"Or those eighteen on whom the tower in Siloam fell and killed them, do you think that they were worse sinners than all other men...? I tell you, no; but unless you repent you will all likewise perish." - Luke 13:4-5
By now, we all have heard of the horrendous catastrophe that occurred on an otherwise pleasant Monday afternoon during the running of the Boston Marathon. Somewhere around the 4th hour of the race, there at the finish line, two bombs suddenly erupted into the crowd watching the race injuring hundreds and killing at least three people they know of at the time of this writing.
A similarly tragic event took place in the time of our Lord Jesus Christ. News had apparently come of another disastrous event where a tower, the tower of Siloam, which most commentators believe was still under construction at that point; suddenly fell over, crashing to the ground, bringing eighteen people to an abrupt and immediate demise.
Jesus used this recent incident to teach His listeners an important spiritual lesson. The Lord Jesus took this opportunity to speak to the necessity of repentance. He said unless those who heard His voice and answered His call to repentance, they too would also perish. So, what are we to make of our Lord's analogy and how can we apply His lesson to the recent events in Boston?
Well, I would say in at least two ways. First, Jesus seems to be saying everyone deserves to die, just as those under the tower and those at the marathon did, if we were dealt with according to our sins. The Bible says it is appointed once for man to die, then judgment. Death is the natural result of the Fall and the entrance of sin into the world. Death is a sober reality which every man must eventually face. The brevity of this life and the tender shoot from which is arises should make us ever mindful of life's frailty.
Second, Jesus seems to point us to the uncertainty of tomorrow. In His choice of examples choosing a tragic accident over that of say, a natural death, our Lord seems to imply in His words that men are not promised tomorrow; that today is the day of salvation, of deliverance; that unless men everywhere repent of their sins before our holy God and turn in faith towards Him, we all are without hope.
While the tower of Siloam fell 2000 years ago, the explosions which rocked Boston occurred only a few days ago. With this terrible situation fresh on our minds, may the words of Christ’s timeless and fearful truth settle into our hearts and minds - all men everywhere deserve to die, and unless you repent, you too will likewise perish.
"Therefore if the Son makes you free, you shall be free indeed." ~ John 8:36
As we observe the 4th of July with our family and friends, let us take a few moments to share with them the true source of freedom - Jesus Christ. Our American forefathers understood from whence freedom flowed. In fact, the Declaration of Independence speaks directly to the source of all freedom saying men everywhere have been "endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness". In short, we have been endowed with freedom. But with freedom comes responsibility. We have a responsibility towards God and our fellow man to exercise freedom within certain limitations. No man has the right to absolute freedom. Our freedom comes to us defined, defined by the Author of all freedom, God Himself.
The greatest bondage man knows is to his own sin. Man is by nature a slave to sin. Apart from the saving grace of God, we will all perish in slavery to sin. Only Jesus Christ can make us free. And when He delivers us from the bondage to sin, He sets us free to live and serve Him. We can enjoy the highest levels of social and civil liberty, but if we remain entrapped to our sin, we really aren't free in the truest sense of the word. Only when the Son makes you free, are you free indeed. Jesus Christ is the standard of true liberty. Our nation's heritage and history is filled with this reality. May we return to the Source of freedom. May Jesus reign in the hearts and minds of men. Then the godly liberty which once graced our land just might be experienced once more!
“What you have as heritage, take now as task; for thus you will make it your own”. - Goethe
"Thus saith the LORD, Stand ye in the ways... and ask for the old paths, where is the good way, and walk therein, and ye shall find rest for your souls." - Jer. 6:16
Dear Fellow Christian Gentlemen,
We stand at the edge of a epoch-changing time in our history. The lot has been cast. It has fallen to us to be the generation of men upon which much, if not all, of our future will be written. As I pen these words, the very foundation of our society is crumbling to the ground around us. Rampant demagoguery, decadence, and degeneracy has befallen us and we find ourselves pressed sorely under the hard Providences of a holy and righteous God. The spiritual weaponry of Christ's and our enemies are being wielded this very moment. The tips of their spears and the edges of their swords have been shaped and sharpened; anxious to draw your blood (if only figuratively for the moment). No one remains safe. God's enemies are eagerly anticipating the death and destruction of the Christian man. They long to see an end to all that the Christian holds precious and dear. The enemy's joy and satisfaction, his glorious victory will only be realized as your faith, your convictions, the people and possessions you treasure most (and if needs be your life), along with the ideals you value and the principles upon which you stand united with your brothers in Christ are completely wiped from the face of the earth, stricken from history, and covered in the fullness of the wickedness and depravity of fallen man.
