… and Justice For All

As mentioned in the previous post, our Pledge of Allegiance ends with the line, “and liberty and justice for all.”   One of the particularly disturbing aspects of our pledge is that though we learned it in grade school,  most Americans have a warped understanding of liberty and  as we will see today, perhaps even a more warped view of justice.

 

A basic definition of justice is “the act of being just or fair.”   This definition is lacking in that it does not deal with the question of what is just nor of what is fair.     Justice, you see, must be defined in terms of a system of ethics.

 

It should be obvious, but the ethics taught by Jesus and the Bible are very different from the ethics espoused by most moderns.   Since that is true, the justice that the Bible demands must be very different from modern conceptions of justice.   A prime example of this can be seen in the recent debates and discussion over same sex marriage.  It has been claimed over and over by certain individuals that this issue of same sex marriage is an issue of equal justice for all.

Marriage is perhaps the oldest institution known to mankind.   Marriage was established in the 2nd Chapter of Genesis:

22 And the rib that the Lord God had taken from the man he made into a woman and brought her to the man. 23 Then the man said,

“This at last is bone of my bones
and flesh of my flesh;
she shall be called Woman,
because she was taken out of Man.”

24  Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and hold fast to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.

God established marriage, and in doing that He also defined marriage.   Marriage is the joining of a man and a woman and the two becoming one flesh.   The idea that two men can marry one another, or two women can marry one another is not an expansion of marriage, but a perversion.    Any society that perverts God’s law must also of necessity pervert God’s justice.

Now I can see and understand how unbelieving pagans would try and make this issue about justice, but what really is disturbing is when professed believers make the same claim.   It becomes apparent that their view of justice has been shaped more by the world than by the Word of God!

True justice, at least according to the Bible, is not possible when God’s law is rejected as the standard for a people.   We live in a society that see’s injustice everywhere.   This is not by accident.   Two thousand years ago an angry mob in Jerusalem had justice standing in their very midst and cried out, “We will not have this man to rule over us.”  We may look aghast at them, but in a very real sense we have done the same thing in our churches and in our nation when we disregard the law of God in exchange it for natural law or so called common sense.   Every law system has a different view of justice.

The justice that is brought about by a society that embraces same sex marriage and the justice that brings about reconciliation with Christ the King are two different justices.   When we say and justice for all we must make sure we identify whose justice we are seeking.

LIBERTY!

The Pledge of Allegiance ends with the words, “with liberty and justice for all.”   Most Americans learned their pledge while they were very young. In a very real sense we can say we were catechized with this American idea and concept of liberty. Is this notion of liberty the same as liberty when spoken of in the Scriptures?

In John  8  Jesus is speaking to the Jews who are under some sort of  illusion that they are free.

 “So Jesus said to the Jews who had believed in him, “If you abide in my word, you are truly my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.” They answered him, “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone. How is it that you say, ‘You will become free?’ ”Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, everyone who commits sin is a slave to sin. The slave does not remain in the house forever; the son remains forever. So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed. I know that you are offspring of Abraham; yet you seek to kill me because my word finds no place in you. I speak of what I have seen with my Father, and you do what you have heard from your father.”

I think we learn a few things about freedom in this discourse that are foreign to most Americans.

First, Freedom comes from knowledge of the truth.  These opponents of Christ were wrapped up in traditions and ideas that they were deeply invested in, and they believed very strongly that they were free.   And yet Jesus tells them very plainly that they are in fact in bondage.

The notion that they were a free people is actually rather comical.   Perhaps while they were speaking their Roman occupiers were also listening to their discourse.    Can you imagine the Roman soldiers reaction to the statement,  “We are offspring of Abraham and have never been enslaved to anyone?”  Further more, it only takes a cursory reading of the Old Testament to realize that their forefathers were a people who tended to move from bondage to bondage, Jesus tells them very plainly that the key to becoming free is to abide in His Word.   To abide in the Word of God is to place our trust in Him.

Secondly, in this passage enslavement and sin seem to be very closely related. A people who are ignorant of the truth of the Word of God are not only enslaved to sn, but they are also essentially open to every other kind of deceit and enslavement.  There are countless examples of this throughout the history of the World.    Nations and people have often been ensnared by charlatans and hucksters who prey upon the ignorance of their victims.

Hosea 4:6 Says “My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge,”   The knowledge that is being talked about here is clearly the Knowledge of the Word of God.   When people are equipped with God’s Word and the Truth that comes from it, then all chains of bondage necessarily slip away.

