions towards the living God!
I want to look at the Gospel of John and in chapter 12 we find an example of an attitude of worship that lays down the temporal, lays down the cultural, risks everything, is willing to act, is willing to sacrifice and to do all of this in the name of worship, adulation, adoration, loyalty, faith, love, and trust. Let's set the stage...... we just previously were told the account of Jesus raising Lazarus from the grave in the preceding chapter and the story picks up here in chapter 12 with a fellowship at the house of Simon the Leper(Matthew 26) where Martha is serving and Lazarus is seated at the table and Christ Jesus is present with them yet no one is phased, Simon the Leper as host doesn't even wash Jesus' feet as would have been the custom. Simon was a leper but Christ healed him, Lazarus WAS dead but Christ raised him and yet there's no account of them being enamored with the one who brought their healing but in walks a woman named Mary and everything changes! Mary, more than likely a former harlot, a woman who in that culture had no rights, no worth, no value, no dignity, no identity(as she wasn't married), and no hope walks in with an alabaster box full of ointment worth a years wages falls at the feet of the Christ washes his feet with her tears, pulls down her hair and drys them with it, anoints him from head to toe with that ointment and in complete abandon worships the Christ in a living room full of healed people who don't even acknowledge his presence! Mary gives us one of the purest pictures of an attitude of worship ever recorded. What was this attitude of worship?
First, it was a willingness to surrender! Christ declared that if any man were to follow him then he would have to deny himself, pick up his cross daily, and follow him. He also declared that if any love mother or father, brother or sister more than him then they were not worthy to be one of his. He also declared that any who sought to save their life would lose it but those who in surrender were willing to lose their life would save it! She surrendered EVERYTHING to Christ in this one moment of unconstrained worship! She surrendered her identity, her glory, her wealth, her reputation, she didn't just break the alabaster box, she broke herself and poured out everything that she was at the foot of the one gave her everything! She didn't just surrender part but this woman surrendered EVERYTHING!
Secondly, it was a willingness to sacrifice! Worship always costs something, every sacrifice cost a life, every act of worship costs a price! We MUST sacrifice our pride for we cannot humbly bow with a haughty brow! We must sacrifice our identity and be new in Christ! We must sacrifice our reputations, our standings in the culture, we will go against the grain at times, we will potentially be called to sacrifice all that we are, all that we know, all that we possess, and all that we love in this world to worship and we flippantly call a short meeting on Sunday worship! We can't even consistently sacrifice time, pleasure, sports, money, jobs, partys, or many other mundane things to commit to worship with fellow believers even though all those previous things will pass away but corporate worship will one day be an eternal act of the redeemed in the presence of God Almighty in heaven! She spent a years wage, spent her Glory, spent the cultural norm, and spent her reputation all in the name of worship.
Lastly, it was an attitude based on belief in the truth! Many attempt to worship God in spirit alone and not in truth! How can we worship that which we do not know? This house filled with people miraculously affected by Christ failed to recognize his diety or his prophetic word concerning his death, well, all except a local harlot who had been forgiven! Many can't worship in trust because they don't believe He's sovereign. Many can't worship in peace because they fail to recognize him as King! Many can't worship the Christ because the Christ they know is not the true Christ from scripture but a false Christ invented in their minds! Those who worship will worship in spirit and truth! Paul writes in the letter to the Corinthians that when we pray to pray with the spirit and with understanding and when we sing we are to sing with the spirit and with understanding! Corporate worship as well as individual worship will only be as great as our understanding of the one whom we worship! Know him, search him, love him and then you can rightly worship him!
I call us today to not sit idly by, but to recognize his presence, to act in submission, in sacrifice, and in understanding in worship of our God!
If you spent any time during 2020 with your ears open then you have heard the term "white privilege." This is defined and presented as fact, that those with less melanin in their skin have a foundational and continual privilege simply by having a biological deficiency. First, I must declare that race is a social construct, we are all one race, the human race! Ethnicity and culture define segments of the world populous but race is a figment of the imaginations of evil men who seek to divide. Let me enlighten you. I have more in common with a black conservative Christian than I do a liberal white leftist Atheist socialist! The new fad in our culture is identity politics, "wokeness," intersectionality, equity, and blunt racism. Racism, not from the ones being called racist but from those who are calling everyone else racists!
