Biblical Perspective

I know we were all saddened by the news of the violence in Charlottesville, VA this past week. And I believe this is a good time to affirm that we, as followers of Jesus, do not condone or in any way excuse the actions of those who promote or act in such evil ways.

So with that in mind, I want to remind you of some Biblical truths which can help us remain focused upon what is most important in such troubling circumstances. In the midst of all the mess we observe around us in the world, it’s important for us to firmly hold to a Biblical perspective rather than a cultural perspective of events.

First, we must be soberly aware that most of the information we receive is biased. The agenda of the news outlets, above all else, is not to accurately inform us but to make a profit. So we must view every story we hear with healthy skepticism. Virtually every source of news cares more about you watching and listening than it does the veracity of what they are telling you. Therefore, we are always wise to keep that in mind as we consume information.

Second, we must approach the events around us with the full awareness that everything we see and hear is but a small part of a much bigger picture. God continues to reign supreme over all that is created. He has not lost control and He is not unaware of evil and sin. And though God may not intervene in ways we may believe He should, He is nevertheless at work in ways that we cannot see and ways that we cannot know.

On the day of His crucifixion, Jesus provided the perspective we all need when it appears that all is lost. Speaking to Pontius Pilate, Jesus offered this insight.

John 18:33-36
33 Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?”
34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?”
35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “Your own people and chief priests handed you over to me. What is it you have done?”
36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jewish leaders. But now my kingdom is from another place.

In troubling times, always keep in mind that Christ’s Kingdom is not earthly. It is not a product of the culture. It is not subject to earthly powers. Therefore, we may always take comfort in the fact that Christ’s Kingdom is not diminished by the events which surround us. His Kingdom is divine, heavenly and eternal. And each of us who trust in Jesus is a part of His Kingdom and must be devoted to it above every other allegiance.

When Paul was writing his first letter to the believers in Corinth he offered this perspective.

1 Corinthians 10:2-5
2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world.
3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does.
4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.
5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.

When we can’t make sense of what is happening around us we must remember that there is an unseen spiritual war raging which is often driving worldly events. Ignoring this leaves us to explain horrible actions only through an earthly lens. But understanding this provides context for actions which are otherwise inexplicable.
Paul’s instruction to the church in Rome, then, becomes a reliable compass for reorienting our thinking.

Romans 12:2
2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

The pattern of this world contradicts the pattern of God’s will. Therefore, if we conform to the pattern of this world we find ourselves questioning and doubting God. But when we allow the scriptures to recalibrate our thinking from worldly wisdom to heavenly wisdom, we are better able to understand and remain settled in a world of turmoil.

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