Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The temptation of justice

Sometimes I think that Christians take it upon themselves to try to deliver people from their sinful lifestyles. In many cases well meaning people are campaigning passionately to eliminate certain sinful or immoral practices through education, legislation or litigation.

I fear that often times these efforts may overshadow or contaminate the message of the Gospel. Should Christians be identified based on their entanglement in the affairs of this world, or should they be identified based on the peace provided by God's promise of eternal justice?

In truth, God is the one who saves. He is the one who convicts. He is the one who changes hearts. Our job should be to be a testimony to that miracle. In order to be effective in that testimony, we need to submit totally to God, and to truly live by faith.
Romans 12:1-2
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God - —this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is -—his good, pleasing and perfect will.
The Lord tells us "Do not resist an evil person.", "Give to the one who asks you, and do not turn away from the one who wants to borrow from you.", "Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you". (See Matthew 5:38-48)

If an unsaved man is committing a sin, and I rebuke him for it, and he repents. His life in this world may be better, as he will not have to deal with the consequences of that particular sin. But his fallen heart will continue to lead him to other sins. He will remain unsaved.

If I testify to God's miracle, but I am still living with my hope invested in the justice systems of this world, my testimony has no impact. I am testifying to the truth of a hypothetical.

If, on the other hand, I live life as a living sacrifice to the Lord, then when I testify to the sinner about the miracle that God has done within me, it is real. A stranger will be able to see the peace that is within me. He will be able recognize my love. He has the opportunity to meet the God that can cleanse him forever.

It is quite a challenge to remember each day, each hour, and each encounter; it is my responsibility to deny myself, take up my cross to follow him. (Matthew 16:24) My worldly self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be done away with. (Romans 6:6) I am alive in Christ, and it should show.

The only way to truly help liberate those around me is to allow Christ to shine through me.

I plan to continue to exercise the civil authority that God vested me with to affect change within my culture. (My vote and my freedom of speech) Is it healthy to do so? Or is that entanglement with worldly concerns a liability to the only truth that matters?


At 7:59 PM, Blogger Limudyah said...

You are thinking clearly. Yahshuah rejected the role of a judge or a king, legislator, he refused to stone the adulteress, befriended the harlots. He said I have not come to Judge (punish), but to save. Circe (where we get the name Kirk or church was a pagan goddess of justice). The only Judge Yahshuah showed us was a wicked one who had to be bribed or threatened to do what an obnoxious lady was demanding. This parable tells us this is what the Father is not like. There are those who say that God holds the universe togeether by Justice (an eye for an eye) but Yahshuah shows us that forgiveness holds the universe together. Satan loves to get Christians in the voting booths and into political office and into judges robes inflicting punishment on others.

At 8:55 AM, Blogger nooshaxa said...

Christ's first action on entering Jerusalem was to go to the temple and throw out the money lenders. He used physical force to do this. He then turned to the scribes and pharisees and condemned them for their hardness of heart. He forgives only those that repent. He condemned the man with one talent for having a wrong view of God.

At 12:31 AM, Blogger collegekid said...

this is an awesome blog. fianlly i found people who know what it's really all about! keep thinking and posting. Jesus is the only way- He Is Salvation to those who take up their cross daily and follow Him. Have a great day ya'll.

At 4:47 AM, Blogger Josh R said...

nooshaxa, I don't disagree that there is a place for rightous anger..

Notice who Christ's anger was directed at however.. These scribes and pharisees knew God's word, they held themselves to be rightous, but they where defiling God's temple for worldly gain.

Rebuking rebelling believers is a lot different than being angry at sinners who don't know God simply because they are fallen humans.

The way you get a sinner to repent is to introduce God into their life. Repentance outside of Christ is legalism, and will yield no fruit.

All are condemned who do not know God. Showing them the pit they are about to fall into isn't nearly as helpful as showing them the salvation that God offers.

At 12:13 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I agree with you too, Josh. I happen to work at one of those "Holiday" stores that has been under attack by the media because it has banned the word "Christmas" from its advertising. I feel we're to be salt and light in this world, and if all we do is concentrate on boycotts and condemn fellow Christians (and sinners) who work in these stores (something like this actually happened to me today), then we're missing the point. We need to put our efforts into preaching Christ's love, that He died for all our sins, and not one of us has the right to judge and condemn others. We were once lost ourselves, and this we all must remember. The gospel, the pure Gospel, is what we must preach. If we don't, we're not engaging in Christ's Great Commission.

At 11:26 PM, Anonymous Joann said...

I think that there is a time and a place for justice, and to do justice. For an example, it is okay for us Pro-Life Christians to campaign against abortion, but it isn't okay for us to impose our Pro-Life views on a woman seeking an abortion and to block her from entering an abortion clinic. Women have the right to control their own bodies and to make decisions that they believe is right both for them and their babies. These women don't need us around making decisions for them and telling them what they can and can't do with their own bodies. It is called personal responsibility, something that only the individual has the right to, not others.


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