The two edges of the sword of God’s word are like fraternal twins, equally loved, valued and appreciated by their parents but direct opposites in personality and appearance. Nobody would know they are twins! They go by a variety of names: Gospel and Kingdom, Law and Grace, Faith and Obedience, Do and Done, Cause and Effect, and Internal and External.
We have been focusing on one edge of the sword for several months (Gospel, Grace, Faith, Done, Cause and Internal). In light of the dramatic circumstances currently in society all around us, we are going to switch our attention to what the other twin says about how those who walk by faith will view, and then react to, these events.
The typical reaction to today’s cultural upheaval by many hard-working, patriotic Americans who have not yet become regularly involved in politics is, “What in the world is going on in America? What happened to the country I grew up in? Has the whole world suddenly gone mad?”
Many more aware observers of the current chaos have seen this coming, but unless we understand what is happening spiritually—the overall “big picture”—it will make no sense. It will only depress us, and scare us to death.
Is the state of the world now really Satan’s doing, as many Christians believe? Is he really “alive and well on planet earth,” free to foment turmoil and chaos as many of us were taught? Or is God really sovereign, as we all say we believe He is, and do we live in light of that fact. What does “God is sovereign” really mean?
It means God does not simply “allow” all things that happen, but He actually “ordained” (caused) them Himself, by His purposeful design (Ephesians 1:11, Psalm 135:6)! Therefore, our aware Christian can watch what is happening all around him with a sense of anticipation and excitement. “I can’t wait to see what God will do with this!”
He knows God is playing Satan like a violin (Job 2:3-6), as He actually uses him to achieve His eternal purpose for His world in this life. Unlike when he went after Job (that was before the cross), Satan is no longer a powerful, legitimate, “God of this world.” He no longer has the authority to rule over the earth, that Adam surrendered to him by submitting to his leadership in the Garden.
Satan was stripped of his authority and power at the cross! He is now a defeated foe who is fighting a delaying, guerilla action. His ONLY weapons are lying and deception. He is desperately attempting to put off his inevitable, final demise. We, as God’s people, have been given the commission to rule over this earth (Genesis 1:26), including over Satan, and we have His promise that “the gates of Hell” will not stop us (Matthew 16:18).
The word “rule” implies enforcing a standard, and, as we saw last week, that standard is the truth of the word of God. If we have been given responsibility in a task, what does God say about how we should exercise it? If we have been given no responsibility to rule in a certain situation, as in our current political crisis, we must recognize God’s standard, STAND on it ourselves, never wavering, vote for it (the responsibility we have been given), and then PROCLAIM it as opportunity presents itself.
When we are walking by faith, (the “other twin”), we will always do so with love, compassion, and understanding. Let’s bring the truth of the word of God to bear on some common terms that are accepted in the culture today and see if they are indeed “truth,.” i.e., “systemic racism.”
Foundational to a biblical evaluation of the validity of many of the claims made today is an understanding of the difference between “sin” and “crime.” Biblically, they are distinctly different and are dealt with very differently.
Sin originates internally in the heart, and God has definitively and finally dealt with sin at the cross. It has been “put away,” “done away with,” “buried in the deepest sea,” “remembered against us no more,” “as far from Him as the East is from the West,” etc. Sin has to do with one’s relationship with God, and sin is always against Him. It is never my job to deal with another’s sin, only my own. My job is only to recognize it, own it, and repent. Remember David’s prayer to God in Psalm 51: “Against You, You only, have I sinned.” The racism in your heart is not mine to address.
Crime, on the other hand, is external and concerns the body—what we do. The civil government has been given to us by God to deal with crime as specifically defined in the Bible, so we can dwell together in harmony and peace. Civil government does not deal with matters of the heart—internal thoughts, motives, or intentions. “I desperately wanted to kill him,” and “I hated him,” are not biblical crimes, but sins.
In a similar manner, parents do not concern themselves with what their child thinks, believes and feels, their internal sins. No, their job is to raise them “in the training and admonition of the Lord,” (Ephesians 6:4), not to try to make them Christians, but to teach them truth and train their conduct as children, leaving it to God to win their hearts. We do not try to get them to “not sin,” but to “do what we say.”
So, what is racism? It is an attitude of the heart, a sin, esteeming one of another race as inferior, unworthy, and unlovable. It is a sin if anyone of any race, at any time, is treated that way, but racism itself is not a crime, because attitudes are not crimes. Biblically, civil government, therefore, has nothing to say about racism.
However, our nation was openly, systemically racist (external racial prejudice enforced by law) until the civil rights movement of the 50’s and 60’s. It was not until then, when our nation was almost 200 years old, that all our laws were changed dramatically to more conform to the truth in the Bible. Systemic racism was no longer legal in the United States. There is no such thing as systemic racism in America today, because the “system,” the laws that govern our nation, condemn it.
Racism, as an internal attitude, is like the poor “who will always be with us” (John 12:8), because we are all depraved sinners. Red and yellow, black and white, we are all racists; We all qualify. But Hallelujah, I repent, and Jesus died for my racism!