Bible Ballistics: Vol. 9 No.04 March For ‘Rights’ Or ‘Wrongs’?
We in America have seen, heard and experienced a lot of events in this last week, yet I’d like to address only one that seems to be causing a lot of upheaval. While I don’t intend to address the specifics of the “march”, I do want to focus on the differences that many of us have with the things that were being promoted. Our Republic grants the right to dissent to every American, but when the masses demand the ‘right’ to do what is ‘wrong’ (in the ideology of others) there will always be conflict, and we as followers of Jesus will always be in the midst of conflict when we stand faithfully on the Word of God. Jesus Himself said that we would find ourselves in this situation, because He was in that situation, almost continually, Himself.
“If the world hate you,
ye know that it hated me
before it hated you.
19 If ye were of the world,
the world would love his own:
but because ye are not of the world,
but I have chosen you out of the world,
therefore the world hateth you.
20 Remember the word that I said unto you,
The servant is not greater than his lord.
If they have persecuted me,
they will also persecute you;
if they have kept my saying,
they will keep yours also.
21 But all these things will they do unto you
for my name’s sake,
because they know not him
that sent me.” John 15:18-21
Jesus told us then, and it continues to be true today, that if and when we belong to Him, and follow Him and His Word, the world would hate us. I find it most ironic that it seems that those shouting out ‘hate’ accusations, are the very ones who epitomize the very essence of ‘hate’! How sad that we have come to this place. How sad that even genuine believers have allowed the world to dictate how they ought to think and act in this media world we live in. We are to be light and salt in the world of darkness and corruptions. Yet salt burns when put on a wound—it is to be expected that many will howl in pain when the salt is applied.
I also find it interesting that the context of the “salt and light” passage is right after Jesus’ last of the Beatitudes which says that we are blessed when we endure persecution for “righteousness” sake—for Jesus’ sake.
“Blessed are ye,
when men shall revile you,
and persecute you,
and shall say all manner of evil
against you falsely,
for my sake.
12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad:
for great is your reward in heaven:
for so persecuted they the prophets
which were before you.
13 Ye are the salt of the earth:
but if the salt have lost his savour,
wherewith shall it be salted?
it is thenceforth good for nothing,
but to be cast out,
and to be trodden
under foot of men.
14 Ye are the light of the world.
A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid.
15 Neither do men light a candle,
and put it under a bushel,
but on a candlestick;
and it giveth light
that are in the house.
16 Let your light so shine
that they may see your good works,
and glorify your Father
which is in heaven.” Matthew 5:11-16
We are to be the salt, which slows and hinders the corruption, and light will repel the darkness. But much like Ebenezer Scrooge in ‘A Christmas Carol’, when he was overcome by the ‘light’ of the first visiting spirit, and asked that the light be dimmed for it hurt his eyes; we are living in a culture like that now, a culture that is more and more demanding that we dim our light, or put it out altogether. Yet, like Peter and John, we must decide who we will follow—God or men! Will we shine or hide under a bushel?
“And when they had brought them, they set them before the council: and the high priest asked them, 28 Saying, Did not we straitly command you that ye should not teach in this name? and, behold, ye have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us. 29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said,
We ought to obey God rather than men.
30 The God of our fathers
raised up Jesus,
whom ye slew
and hanged on a tree.
31 Him hath God exalted
with his right hand
to be a Prince and a Saviour,
for to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
32 And we are his witnesses of these things;
and so is also the Holy Ghost,
whom God hath given to them that obey him.
33 When they heard that, they were cut to the heart, and took counsel to slay them.” Acts 5:27-33
Peter and John stood fast for the truth of the Gospel of Jesus atoning sacrifice for sin, the sacrifice that would save those who will believe. And while those who heard them were “cut to the heart”, they DID NOT respond in faith to believe the truth, but “took counsel to slay them”. When we stand for truth we will not always be well received. But let us not loose heart but press on for the glory of God, and our eternal reward with him. We are called to persevere, understanding that while God IS working all things to our good, it doesn’t mean that only good things come to His children. God is working in our lives to use “all things” to mature and refine us to be a glorious work of grace and glory, to make a difference in this world of darkness and corruption. Trials and opposition are often the sign of God’s working His discipline and “child training” in our lives. (The Greek word for chastening in Hebrews 12, below, is a word that includes punishment, but much more the word describes all that is necessary in training a child to become a useful, productive adult.) He is continually working on us!
“Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses,
let us lay aside every weight,
and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run
that is set before us,
2 Looking unto Jesus
of our faith;
who for the joy that was set before him
endured the cross,
despising the shame,
and is set down at the right hand
of the throne of God.
3 For consider him that endured such contradiction of sinners against himself, lest ye be wearied and faint in your minds. 4 Ye have not yet resisted unto blood, striving against sin. 5 And ye have forgotten the exhortation which speaketh unto you as unto children,
despise not thou the chastening
of the Lord,
when thou art rebuked of him:
6 For whom the Lord loveth
and scourgeth every son
whom he receiveth.
7 If ye endure chastening,
God dealeth with you
as with sons;
for what son is he
whom the father chasteneth not?
8 But if ye be without chastisement,
whereof all are partakers,
then are ye bastards,
and not sons.” Hebrews 12:1-8
In this glorious passage we are called to “run with patience the race that is set before us”—and it is a cross-country challenge not a 50-yard dash! And to run that cross-country race we must keep our eyes on Jesus in all things, knowing that I am called to run “my” race for Jesus and not yours. We also learn that life is a training ground where God is at work in the lives of His children maturing us, and as Paul told us in Romans 8, He is working in and through all things in our lives so that we may be “conformed to the image of his Son”! God through His Holy Spirit is working in the lives of every regenerate man, woman, boy and girl, to form the “image of his Son” in us. God is continually working on that image within us, working so that the light and salt of regeneration will be evident in our lives, and affect the culture around us. What we must remember is that it will not always be well received. Others will take offense (no matter how hard we try not to ‘give’ offense, and there is a difference) because just as Jesus said,
“But all these things will they do unto you
for my name’s sake,
because they know not him
that sent me.”
So my point in all of this is, that no matter how many of the masses ‘march’ for what they perceive as their ‘rights’, they will never change the immutability of God (The very unchangeableness of God)! Because HE is:
the same yesterday,
and to day,
and for ever.” Hebrews 13:8
Marching, legislating, enforcing, bullying or any other method will never change the Truth of God, which Jesus came to BE the embodiment of! The question then isn’t “rights” but ‘Righteousness’, and only those who have been born again can fully possess and embody truth and righteousness. Because Jesus is Truth and He alone provides righteousness to and for all who will come to Him in repentance and faith. And as Hebrews 12 says, those who are without the discipline/chastening/correction of God in their lives, better check out what they think gives them salvation. For God says clearly:
“8 But if ye be without chastisement,
whereof all are partakers,
then are ye bastards,
and not sons”
God said it; I’m just sharing His Word with you. Those who know Jesus receive the impartation of the ‘Righteousness of Jesus’ to their lives—eternally! The question is, “Are you a ‘new creature’ “in Christ”? It is a question of eternal import. Or will you join with those who ‘march’ to have ‘wrongs’ called ‘rights’ in spite of the clear teaching of God’s Word. Have you received the righteousness of Jesus Christ to your account? Have you come to God HIS way? Have you been made new? Sin is the issue dear ones! And only Christ’s righteousness can bring light to the darkness, and restore the corrupt to wholeness! It IS the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin!
“Therefore if any man be in Christ,
he is a new creature:
old things are passed away;
behold, all things are become new.
18 And all things are of God,
who hath reconciled us to himself
by Jesus Christ,
and hath given to us the ministry
19 To wit, that God was in Christ,
reconciling the world
not imputing their trespasses
and hath committed unto us
the word of reconciliation.
20 Now then we are ambassadors for Christ,
as though God did beseech you
we pray you
in Christ’s stead,
be ye reconciled to God.
21 For he hath made him to be sin
who knew no sin;
that we might be made
in him.” 2 Corinthians 5:17-21
Sin can be forgiven, but only in Jesus and the work that He accomplished at Calvary. It is only the blood of Jesus that cleanses us from sin, only the blood of Jesus that can transform our ‘wrongs’ into His “right”. Have you come to Him? Are you marching “Onward Christian Soldiers”? Or have you been lulled into accepting the lies of the world, in place of the “truth” that is Jesus Christ—The Only Way, always. How can you know the way? By knowing “The Way”!
“Thomas saith unto him, Lord, we know not whither thou goest; and how can we know the way? 6 Jesus saith unto him,
I am the way,
and the life:
no man cometh unto the Father,
but by me.” John 14:5-6
I’d like to extend a challenge to each of us. May we all run our race daily, making a difference, by being different in the power of the Holy Spirit?
“Walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time. 6 Let your speech be always with grace, seasoned with salt, that ye may know how ye ought to answer every man.” Gal. 4:5-6