Thursday, July 7, 2011

When voting in the next election, What’s the Big Deal about God’s Word being True?: Part 4

by Buddy Hanson

posts in this series (part 1part 2
part 3, part 4, part 5, part 6, part 7)

No one (and no society) can serve two masters (two sets of ethics)

Either God’s ethics will be accepted, or man’s ethics. This means that either man determines the rewards and punishments or God does. There is no mixture. Sooner or later, we will either be ruled by God’s objective, absolute, unchanging, personally liberating, and others-centered ethics or we will be tyrannically ruled by man’s subjective ever-changing, tyrannical, self-serving, and enslaving ethics. 

The proponents of pluralism know this and have as their ultimate goal the abolition of Christianity and the installation of the State as “god.” Part of their strategy is to object that we are being “narrow and bigoted” in our insistence on adhering to a set of absolute ethics. But whether they like to admit it or not, all people believe in absolutes: either they believe in God's absolute Word, or they absolutize the State, nature, the voice of the people, or something else. … So, when God’s Word (Biblical law) is rejected something else is divinized.

Christ paid a heavy price for us to be reconciled with God and be given the Holy Spirit so we could understand His instructions on how to live. So when it comes to making our daily decisions (be they legislative or otherwise) two questions emerge from God’s grace that each Christian must answer:
* “How can we expect to improve on God’s will by living according to our ideas instead of His?”
*  “Since the Triune God has done so much to bring us out of darkness and into light, why are we more concerned about how people will respond to the application of His truth, than we are about how He will respond to our compromising His truth?” 

Ultimately we must decide under which ideas shall we live … true or false ones? To compromise with the proponents of false ideas is to agree that man’s problem is not inside him (a sinful heart), but is outside him (bad environment, bad education). Such a position leads to dealing only with the symptoms of what ills society. The results are

·                          more government programs
·                          higher taxes, and
·                          the continuation of the problems

because the cause (the sinful heart) has not been addressed.

The Nobel Prize-winning Irish poet, William Butler Yeats, once lamented, “The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity.”[1] Let us determine to change this truism by refusing to go to Egypt for advice. Our priority must be to “walk in a manner worthy of God who calls us into His Kingdom and glory.”[2] It will only be when we live by biblical ethics that we will protect ourselves from being “carried away by varied and strange teachings.”[3] The 16th century German Lutheran Rev. Johann Arndt addressed this issue to fellow Christians by writing: 
Nor indeed did God our Father, in His wise counsel, manifest the Scripture that, as a dead letter, it should lie buried in paper and ink; but that it should receive life in faith, and spirit.[4]
In other words, we should “Stand firm, and let nothing move us, always giving ourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because we know that our labor in the Lord is not in vain.”[5] The Apostle Paul assures us that our obedience will be rewarded: 
Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth. 2 Timothy 2.15 
Some Christians rationalize, “The gospel supercedes the moral law,” however, Paul, says, “Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yes, we establish the law."[6] God’s law was used by John the Baptist to confront Herod – an Idumean, not a Jew – in his adulterous affair with his brother’s wife.[7] The precedent to apply Jesus’ message to Civil Rulers is brought out by a psalmist who declares that he will “speak of God’s testimonies before Kings, and shall not be ashamed.”[8] Similarly, Jesus tells His disciples that persecution will give them an opportunity to speak “before governors and kings … as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.”[9] Notice what John the Baptist told the civil servants who approached him regarding their obligations to the law of God: 
Some tax-gatherers came to be baptized, and they said to him, “Teacher, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Collect no more than what you have been ordered to.” And some soldiers were questioning him, saying, “And what about us, what shall we do?” and he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.” Luke 3.12-14 
John was not appealing to them on the basis of some “neutral” law, instead, he referred them to the sixth, ninth, and tenth commandments. Others object that by enacting laws based on Christian principles, we would be intolerant of those holding non-Christian views. Those who make such an objection should realize Christians will either be the influencers of society’s laws, or will be influenced by non-Christian laws.  The remarkable thing about Christians who make this statement is that they don’t seem concerned that by allowing other religious views to influence society they are degrading and equating Jesus’ words with those views!

The Christian view sees Jesus as Prophet (teacher), Priest  (mediator between God and man) and King (governor), and holds that each Christian models these three roles in his or her life by applying God’s perfect truth that is revealed in Scripture. The non-Christian view holds that man is the ultimate reference point for truth and law and relegates religion to one’s private thoughts and meditation. As far as having something viable to offer in the marketplace of ideas, religion is considered out-of-step, provincial and archaic. 

In one camp, faith in Christ is the means of one’s salvation, and His laws serve as a restraint to evil behavior, while the other camp places their faith in the State’s laws to provide salvation, while imagining that the only thing needed to restrain evil behavior is education in the proper way to live. (e.g., “If we inform people cigarettes cause cancer, they will stop smoking.”) In this regard, the government-mandated K-12 schools have become the State’s church and evangelizes the next generation in how to serve and worship the State provider-god.

In Part Five we'll examine, "Who does our Lifestyle reveal is our Lord?"


     [1] Yeats, W.B., “The Second Coming”
     [2] 1 Thessalonians 2.12
     [3] Hebrews 13.9
     [4] Arndt, Johann, The Four Books Concerning True Christianity, p.69
     [5] 1 Corinthians 15.58
     [6] Romans 3.31
     [7] Luke 3.19
     [8] Psalm 119.46
     [9] Matthew 10.18

(Scripture quotes may be paraphrases)

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