Jun 29, 2020
Join us as we explore God’s ancient wisdom and apply it to our modern lives. His word is as current and relevant today as it was when he inspired its authors more than two and a half millennia ago. The websites where you can reach us are alittlewalkwithgod.com, richardagee.com, or saf.church.
I hope you will join us every week and be sure to let us know how you enjoy the podcast and let others know about it, too. Thanks for listening.
Thanks for joining me today for "A Little Walk with God." I'm your host Richard Agee.
The headlines scream about injustice, slavery, equality, and freedom recently. I wish the world could get rid of the first two and understand the last two. I fear we will never do either. We ended our ability to stop injustice and slavery when Adam and Eve decided they wanted to exercise the knowledge of God and found they fell far short. Cain killed his brother for offering a better sacrifice than he. Lamech murdered a young man who hit him. Violence and injustice plagued humankind ever since their rash actions.
Read every account of every nation, and you'll find slavery rampant in its history. The seven wonders of the ancient world probably came into existence on the backs of slaves from conquered nations. Aristocrats in Greece and Rome had as many as 600 slaves attending their individual properties. Many of those providing sport for the spectators in the magnificent Colosseum in Rome were slaves. The great temples and palaces discovered in South America attributed to the Incas and Mayans were the result of slave labor from captured tribes.
Our nation and the western world owes its success to slaves working in fields and homes. The advances throughout history are principally the result of labor provided by conquered people. Is it right? No. Do I condone it? No. Does it still happen in the world? Unfortunately, it does. The drug and sex trafficking that goes on in the "civilized" world under our blinded eyes is nothing less than slavery. The child labor in certain parts of the world certainly borders on the same. We enjoy the benefits of their work while they live in squalid conditions. We think nothing of their slavery and injustice.
The question is, what can we do about it? Is the redistribution of property and wealth called for in some of the recent protests the answer? Examine countries that have tried it in the past, and you'll find it doesn't work. That ideology is known as socialism or communism, take your pick. The Soviet Union and the People's Republic of China are the best examples of those ideologies. Dissenters of the government policies don't survive long within their borders. Government officials live in relative luxury compared to the rest of the populace, and even their luxury does not compare well to our upper-middle-class lifestyle in this country. Legislation cannot break the myth of equality we hope to find in our broken world.
But we have hope. There is a way if we will but take it. We will still be slaves, but we are slaves now. All of us. Paul talks about it in his letter to the church in Rome in these words:
12 So don't allow sin to rule in your mortal body, to make you obey its desires. 13 Nor should you present your limbs and organs to sin to be used for its wicked purposes. Rather, present yourselves to God, as people alive from the dead, and your limbs and organs to God, to be used for the righteous purposes of his covenant. 14 Sin won't actually rule over you, you see, since you are not under law but under grace.
15 What then? Shall we sin, because we are not under law but under grace? Certainly not! 16 Don't you know that if you present yourselves to someone as obedient slaves, you really are slaves of the one you obey, whether that happens to be sin, which leads to death, or obedience, which leads to final vindication? 17 Thank God that, though you once were slaves to sin, you have become obedient from the heart to the pattern of teaching to which you were committed. 18 You were freed from sin, and now you have been enslaved to God's covenant justice (19 I'm using a human picture because of your natural human weakness!). For just as you presented your limbs and organs as slaves to uncleanness, and to one degree of lawlessness after another, so now present your limbs and organs as slaves to covenant justice, which leads to holiness.
20 When you were slaves of sin, you see, you were free in respect of covenant justice. 21 What fruit did you ever have from the things of which you are now ashamed? Their destination is death. 22 But now that you have been set free from sin and enslaved to God, you have fruit for holiness. Its destination is the life of the age to come. 23 The wages paid by sin, you see, are death; but God's free gift is the life of the age to come, in the Messiah, Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6: 12-23 NTE)
We are either slaves to sin or slaves to God. He gives us the freedom to choose which we will follow, but we can't be in the middle. Obedience to him or sin, those are the choices with no middle ground. You say, "I want to be free to do whatever I want."
Can I tell you that is not freedom. Obedience is real freedom. It's like driving a car. I'm free to drive on the wrong side of the road. I'm free to drive off a cliff. I'm free to run into a tree. I'm free to drive 100 mph. I'm free to do all of those things, but I probably won't live very long or at least will pay a very high price doing so. But if I obey the rules set out by an authority higher than me – stay in my lane, drive the speed limit, obey the traffic laws – I am likely to have a much more pleasant experience and drive my car for years without unpleasant consequences.
It's the same with the laws God sets in place. We sometimes act like dumb animals and try to stick our heads through the fence to get to the grass on the other side. When we do, we get stuck or shocked, or the barbed-wire leaves horrible scars to remind us of our foolishness. But inside the fence, God placed luscious green pastureland, full of nutritious food. We are free to run and frolic in the field all day with him with no fear.
Why do we push through the fence? Like Adam, we think we are smarter than God. We want what we think is freedom. We want to do what we want to do. That is not freedom. It leads to addiction, pain, suffering, the penalty of sin is death. You can choose who you will follow but think about where real freedom lies. It's not in breaking the rules, but in following them. It's not in ridding the world of injustice but ridding my heart of injustice. It's in making myself a slave to righteousness.
The problem across our country and around the world is not one of inequality and injustice as much as our thinking we can be equal with God. He is God; we are not. When we figure that out and let him be God in our lives, his love will begin to show through us. The violence will stop. The injustice will end. Slavery will no longer exist. Evil will be defeated. Unfortunately, I predict broken humanity will continue to enjoy its brokenness until Jesus returns. Some will follow him; many will not.
Those who listen to God's spirit must share his love, demonstrate the kind of humanness God intended from the beginning, show not justice but grace to a world in desperate need of God's grace now more than ever.
You can find me at richardagee.com. I also invite you to join us at San Antonio First Church of the Nazarene on West Avenue in San Antonio to hear more Bible-based teaching. You can find out more about my church at SAF.church. Thanks for listening. If you enjoyed it, tell a friend. If you didn't, send me an email and let me know how better to reach out to those around you. Until next week, may God richly bless you as you venture into His story each day.
Scriptures marked NTE are taken from the NEW TESTAMENT FOR EVERYONE: Scripture are taken from The New Testament for Everyone are copyright © Nicholas Thomas Wright 2011.