The nature of the Kingdom is such that we can find God and salvation regardless of the economic system we happen to live under. Contrary to some folks’ thinking, economic systems do not save. In the USA, we find ourselves in an economic system based on private property. How do we view this biblically? Continue reading “The ethics of ownership”
“And he said unto them, Take heed, and keep yourselves from all covetousness: for a man’s life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth” (Luke 12:15, ASV).
So, how do we look upon our possessions? Seems there are four areas of thought… Continue reading “Looking at property”
“And all that believed were together, and had all things common; and they sold their possessions and goods, and parted them to all, according as any man had need. And day by day, continuing stedfastly with one accord in the temple, and breaking bread at home, they took their food with gladness and singleness of heart, praising God, and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to them day by day those that were saved” (Acts 2:44-47 ASV).
On a Campaign for Christ in Northampton, England (1980) I was studying with a Brit, when as we were reading Acts 37–47, he became excited saying: “It’s there, they said it was, and there it is!” I had no idea what he was referring to, so I asked. “Communism,” he said, “Communism is in the Bible.” Turned out, he was a member of the Communist party of England. Continue reading “Property and Christianity”
Israel didn’t know how good they had it.
In making covenant with God, God had declared: “And ye shall serve Jehovah your God, and he will bless thy bread, and thy water; and I will take sickness away from the midst of thee. There shall none cast [miscarry -spw] her young, nor be barren, in thy land: the number of thy days I will fulfil” (Exodus 23:25-26, ASV, consider also Deuteronomy 7:12-15 & 28:5-8). Continue reading “Never had it so good”
God said: … “thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself: I am Jehovah” (Leviticus 19:18, ASV).
The call to love thy neighbor as thyself is repeated by Jesus, Paul and James. Among the covenant principles of both the Old and New Covenant is “love thy Neighbor.” Continue reading “Covenant love”
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said: “Think not that I came to destroy the law or the prophets: I came not to destroy, but to fulfil. For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass away, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass away from the law, till all things be accomplished” (Matthew 5:17–18, ASV).
The Old Testament pointed to Jesus as the promised Messiah; Jesus would not destroy that which affirmed his messiahship. The Covenant Law of the Old Testament would later be replaced by the New Covenant of Christ, as predicted in Jeremiah 31:31-34, and affirmed as changed in Hebrews 8:6-13 (see also Romans 7:6-7; Ephesians 2:11-16). But, at the time of this sermon, the Law of Moses is still in effect, and Jesus fulfilled the covenant perfectly. Continue reading “Covenant principles”
To Israel, God said:
“… I have set before thee life and death, the blessing and the curse: therefore choose life, that thou mayest live, thou and thy seed” (Deuteronomy 30:19, ASV).
“Choose life”. Why? Because human life matters to God. Continue reading “Principled living within the covenant”
Jesus rebuked the Pharisees saying, “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye tithe mint and anise and cummin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these ye ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone” (Matthew 23:23, ASV).
With the “weightier matters” of justice, mercy and faith, Jesus lays out some guiding principles for his followers. While it might be nice if the Scriptures laid out a specific response to every single thing that might ever happen in the course of a lifetime, they don’t. Often we’re left to discern for ourselves what course of action we ought to pursue when the Scriptures don’t specifically address the situation in which we find ourselves. Principles act as beacons to guide us toward the appropriate action, even if they don’t always reveal a specific path. Continue reading “Principles behind our responses”
When we start talking principles, someone eventually comes along who does not like the principles and says, “‘people are more important than principles,” and for them that’s the end of the matter. Often, though, those same folk will make the “greater good” argument when it comes to their own principles. Continue reading “People-embodied principles”
Recently a “preacher” has gained a lot of publicity referring to the Bible as “irrelevant letters from 2,000 years ago.” But consider:
Before God made covenant with the people, he grounded it in the nation’s founding story. “I am Jehovah thy God, who brought thee out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of bondage” (Exodus 20:2, ASV). Continue reading “God, or the cultural status quo”