CHRISTIAN LIFE & GROWTH
Rationalization and the Death of Conscience
By Susan Lockhart
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Continued from Page Two
And we know, of course, that the spectrum of degeneracy has always been with us. We can read about it in Genesis, right from the beginning. There are the lies and the manipulation of Eve by Satan, the murder of Abel by his brother Cain, the men of Sodom, the daughters of Lot, and the rape of Dinah. The Bible contains a veritable catalog of human depravity, but it also teaches the temporal and eternal consequences of it.
At this point I would ask, where are we, true Christians, children of God, last days warriors, when we see these things occur? Did not our Lord warn us of such? Shall we stand by and watch silently while the unbelievers and the carnal Christians self-destruct? What is our mission in the face of a dying, unregenerate world? Should we form protest groups and engage the culture en masse? Reach out to our elected officials, demanding that they do their jobs and defend the spirit and letter of the Constitution?
The answer is not to engage the culture politically. This cannot work. We're not going to force anyone to stop sinning. Do you think anyone will listen when we appeal to society as a whole? In Psalm 2:1-5 (NLT) we read:
Why are the nations so angry? Why do they waste their time with futile plans? The kings of the earth prepare for battle; the rulers plot together against the Lord and against his anointed one. "Let us break their chains," they cry, "and free ourselves from slavery to God." But the one who rules in heaven laughs. The Lord scoffs at them. Then in anger he rebukes them, terrifying them with his fierce fury.What has changed since this Psalm was penned? The heathens rage against God. Do you think they will stop because we ask them to? In fact, in Titus 3:9, we see that Paul tells us not to participate in useless and unprofitable quarrels and controversies.
Rather, the solution is also found in Titus 3, in Paul instructing the people of Crete to remember how they themselves were once enslaved by their own iniquity. Living "in malice and envy, being hated and hating one another." Is that not what we see today? But yet God came to us in the flesh and saved us "through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit." People are not "saved" through political activism. So which will ultimately be more successful? Lobbying and protesting? Or seeing people converted to Christ?
We as Christians are not going to heal the world, or even our nation. We are not going to prevent people from sinning. But we do need to confront sin. We need to convict the unregenerate of their sin, and call them to repentance. And we continue to confront sin amongst the people of God and call them to holiness and sanctification. This is what Jesus meant when He said that we are to be salt and light.
If we're going to bring light to the darkness, we need to find the sinners. Jesus didn't come to call the righteous to repentance. In one of the defining moments of Jesus' ministry, we see Him tell the Pharisees in Luke 5:31-32, "It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance."
This is why dealing with groups of people won't work. Any parent can attest to the fact that group dynamics never work in your favor. And there are so many who are self-righteous in their rationalized reality, and will not be swayed. Like the Pharisees, these are not the ones Jesus is calling. Returning to Titus 3, Paul tells us to "[w]arn a divisive person once, and then warn them a second time. After that, have nothing to do with them. You may be sure that such people are warped and sinful; they are self-condemned." They are like Thomas More's man without conscience, "holding his own self in his own hands like water, and if he opens his fingers then, he needn't hope to find himself again."
Conversely, though, what the group may reject, individuals may accept. There are many, and perhaps even most, homosexuals, drug addicts, women who have had abortions, and people who have committed many sins who believe that Christians literally hate them. This is why we have to deal with people as individuals, worthy of our attention. We have to see each person through the compassionate and loving eyes of Jesus Christ, who is in us.
We call out to them personally and discretely, and show them their crime against God, the guilt they bear before Him, and the eternal consequences of their misdeeds. Help them to see that they are spiritually bankrupt, a prisoner to sin and without hope. We need to show that we all have to be like the tax collector in Luke 18:13, "He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, 'God, have mercy on me, a sinner.'" This is the conviction of sin that we all experienced before we were soundly saved. It is why our personal testimonies are so important. We can help the lost see that we, too, were once lost, but Jesus Christ pulled us from eternal punishment into eternal life through grace.
We Christians have an anchor; an absolute moral authority in the Word of God. That is the true reality.
Our God-given duty (Matthew 28:19-20) is to reach every person within our sphere of influence as salt and light for the gospel. We cannot be salt and light until we open our mouths to proclaim the gospel of Jesus Christ.
Image Credit: Sheila Guevin; "Man for all seasons"; Used with Permission
Tags: Biblical-Truth | Controversial-Issues | Current-Issues | Political-Issues
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Published on 7-13-2015