Blindness & Blind Racism
Though many have sought to redefine the word racism with Marxist lenses us normal people who believe in logic and rational thought and that words and their meanings matter remember that racism is easily defined as the belief that one race is superior to another. Under the current 1984 style redefinition of the word, racism can't come from the oppressed, i.e. blacks, but those who remember it's actual definition rooted in reality know that's not true, Nick Canon! I recently watched a clip from a segment of Oprah's SuperSoul Conversations where she and two others were discussing the ever allusive "white privilege." When one of the guests suggested that not all white people had power and money, Winfrey responded: “You still have your whiteness. That’s what the term ‘white privilege’ is. “It means that whiteness still gives you an advantage, no matter”.
If there's one thing you remember from this post, remember this. The summation of the statements of this black woman billionaire is this, that things negative that's happened in the life of a white person is a result of the persons character flaws and things positive is a result of the persons "whiteness" while also declaring that things negative that's happened in the life of a black person is a result of racism and the color of their skin and things positive that's happened is a result of their resolve and hard work!
That my friends is Racism at the highest level and she's blind to it!
Let us play Oprah's linguistic game. According to Oprah, white people can't talk about racism because they're white and men can't talk about abortion because they're men.By deduction then the question arises, how can Oprah lecture people on marriage having never been married, and lecture parents on child rearing while never having children, and lecture us all on oppression while experiencing the height of privilege, 2.6 billion dollars worth of it!
In the Unites States of America we stand level with opportunity as afforded us by our creator. The proof lies in the very life and accomplishments of Oprah Winfrey! Born in poverty in the middle of Jim Crow Mississippi in 1954 and experiencing molestation in her childhood and tragedy at 14 when she became pregnant and the child being born prematurely didn't survive she seemed to rise form the ashes and went on to live out the quintessential American dream! According to Wikipedia she became a talk show host, actress, television producer, media executive, and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show, The Oprah Winfrey Show, broadcast from Chicago, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and ran in national syndication for 25 years from 1986 to 2011. Dubbed the "Queen of All Media", she was the richest African American of the 20th century and North America's first black multi-billionaire, and she has been ranked the greatest black philanthropist in American history. By 2007, she was sometimes ranked as the most influential woman in the world.
With this reality I agree that privilege exists! Broad "white privilege?" NO! Privilege? YES! Let me explain, privilege is real and is rooted in the grace of God. Being an American is a privilege and being born here is a real gift from God because he chose your place of birth, your parents, your generation, and even your skin color! If possible, tell me anywhere else in the world a black woman with such experiences as Oprah Winfrey could rise above her life's obstacles to become the "Queen of Media" and claim a worth of 2.6 billion dollars! Privilege, American privilege! Grace, God's grace!
Trust the Sovereign God, rest in his plan, glory in the privilege he bestows upon you! Don't have partiality towards the rich or the poor, treat everyone with respect, dignity, love, compassion, and grace! Call out hypocrisy and racism everywhere you see it and declare the greatest privilege given to men, the privilege granted through the finished work of Jesus Christ on Calvary, the privilege that by faith through grace we could be called the sons of God!
As a human, fallen under the federal headship of Adam, I, like you, am often tempted to wander as the great hymn writer penned. With this odd cultural circumstance that we find ourselves in it's hard to be both focused and balanced and I often find those types of things out the hard way. In my zeal, like the Apostle Peter, my desire to act and to act on a large scale, in a large way, with a large scope, and sometimes with my sword out, I do damage to the Gospel that I so love and desire to proclaim and live out. I'm sure there have been many a ear that my zeal have injured and Christ, in Agape love, restored. (Luke 22 & John 18) I find the unbalance was a glaring reality that zeal had unfortunately blinded. I was attempting to proclaim the truth to the masses but not the person, an intangible mass removed from each individuals humanity and the result appeared self-righteous, condemning, and not joyful, peaceable, long-suffering, temperate, faithful, good, gentle, or meek. (Galatians 5:22-23) The love here, this fruit of the Spirit, is the Greek word agape and is rooted in interaction. It's often translated charity, like in the KJV, because it's interpersonal. It's declared the highest of love, it's unconditional, it's a commitment to positive action in someone's life without the expectation of return. You can't do that from 30,000 feet!