Perhaps the worst kind of bondage is the bondage of the mind.   There is nothing more alarming, than a people who believe they are free, but in actuality they are
deeply enslaved.   I believe that this is the bondage that we “free Americans” suffer from the most.   America’s early founders were men who had a deep and abiding knowledge of God’s Word and what it had to say about actual liberty.   I think we have used the language of liberty and actually forgotten what it actually means.  We are now living on the borrowed capital of these actual students of liberty.

The Bible says that where the Spirit of the Lord is there is liberty.   We can infer from this that where the Spirit of the Lord is not there is bondage.   I do believe America is still more free than most nations that have risen and fallen, but we are losing freedoms everyday, and we seem oblivious to it.   As we have embraced the God’s of pluralism and the ideas that freedom can come from anywhere outside God’s word, we move further and further away from true freedom.  As a people forget God their first loss is usually liberty.

Perhaps it would also be interesting to see how we deal with the subject of justice.

God’s Leader 2012

“It is high time that pastors awaken to their calling, their position of rulership and authority. If the civil magistrates will not obey God, the spiritual magistrates must step in and do the job. God has not left his people leaderless. God has not left his people without direction. We must not depend upon the ungodly to lead us into holiness, righteousness and justice. God’s people are looking to God’s men for leadership and direction. Will they find it?

Our problem is that we have denied the fact that pastors have the authority to rule under God and to act under God. We have sat idly by and allowed the wicked and the ungodly to steal our land, our country and our freedom. We need not look for them to merely give it back. No, it must be taken back on God’s terms and in conformity to His Word. If a revival or awakening takes place in this country, it will begin when pastors realize their calling, position and responsibility before God.

The President of the United States should have the courage and the intestinal fortitude to lead this country back to biblical standards. He is the highest civil magistrate. It is his responsibility. If he will not do so, then the vice president ought to lead the way. If he refuses, the speaker of the house should do so. If he will not, then our congressmen should. If they refuse, then it reverts to the individual states. The governor should lead the reform. If he will not, the lieutenant governor should. If he will not, the speaker of the house should. If he will not, the state congressmen should. If they will not, the judges should, from the supreme court judges down to the lowliest probate judge. If they refuse, where are the city councilmen and aldermen? Why go down the line? Because a lesser magistrate is just as responsible to obey God as a higher magistrate.

If none of our civil magistrates have the courage, conviction and the integrity to lead us back to God, then, blessed be God, the spiritual magistrates, the pastors, must step in and say, “FOLLOW ME, THIS IS THE WAY, WALK YE IN IT!” We must not have anarchy. We must align our-selves with a godly leader and stand for truth with him. May God give us men like Moses, Phinehas, Jehoiada, James Caldwell and Peter Mulenburg.”

The Christian and Civil Government

John Weaver

God’s Kingdom

One of the things that is a major problem in the American Church today is the way we too often read the Bible.   Because of our history and our background we carry certain assumptions into our reading that of necessity color the way in which we read  Scripture.   A prime example of this is the way many modern readers of Scripture deal with the topic of the Kingdom of God.

The Kingdom of God is discussed in the Gospels as much as any other topic.   Jesus was all about the Kingdom of God.   And He spoke about it not as something that was primarily future, but something that had arrived.   His audience  very often misunderstand what He was talking about.  They were expecting an all together different kind of kingdom than the one that Jesus brought about.  But as He said then, His kingdom was not of this world.  The Kingdom of Heaven was not to be like the kingdoms of this world.   It was instituted differently, it manifests itself differently, and it is not governed in the way other Kingdoms are governed.

The primary objection I hear in this regard is from people who say, “Christ can’t be reigning, just look around.”   And I will admit, if I looked around and I did not have any Scriptural promises to lean on, I could see that things might look bleak, but the Bible does not tell us the story of Kingdom as though it will just instantly appear and all rivals will be immediately snuffed out.

In Psalms 110 we read, “YVWH said to my Lord,“Sit at My right hand,Until I make Your enemies Your footstool.”  In this glorious passage  the enthroned Christ  is seated at the right hand of His Father, for a period of time.  This period ends  when  all of His enemies will be made His footstool.  According to 1 Corinthians 15, He must reign, until His last enemy is defeated.   This is what is happening right now.   Christ sits enthroned at the right hand of the Father on high.  He has triumphed, and now the world is being subdued underneath His feet.

You know as bad as things may look from time to time the Kingdom of God is still greater today than it was yesterday.   In Isaiah we read that “Of the increase of His government and peace there will be no end.”   The Kingdom as presented in the Bible is one that grows.  It starts small and eventually it subdues the entire world.   And rather than subduing through swords, and spears, it grows through very different weapons.