Sunday, July 26, 2020

Jesus Isn't Your Buddy, Not a Member of Your Political Party

I love this pastor's citation of a wonderful quote from N.T. Wright.

Jesus is not a Democrat.

He's not a Republican.

Jesus doesn't share our enthusiasms for human ideologies, philosophies, rationalizations, or excuses.

Jesus isn't an American.

He is the Lord of heaven and earth.

He is the great I AM.

He is the crucified, risen, and ascended One.

He's the conqueror of sin and death, the Word made flesh, the Pioneer and Perfecter of our salvation, the Lamb of God Who takes away the sin of the world.

His is the name that is above all names to which ultimately, every knee shall bow and every tongue confess is God the Son, all to the glory of God.

So, quit trying to make Him your buddy.

Quit trying to enlist Him as a co-conspirator in your preferred political positions.

Quit trying to make Him an amiable buffoon who will acquiesce to anything that makes you feel good.

Quit trying to portray His tough love, that loves us absolutely and loves us too much to leave us dead in our favorite sins, whatever they may be, as excusing or rationalizing the self-directed, self-aggrandizing path you've already decided to take.

Read the Bible. Partake of the Sacraments.

Get to know Jesus as He is.

Then, bend your knee in abject submission.

Confess to Him the sins He shows you in yourself.

Turn to Him for forgiveness, absolution, and renewal.

Let Him guide you in the true path of His love and righteousness.

That path won't look much like the paths that political. correctness, be it conservative or liberal, this world commends. How could it look like those paths? The ways of the world are dead or dying. The way of Jesus, God the Son, is living, pulsing with the power of the eternal God.

As we follow Him, He goes to work reconstructing us in His image. That reconstruction process is painful. It means giving up on worshiping our favorites gods--ourselves or our own rectitude and rightness, for example.

I haven't made much progress on this path in the forty-four years since Jesus called me back to Him. But I know that He--not political parties, not social movements, not my family that I love, not my country that I love too, not my political preferences--but only Jesus is "the way, and the truth, and the life." All -isms, personal preferences, prejudices, and favorite sins must give way to Him.

The path of following Jesus is the way to truth and life and wholeness and hope and joy. Following Jesus leads us into the very heart of the One Who made us. Jesus alone. Only Jesus.

Idolatry, Injustice, and Freedom

I read several chapters of Jeremiah for my quiet time with God today. Wow! That book has relevance to our contemporary situation.

While the United States is a secular republic, never intended to be a theocracy, the judgments of God on ancient Israel and on the nations of that era that had nothing to do with God were related to two things: idolatry and injustice.

God calls all nations and individual people to worship Him alone, not because God is an egomaniac, but because only the God first revealed to Israel and now to all people in Jesus, can give us life.

When nations or individuals start chasing after false gods, false sources of security, peace, or self-esteem, injustice always follows. Think of all the injustice unleashed in the world by people or countries that have followed fake gods:
  • from the gods of self or family to the gods of racial or ethnic superiority,
  • from the gods of materialism to the gods of sexual promiscuity,
  • from the gods of politics and human philosophies to the gods of legalistic religions that promise people good if they only behave in certain ways,
  • from the gods of social acceptance and popularity to the gods of comfort without regard to others.
All these gods are dead and following them leads to death.

Following them--worshiping them--also leads people and nations to perpetrate or to be complicit with the most heinous acts of injustices, injustices that become so much a part of idolaters' lives that they never question them. They assume, as God's ancient people did, according to Jeremiah, that God approves of their idolatries.

Jeremiah warns that God never approves of our chasing after false gods, which is exactly what we do whenever we allow any sin to take root in our lives.

Behind every violation of God's moral law, given in the Ten Commandments, is an act of idol worship. Above all, every willful sin commit is an act of self-worship, an example of the abiding human sin that can be traced back to Adam and Eve, the desire "to be like God," to BE God ourselves. That delusional ambition lay behind every injustice, heartache, relational breakdown, and sin that has ever been seen in human history.

Our call is simple: To daily turn from the idols that drag us down and to turn instead to Jesus for forgiveness and the life that only He, God the Son, can give.

Jeremiah's bracing message reminded me of that today. So, once more, I take refuge in Jesus so that He can free me from the idolatries of this world and the injustices to which they lead.