SOCIAL ISSUES AND THE WORD OF GOD
Should Christians take a public stand on moral and “political” issues that affect our freedom of speech, and freedom to act according to what we believe (i.e. to vote and hold public offices), and to promote what we believe is best for society and the people who live in it – including our moral and spiritual duty before God to warn people of His coming wrath upon the world system, and the people in it who have rejected His Lordship over their lives.
Does the knowledge of the Lord's coming to judge mankind and set up His kingdom on the earth encourage you to sit back and watch or to get involved and do something?
Christians are among the most “tolerant” people on earth. In fact, in this regard, we are told in Scripture by our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ, to Love our enemies and to pray for those who persecute us. Matt. 5:44-48; Luke 6:27-38.
Should Christians get involved in political campaigns, educational campaigns, rallies, letter writing, school board meetings, and the law-making process? Or should we ignore these issues and simply attend worship services, Bible studies, and social functions and have as much fun as possible doing our own thing?
Because of various trials in the form of financial hardships, loneliness, pain and suffering, many people today have lost their faith and are perhaps wondering where God is when our world seems to be falling apart. Some are asking: "If there is a God, and if He cares, then why does He allow such things to happen?"
While it is true that Jesus is the answer to all of society’s problems -- including the way to receive God’s (free) gift of eternal life and forgiveness of sins (Acts 4:12, Rom. 10:4, 13; Eph. 2:8-9), it is equally true that He uses ordinary people like me and you to proclaim God’s message of salvation and to oppose immorality and evil (I Cor. 15:1-8; II Cor. 5:18-21; 2 Tim.).
This includes not only our words but also our deeds. If our lives are not a living sacrifice to God, then our prayers will be hindered, and our lives unfruitful. As a result, most people will be turned off by our outward religiosity, our powerless witness, and our lack of courage to take a stand against evil (See Matt.5:13 -16, John 15:1-8; Rom. 12:1,2; 14:7-9; 2 Tim. 2:8-10,19; 1 Thes. 1:5).
In Psalm 82:1-4 we are challenged by God as follows:
"GOD takes His stand in His own congregation; He judges in the midst of the rulers. How long will you judge unjustly, and show partiality to the wicked?" (By not rebuking them in any way, shape or form, but rather allowing them to get away with all sorts of evil, and with stealing from the poor (Prov. 25:26, 28:4). Vindicate (or speak up for) the weak and fatherless; Do justice to the afflicted and destitute (i.e. extremely poor). Rescue the weak and needy; Deliver them out of the hand of the wicked.” See also James 1:27; 2:15,16.
In Isaiah 58:6-7 we are told:
"Is this not the fast which I choose? To loosen the bonds of wickedness, to undo the bands of the yoke and to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke? Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into the house; when you see the naked to cover him; and not to hide yourself from your own flesh?”
It would appear from this that God thinks more of those who are doing something for the poor and oppressed than He does of those who are outwardly religious and yet not doing anything to help in a practical way. In other words: “Rocking-chair kindness” and “Sunday-go-to-meeting” service doesn’t impress God. And if that is all we are doing, then we need to re-examine ourselves and our lives, and humble ourselves before God, and ask Him what He would have us do with our lives, and our spare time.
And in the next few verses we are told:
“Then your light will break out like the dawn, And your recovery will speedily spring forth; And your righteousness will go before you; The glory of the Lord will be your rear guard.
Then you will call, and the Lord will answer; You will cry, and He will say, ‘Here I am.’ If you remove yoke from your midst, The pointing of the finger, and speaking wickedness,
And if you give yourself to the hungry, and satisfy the desire of the afflicted. Then your light will rise in darkness, and your gloom will become like midday.
And the Lord will continually guide you, and satisfy your desire in scorched places, And give strength to your bones, And you will be like a watered garden, And like a spring of water whose waters do not fail.
And those from among you will rebuild the ancient ruins; You will raise up the age old foundations; YOU WILL BE CALLED THE REPAIRER OF THE BREACH, THE RESTORER OF THE STREETS IN WHICH TO DWELL.” Isaiah 58:8-12
The only reason I can think of that we should be called the "restorer of the streets in which to dwell" is if we actually did something to make the streets safe to dwell in again.
Notice also how this passage ends with: "FOR THE MOUTH OF THE LORD HAS SPOKEN." Do you suppose the LORD is trying to STRESS SOMETHING here?
In Proverbs 24:11 we are told to:
"Rescue those who are unjustly sentenced to death; don't stand back and let them die." Do you think this "unjust sentence" could apply to aborted babies, or fathers who are treated like dogs by the legal system, or to children whose minds are being brainwashed by the Mass Media, and the public schools? See also: 2 Kings 21:16; 24:4; and Deut. 21:7.
And in II Chron. 7:14 God says that:
"If My people who are called by My name humble themselves and pray, and seek My face and turn from their wicked ways" "THEN I WILL HEAR from heaven, WILL FORGIVE their sin, AND WILL HEAL their land." Do you suppose that our being so involved with material gain and in seeking to be (almost continually) entertained by the things of the world would constitute "wicked ways" in the eyes of the Lord? See also: I John 2;15-17, 28; James 4:3-5, 17; Deut. 6:10-15.