The gauntlet has been thrown down. A challenge has been given. The prince of the power of this world and his minions have rallied together on the field of battle and they are relentlessly determined to send you to your demise. Therefore it is here and it is now that we, as men standing firm upon our faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, must answer the call to service in our Master's army. It is now that serious conviction must root out flaccid complacency. Righteous principle must triumph over godless apathy. Fear must flee in the face of a fierceness and determination like that of our once honorable forefathers. It is up to this generation of would-be-warriors to face our enemies on the battlefield, robed in the full armor of God, and prepared to live, or if needs be die, for the cause of Christ! What we, dear brethren, have as a rich and precious heritage, the faith handed down to us, we must now take as our calling and task. Only then do we make it our own. There is an old path, a better way. There is the grace of God and the empowering presence of the Holy Spirit to quicken and strengthen us for what lies ahead. Be it in our coveted churches, in our homes and by our firesides, or in the realm of public opinion, civil affairs and cultural controversy, may we be found fighting the good fight of the Faith once delivered to us by the beloved saints.
The hour is at hand. The time has come. Chose this day whom you will serve. May the men of God in my generation, those of this era, be found faithful in their calling. May history record of many great deeds done, of higher and more nobler victories won, and of the mighty advancement of God's kingdom accomplished at the hearts and hands of my fellow brothers. Yes, we may stand at the edge of an epoch-changing time. Yes, if we fail to act today, the heritage we leave for tomorrow's children may be one of dread, despair and shame. But there is hope! Greater is He that is in you, then he that is in the world. Arthur Hugh Clough (1819-1861) was an English writer, author and poet. One of his best known works was a rousing call to tired soldiers to keep up the good fight entitled, "Say not the struggle nought availeth". Be encouraged my brothers. Trust in God and you will find rest for your soul. I leave you with Mr. Clough's though-provoking poem. Will you join me?
"Say not the struggle nought availeth, the labor and the wounds are in vain,
the enemy faints not, nor faileth, and as things have been, things remain.
If hopes were dupes, fears may be liars; it may be, in yon smoke concealed,
your comrades chase e'en now the fliers, and, but for you, possess the field.
For while the tired waves, vainly breaking, seem here no painful inch to gain,
far back through creeks and inlets making, came silent, flooding in, the main.
And not by eastern windows only, when daylight comes, comes in the light,
in front the sun climbs slow, how slowly, but westward, look, the land is bright!"
Post tenebras lux,
I have been reflecting a great deal over the past few months on the issue of church and culture. How these two things are suppose to relate. Are they supposed to relate? Well, I think they do. And in a very few words, I hope to pique your interest in developing the relationship between the two.
You can find conservative Christians right in the middle of most debates concerning the hot topics of our day. Be it government spending, homosexuality, or abortion, there is a Christian website, radio talk show, or television program raising their ire about the rampant immorality so pervasive in our land.
Now, I don’t object to engaging these issues or those who are wrongly promoting them. But I have been questioning in my own mind if simply complaining and confronting the prevailing cultural tendencies away from Biblical Christianity satisfies our obligations in this area towards the Lord.
In other words, if the average Christian turns on his computer, radio, or television, agrees with the commentators that things are messed up, and that we ought to be doing better, I wonder that if this nod towards those engaged in the fray, the cultural conflict, is really what we, as disciples of Jesus Christ are called to do.
In Paul’s letter to the Romans I found a place where I think we can improve our understanding of church/culture relations. In says in Rom. 15:20; “And so I have made it my aim to preach the gospel, not where Christ was named, lest I should build on another man's
The idea I want to hone in on in this verse is the notion of ‘building’. Paul did not want to build on another man’s work. But what is important for us is that Paul understood the ministry of the Gospel more as a form of construction (building) than of conflict.
The question that’s been rattling around in my head is: As Christians, are we spending too much of our time, effort and resources in conflict with the prevailing godless culture and not enough in building a culture based on Biblical principles and one that will be pleasing to the Lord?
Again, I’m not suggesting we should just let things go around us and neglect the spiritual battles surrounding the church on every side. But while we are engaged in conflict on the one hand, the other hand ought to be just as determined to establish a distinctly Christian culture which can compete for the hearts and minds of both believers and non-believers alike.
Rather than a ‘baptized’ version of the secularism which Christians often accept as a legitimate alternative to the world, ought we not be aggressively pursuing cultural endeavors that are intimately informed by the power and presence of the Gospel? I believe so.
Therefore, as Christian men and woman, let us begin to think of culture, not so much in terms of conflict, but construction. Like Paul, let us begin to build a society centered on the person and work of the Lord Jesus Christ, reflecting the majesty, beauty and holiness of God. And may the culture without become a genuine reflection of the faith that lies within.