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Political or Religous ?

Ooops . . . this article should have preceded the article entitled ‘Either/Or’ . . .
Sorry, somehow it did not get posted.

This is one of those articles that is more about asking questions than providing answers. So, let’s jump right in.

It’s amazing how we as people in general will make a statement and then turn right around and contradict ourselves. For example, as good Christians we will fight to post the Ten Commandments from the courthouse to the outhouse and then turn right around and conclude that at least one of them no longer applies. “Remember the Sabbath Day to keep it holy …” Oh yeah, God changed that one. But I didn’t think God changed?

Malachi 3:6: “For I am the Lord, I change not; therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” So, if God doesn’t change, and He has established certain guidelines and expectations, how does that fact apply to the issues of today, how those issues are defined and how they should be resolved?

There is much debate in many circles concerning the important issues of our day and one question that always arises is whether these issues are political or religious. It’s ironic and many times confusing how a particular issue can be spun by one pundit as political and another “spinner” concludes the exact same issue is purely religious. Which one is correct? Can they both be accurate?

In last week’s edition Howard Coop spoke of a national heritage and he quoted, among others, Benjamin Franklin’s statement and we quote — “I have lived, Sir, a long time, and the longer I live, the more convincing proof I see of this truth — God governs in the affairs of men.” We have read this quote many times in the past, but this time it caught our attention. “God governs in the affairs of men.” We read that as if it means God is somehow involved or God has some input or God has a vote when the issue comes up.

Now, Mr. Franklin was a pretty sharp fella and he used the word “govern.”

By definition, to govern is “to rule over by right of authority; to exercise sovereign authority over.” This implies God not is only involved or has input in the affairs of men but actually has sovereign authority and the right to rule over those affairs. So, can an issue that we deem as political also be religious by the very nature of the fact God has ultimate rule over those issues? The title of this column is Mining the Truth, so what does the Bible have to to say about this question?

Here are some nuggets to ponder . . .

Proverbs 14:34: Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.

Proverbs 16:20: He that handleth a matter wisely shall find good: and whoso trusteth in the Lord, happy is he.

Proverbs 16:33: The lot is cast into the lap; but the whole disposing thereof is of the Lord.

Jeremiah 18:9: And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build and to plant it; 10: If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.

Psalm 33:12: Blessed is the nation whose God is the Lord; and the people whom he hath chosen for his own inheritance.

Isaiah 26:2: Open ye the gates, that the righteous nation which keepeth the truth may enter in.

If we understand this Book correctly, in God’s eyes important issues should be weighed according to the Word of God. Based on His Word, is it actually possible to separate politcal’ from religious? Next week, we hope to compare these two terms and observe how they should interact with one another, much like “law” and “grace.” Shalom.

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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“Either / Or ” . . . Mining the Truth

Either / Or . . .

Last time we discussed the concept of ‘political versus religious’ and whether is it really an ‘either/or’ situation. We compared this to the polarized relationship between ‘Law’ and ‘Grace’ that most of us have been taught in our church upbringing. It’s either one or the other, ‘L’ versus ‘G’. But is that what the Bible actually says ? Let’s do some digging.
But first, let’s back up for just a moment and define those two terms – political and religious. ‘Political’, by definition, is that which is ‘of, relating to, or dealing with the structure or affairs of government’. ‘Religious’, on the other hand (or perhaps the same hand) is ‘belief in, reverence to and obedience to a supernatural power seen as creator and governor of the universe and having to do with a system grounded in that belief ‘. Gee, sounds as if Mr. Franklin might have been onto something here. Could these two seemingly opposites be just the opposite of what they seem? . . . or something like that . . .
So what about ‘Law’ and ‘Grace’ ? Well, here again, let’s define some terms. If we were to ask you to define ‘Law’ in a general sense, what would be your answer ? Most folks we have asked this question of answered in these ways – order, structure, recognized standard of behavior. And the opposite of ‘law’ ? Disorder, lack of structure, violation of the standard, chaos, lawlessness. So what about ‘grace’ ? Most in the church understand ‘grace’ to be ‘unmerited favor’. It is the concept of having something really bad coming due to my behavior and instead receiving something really good without being able to do anything to earn it. That’s grace. And the opposite of ‘grace’ ? I deserve judgment and punishment without mercy and I get exactly what I deserve.
So if the opposite of ‘Law’ is ‘lawlessness’ and the opposite of ‘Grace’ is blind judgment and punishment, then how did we come to the conclusion that ‘Grace’ is the opposite of ‘Law’, that they are an ‘either/or’ ? Could it actually be that Law and Grace are ‘hand in glove’ and work in tandem, that they actually complete one another?
When we read the verses of Paul and the other Biblical writers, both Old and New, we need to remember they all answer to a Higher Authority. It’s kinda like in a secular work setting. There’s the Boss, the Boss’s Son, and those that work for the Boss and His Son. It’s really difficult to keep your job if you contradict the Boss or His Son. And the Son has no credibility if He says one thing and the Boss says another. They all have to be singing from the same page. So what does Yeshua, the Boss’s Son if you will, have to say on this matter ?
Then Jesus said to them, “When you lift up the Son of Man, then you will know that I am He, and that I do nothing of Myself; but as My Father taught Me, I speak these things. John 8:28

For I have not spoken of my own accord; but the Father who sent me commanded me what to say and what to speak, 50 and I know that his commands mean eternal life. And therefore what the Father has told me is what I speak. John 12:49-50

“Do you not believe that I am in the Father, and the Father is in Me? The words that I say to you I do not speak on My own initiative, but the Father abiding in Me does His works.” John 14:10

“For truly I (Yeshua) say to you, heaven and earth will pass away, but not the smallest letter or stroke of the pen shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” Matthew 5:18

Has all been accomplished as of yet ? . . . don’t think so . . . Shalom – J & R

 
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Posted by on July 19, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

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