The good news to the man that is condemned in and by his sins is that in repentance and believing, that mans sins were placed upon Christ at the cross of Calvary and the righteousness of Christ was imputed unto him at conversion! David said in Psalm 32 "Blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered. Blessed is the man unto whom the Lord imputeth not iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no guile." This covenant between God and man is interpersonal, Christ finished his work on the cross with purpose and precision. He didn't die for a faceless, nameless mass but for each specific individual who would believe upon him, he died for you, he died for Bradley! He didn't die to make salvation possible, he died to save! The good news of the Gospel is not that I can ascent unto him but that he came looking for me! The Gospel presented through this agape love of God towards man is best described by John the Apostle when, by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, he penned "There is no fear in love; but perfect love casteth out fear: because fear hath torment. He that feareth is not made perfect in love. We love him, because he first loved us. If a man say, I love God, and hateth his brother, he is a liar: for he that loveth not his brother whom he hath seen, how can he love God whom he hath not seen?"
I found myself recently being aggravated by the world, by some Christians even, because of their responses to Covid, masks, riots, justice, BLM, and so on! Anxious about it, eager to "set them straight." We're called to speak the truth in love (Ephesians 4:15 - agape) that requires charity, benevolence, and to be without condition! It also requires interaction, personal interaction. If there is a way to proclaim compassionless truth it is with a broad stoke, an unintentional audience, and a zeal and desire to be "heard" and not to heal! But, you might say, don't they need to hear the truth? Even if it hurts, the truth is the truth and if I love them then I will tell them the truth. While this is true the application must be considered. A parent, pastor, family member, friend, or one with influence is obligated by the Word to speak the truth in love, even if it "hurts" or offends the one receiving it, but what does that look like? It doesn't look like a diatribe on twitter, a condemnation on facebook, or an article in the newspaper, those are akin to the office water fountain gossip that condemns everyone and heals no one! What it does look like is a Samaritan who sees another in need and acts. (Luke 10, Go read the story if you're unfamiliar.) The scriptures don't tell us if they spoke to one another, it doesn't tell us if the injured man was aware or cognizant, we don't know if they exchanged names or learned of one another's life and experiences but we do know that the Gospel applied in proximity with agape love is effectual, it does something, it changes a life which will ripple out and change culture and continue on to change the world! Andrew Breitbart rightly said "politics are downstream from culture." And John C. Wright extended the saying as he said "Politics is downstream from culture and culture is downstream from religion. One cannot change a man’s mind unless his heart allows it. But one cannot change a man’s heart unless his soul allows it. In the same way politics is downstream of culture, culture is downstream of religion. In the same way a man’s actions are dependent on his beliefs, his beliefs are dependent upon his primal and fundamental assumptions that form his character. What we are fighting is not a culture war but a religious war, for leftism is not a culture, it is a religion." The good Samaritan had an advantage, he had no social media to glory and virtue signal his actions, he had no cell phone with a high definition camera to video the beating instead of coming to the aid of the injured, he had no like or share button on his facebook page for his fellow Samaritans to confirm and solidify his actions, and he had no cancel culture to destroy him should they disagree! This man had his conscience and God above to hold him accountable and he acted with the Gospel in proximity! The Gospel was tangible!
I'm not saying that we aren't supposed to fight evil on a large cultural scale. I'm not saying that we aren't supposed to fight for biblical justice on a political and judicial plane. I'm also not saying that our goals shouldn't be broad, national, or global but what I am saying is that the most effective change comes from small everyday personal interactions where we as human beings made in the image of God love each other with that unconditional agape love of the risen Christ! Buy someone's gas, invite people over for dinner, wash someone's feet, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOR! They're not hundreds or thousands of miles away, they're right next door! Covid will end, masks will be irrelevant someday, nations will rise and fall, prophesy will end, knowledge will cease, but LOVE will remain!
1 Corinthians 13
The Excellence of Love
1 If I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, but do not have love, I have become a noisy gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy, and know all mysteries and all knowledge; and if I have all faith, so as to remove mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 And if I give all my possessions to feed the poor, and if I surrender my body [a]to be burned, but do not have love, it profits me nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind and is not jealous; love does not brag and is not arrogant, 5 does not act unbecomingly; it does not seek its own, is not provoked, does not take into account a wrong suffered, 6 does not rejoice in unrighteousness, but rejoices with the truth; 7 [b]bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.
