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Friday, August 30, 2013

The results of clarity

I’m studying the N.T. book of Galatians and thinking about the implications for our wider culture. Many believe they know what the bible teaches and they’ve decided they don’t want anything to do with it. This is largely due to what Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4:4 (ESV)  “In their case the god of this world has blinded the minds of the unbelievers, to keep them from seeing the light of the gospel of the glory of Christ, who is the image of God.” Satan deceives people into thinking that God is holding out them (if there is a god), that he is trying to ruin their fun or take advantage of them, and his people are a bunch of bigoted fools. Many, having been completely duped by Satan have now concluded that the faster they can marginalize and even demonize people who take the bible seriously, the better off everyone will be. 

I want to make what would sound to many as a ridiculous claim. If there were a genuine revival in this country, meaning many, many people coming to a real faith in Jesus and existing Christians repenting and genuinely allowing the Holy Spirit free reign in their lives, that that would be a wild benefit to our society. This is the exact opposite of what an atheist neighbor of mine once said to me. He looked me straight in the eye and said, “Gene, I believe that the world would be a better place if everyone paid a lot less attention to the Bible.” Here is why my friend was wrong. The Christian faith rightly understood and practiced leads to stable citizens who serve people, work hard, and make great neighbors. If more people took God seriously and took his word seriously, this country would slowly but in time dramatically improve. Attitudes would soar, work productivity would skyrocket. The real needs of people would increasingly be met. As people authentically encountered God, the fruit of the Holy Spirit would be be generated within them: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, gentleness, faithfulness, and self control. What work place, neighborhood, school or home would not be greatly helped by a real increase in these characteristics? Of course anyone can point to people who claim to be Christian who don’t contribute to society in these ways. But that only demonstrates that there are plenty of people who call themselves Christians but don’t reflect the character of Christ.

Such things can’t be forced. But don’t allow the increasing pressure from some in our culture to cause you to believe that we should cower in the corner. And let us insist that government leaders stop trying to reign in our liberty where that is happening so that we may continue to freely pursue faith in Jesus and to live out the full implications of that life.

Sunday I will continue the series, The Danger of Fitting In, when will explore this and other outcomes of a crystal clear grasp of the gospel on our country, our homes, workplaces, schools, our church and our individual lives. You can see the outline for the message here.

Gene


P.S. If you missed the first message in the series, you can watch it and other recent messages here

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