Isaiah 1:10-11,13-17 says:
"Hear the word of the LORD, you rulers of Sodom" (speaking to the rulers of Israel); "give ear to the instruction of our God, you people of Gomorrah" (the people of Israel).
"What are your multiplied sacrifices to Me? Says the LORD. I have had enough of burnt offerings of rams, and the fat of fed cattle. And I take no pleasure in the blood of bulls, rams, or goats" (i.e. religious duties done in an attempt to alleviate our guilt for disobeying the LORD).
"Bring your worthless offerings no longer, incense is an abomination to Me. New moon and Sabbath, the calling of assemblies."
Worship services are important, but when they take the place of showing compassion for and doing good to our neighbors and our community at large then we have missed the mark.
"I cannot endure iniquity and the solemn assembly."
"I hate your new moon festivals and your appointed feasts (i.e. Pot Lucks and Social functions) They have become a burden to Me. I am weary of bearing them."
"So when you spread out your hands in prayer, I will hide My eyes from you, YES, EVEN THOUGH YOU MULTIPLY PRAYERS, I WILL NOT LISTEN. Your hands are covered with blood" (i.e. the blood of innocent children that were literally being sacrificed to Baal, and the blood of God's prophets -- Jer. 2:30; 19:3-5; 22:3).
"Wash yourselves, make yourselves clean; remove the evil of your deeds from My sight. CEASE to do EVIL, LEARN to do GOOD; SEEK justice, REPROVE the ruthless, DEFEND the orphan, PLEAD FOR the widow."
"We know love by this, that He laid down His life for us; and we ought to lay down our lives for the brethren." 1 John 3:16-18
Notice how love is to be expressed by action.
"But whoever has the world's goods and beholds his brother in need and closes his heart against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children, let us not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth." See also Matt. 25:31-46 and note how true faith is manifested by practical good deeds, and a lack of it by an absence of them.
II Chron. 16:9 tells us that "... the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support the man (or woman) whose heart is completely His." Edmund Burke once said something similar. He said "all that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing." Hopefully this will give us some insight as to why God is not doing more to stop the flood of evil in this country.
While it is true that we are getting closer and closer to the Lord's coming, is this a legitimate excuse for us not to be involved in some capacity? Do we see politics and government as a dirty business to be avoided? Or has it become this way due to a lack of involvement by God's people?
If we are not involved we need to ask ourselves (and the Lord) why not? If it is because we are busy about the Lord's work then great, and especially IF there is there some fruit to give credit to what we are doing.
We also need to ask ourselves: are we impacting anyone for good? Is our church growing or stagnating? Have we brought anyone to the Lord lately? Are we afraid that if we give any of our time and effort to this cause we would be forsaking the Great Commission? When we became Christians, did we cease to be concerned citizens? Are we registered to vote? If so, do we vote, and do so intelligently? Do we ever complain to store owners, TV advertisers, public school officials or our government representatives when we see something that we disapprove of? If not, then we shouldn't complain when our beliefs are trampled upon. Do we ever write letters to the editor of our local newspaper or to our Congressmen? If not, then don't complain when they fail to represent your views.
In Proverbs 28:1 it says that "the wicked flee when no one is pursuing, but the righteous are bold as a lion." If it is true that we are "the righteous," then why are we not more bold? See also Prov. 29:25 and Psalm 4:5.
The apostle Paul said in Romans: "For if we live, we live for the Lord, or if we die, we die for the Lord; therefore whether we live or die, we are the Lord's" Rom. 14:8. See also Prov. 8:4-7; Psalm 82:1; Jer. 25:30-38; Acts 20:24; James 3:1; I Pet. 4:16-19, 5:1-3; and I Jn. 2:28,29.
Floyd McClung once said that "people don't care how much you know until they know how much you care." Would it not do the Christian community much good to consider well the meaning of this statement (I Cor. 8:1, 13:1,2); and who knows whether or not these practical areas of concern will prove to be the key that opens up a door for us to speak the word of God with confidence (Col. 4:3,4); and, as a result, we see the Lord perform many miracles in and through us and before our eyes. We may also gain greater respect from our family, friends, and co-workers, and who knows, then they might even ASK US why it is that we do the things we do (I Pet. 3:14-16). Then we will have an opportunity to tell them about Jesus: be sure to take advantage of it.
When the ancient Israelites went out to battle, more often than not, they actually had to fight. In some cases they were told to stand and see the salvation of the Lord. In other cases they were told to “cross over into the Red Sea.” But, more often than not, they had to get involved and do something. Even when Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, He first asked the people who were standing around to: “Roll the stone away.” I hope this encourages you to get involved in doing good, and in giving of yourself, in some way, shape, or form, for the good of those around you and that God’s message of hope to the world would go forth.
See also Mark 8: 34-38, where we are told that:
“…If anyone wishes to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me. For whoever wishes to save his life shall lose it; but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s shall save it. For what does it profit a man to gain the whole world, and forfeit his soul? For what shall a man give in exchange for his soul? For whoever is ashamed of Me and My words in this adulterous and sinful generation, the Son of Man will also be ashamed of him when He comes in the glory of His Father with the holy angels.”
God bless you,
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