8 Love never fails; but if there are gifts of [c]prophecy, they will be done away; if there are tongues, they will cease; if there is knowledge, it will be done away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part; 10 but when the perfect comes, the partial will be done away. 11 When I was a child, I used to speak like a child, think like a child, reason like a child; when I [d]became a man, I did away with childish things. 12 For now we see in a mirror [e]dimly, but then face to face; now I know in part, but then I will know fully just as I also have been fully known. 13 But now faith, hope, love, abide these three; but the [f]greatest of these is love
Romans 1:18 (KJV)
18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness;
I remember when hurricane Katrina brought devastation to New Orleans in August of 2005. I also remember having discussions with other Christians questioning whether this could be the judgment of God. The question was raised among popular Christians and they received resistance as if it was unacceptable to think that 1.) God is still a God of wrath and judgment and 2.) that America deserved to be on the receiving end of that wrath! Today, some sixteen years removed from that destruction we find ourselves in a war, a war of ideologies and of worldviews, division is at an all time high, rioting in the streets of nearly every major city, a pandemic that has taken thousands of lives and is suffocating our freedoms, a financial crisis of depression magnitude, crime and murder are skyrocketing as police officers walk away from the profession with whole departments disbanded or defunded! It's like up is down and down is up! Churches were closed down for months, everyone is demanded and commanded to wear masks and avoid social contact! The question I must raise is why? And the answer I must give is Judgment! The wrath of God poured out on a rebellious nation and disobedient children! Our nation has abandoned it's Christian foundation and replaced it with secular materialism. We have exchanged our capitalistic constitutional republic for a marxist communistic intersectionality driven oligarch! We've abandoned our oath to LIFE, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness and replaced it with a culture of death, power, and political correctness where deviation equals cancellation! These things are destructive and sinful but they are not our most grievous of corporate sins!
Psalm 9:17 (KJV)
17 The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God.
In our current race war our flawed past has been brought to the forefront. If we asked the multitude what they believed America's greatest sin was/is I would wager that the most popular answer would be the institution of slavery. Though it is a mark upon our past it isn't even close to being our most grievous problem. With 600,00 slaves brought to the states from Africa and that population reaching upwards of 4 million by 1860 you might ask how this couldn't be the original sin of America but trust me, our most grievous sin dwarfs the magnitude of our past that's marked with this great evil!
Today our nation is committing genocide, murdering our own children! In an ad for New Saint Andrew's college they made this statement "the most dangerous place for a black life in this nation is a womb!" We have a new form of an ancient Canaanite religion, we're sacrificing our children to the god Molech!
Current United States Data*
Total number of abortions in the U.S. 1973-2018: 61.8 million+
186 abortions per 1,000 live births (according to the Centers for Disease Control)
U.S. Abortions in 2017: ~862,320 (Guttmacher Institute)
Abortions per day: 2362+ (GI)
Abortions per hour: 98+ (GI)
1 abortion every 96 seconds (GI)
13.5 abortions / 1000 women aged 15-44 in 2017 (GI)
These statistics include only surgical and medical abortions. Because many contraceptive measures are abortifacients (drugs that induce or cause abortions), it is important not to overlook the number of children killed by chemical abortions. Since 1965, an average of 11 million women have used abortifacient methods of birth control in the United States at any given time. Using formulas based on the way the birth control pill works, pharmacy experts project that about 14 million chemical abortions occur in the United States each year, providing a projected total of well in excess of 610 million chemical abortions between 1965 and 2009. (from https://www.all.org/learn/abortion/abortion-statistics/)
Our sins are many, our injustices abound, but the glaring tangible reality that this nation has forgotten God and the disobedient children(the church) are cowardly and silent is the fact that 61.8 MILLION, not hundred, not thousand, not ten thousand, not one hundred thousand, not a million, not ten million, not twenty million, not thirty million, not forty million, not fifty million, but 61.8 MILLION precious babies have been MURDERED at the behest of their parent(s), those who are supposed to protect and nurture them! If we believe that God would sit idly by and hold back his wrath of judgment on a nation so wicked then we don't know God nor his nature!
Think about it, Hitler killed 11 million, Stalin killed 20 million, Mao killed 30 million and the US has killed more than all three combined and ours were precious innocent babies! Judgment is not only deserved, it happening even now!