Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Machiavelli’s Flawed View of the Ten Commandments


by Buddy Hanson

God’s Ten Commandments present the skeletal outline for every Christian principle that is taught in the Bible. The remainder of Scripture serves to put meat on these skeletal bones and further explain how those brief ten laws serve to provide perfect counsel on how to live, work, play, raise our children, self-govern ourselves and worship God. What this means is that any piece of legislation, any school curriculum, any advice we may come across for our family … anything that does not conform to God’s Word is, by the very definition of Christianity, false, and will not work, regardless of how much time, effort or money we throw at it.

It should come at no surprise to us that Machiavelli, along with all non-Christians, doesn’t agree with this. They believe that everybody has “evolved” from some lower form of life and therefore has no intrinsic value. The only option of such a worldview is to miss no opportunity to rule by intimidation. Christians, on the other hand, recognize that everyone has been created by God and therefore has enormous “value.” This provides Christians with the option of treating others according to the principles in commandments five through ten, and basing the authority for our actions upon the first four commandments. Since non-Christians cannot arrive at how we “ought” to live, we must take the lead by demonstrating in our everyday lifestyle how God would have us to treat others.

Machiavelli admits that the world we live in is not the world we would prefer, but that it is useless to “fight city hall” by attempting to live according to how we ought to live. 
If a person wants to maintain his rule he must learn how not to be virtuous, and to make use of this or not, according to need. Principle 15 
In contrast to this self-serving approach to civil government, listen to the divinely inspired words of Moses: 
Also it shall be, when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, that he shall write for himself a copy of this law in a book, from the one before the priests, the Levites. And it shall be with him, and he shall read it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God and be careful to observe all the words of this law and these statutes, that his heart may not be lifted above his brethren, that he may not turn aside from the commandment to the right hand or to the left,  and that he may prolong his days in his kingdom, he and his children in the midst of Israel. (Deuteronomy 17.18-20) 
The common sense pragmatism of non-Christians flies in the face of the Apostle Paul’s instructions to  “image God, not the world,” and to “conform the world to God’s successful principles,” not ourselves to the world’s unsuccessful principles. Machiavelli’s attitude is symptomatic of the worldview of all non-Christians. (Romans 12.1-2) The only “truth” he knew was what he could observe. This is the fault of non-Christians, because to their way of thinking, if they can see, feel, smell and taste something, it must be real. Christians don’t argue that such things are not “real,” but that in and of themselves, they may be “real bad.”

Each Christian’s calling includes making the invisible “visible” to our non-Christian neighbors. We do that by confidently living according to God’s rules in all of our situations and circumstances. Think about it. How else are we supposed to testify to non-Christians about how life (and civil government) is supposed to be if we don’t live out our faith. Non-Christians are certainly not hesitating to live out their faith, but try as they might, they’re failing miserably to find a meaningful existence. They are looking for answers, but they are looking in all the wrong places. We, of all the people on the earth, have been mercifully and graciously given the correct answers on how to live and govern ourselves, and there is no biblical precedent that encourages us to keep them locked up inside our homes and churches.

It could be said that the Ten Commandments are the thermometers by which we judge the temperature of our lifestyle. Have you checked the temperature of your lifestyle lately? If not, turn to Exodus 20 to see how you are measuring up to your Creator’s perfect standard of behavior. Non-Christians don’t have an absolute standard that they can use to compare their behaviors. In fact, they don’t even know if “truth” exists. Unless and until they repent, their faulty view of life will cause them to walk in ethical darkness. As a Christian, however, God promises you that His Word “leads you in paths of righteousness.” (Psalm 23.3) Are you allowing God’s Word to be a “lamp to your feet, and a light to your path,” (Psalm 119.105) or are you stumbling through life in ethical darkness just as you did before your conversion?  

Excerpt from The Christian Prince: Putting Civil Back Into Civil Government, Buddy Hanson (Hanson Group)

Scripture quotes and paraphrases from NKJV  

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