The Systems of ManMy nephew asked, that since all men sin, then why was I against the political system. His comment was, “Shockingly enough, sinful humans practice sin in every circumstance.” So why was I against that system? It was a legitimate question.
Let me put it this way. All men have lusted and are prone to lust. But that does not allow us to construct systems that encourage lust. Just because all men have fallen short does not justify believers being engaged in strip clubs. You see, it is one thing to sin, but it is another to build systems that encourage and accommodate that sin.
But the church for so long has a limited view of sin which accentuates certain sins and ignores others. Homosexual behavior is a sin but the lying and manipulation of politics can be overlooked. Abortion is sin but a talk show host can make 400 million dollars and that is just “Godly capitalism”. Castigating one’s political enemies is immune to the “love your enemies” scriptural mandate.
Plumbing does not encourage sin. Home building does not encourage sin. And even though men do sin in those vocations, the vocations themselves do not encourage sin or provide a forum for sin. Everything about politics encourages sin, and in fact, necessitates sinful speech and behavior to achieve political success. Even some believers with spiritual integrity have entered politics only to have the system change them.
Fallen systems, when embraced by professing believers, always alter a person’s heart and life. Take ten men, nine with pneumonia and one with good health, and place them in a room. The nine impact the one. Politics by its very nature is fraught with self righteousness and earthly answers that are void of the gospel of redemption. It is a modern revelation of the Tower of Babel which seeks to create a kind of heaven on earth.
But we are free from the systems of this world by the power of the New Testament directives. But what was once a glorious light in the midst of darkness has become a player in a dirty and humanistic system. And this coming Sunday churches by the thousands will pay homage to a nation whose very charter instituted a pluralistic system which in Biblical parlance is idolatry. War will be embraced and fairy tales about the founding fathers will excite the masses. It is always a spectacle of idolatry.
And instead of struggling to be free from such a fallen system, the church wallows in it. How the mighty have fallen! The illusion has become our reality, and the pig pen has replaced the shadow of His wings. When we as believers enter the world’s systems, we surrender our power and privileges as citizens of the kingdom of God.
Look around. We live in a hedonistic culture which murders its unborn, pours out sexual filth, spends billions on sports stadiums, registers 750,000 sex offenders, and offers 1.5 million strip clubs. And in the midst of all this the body of Christ blends in nicely and participates in what the culture dictates. The church has become a part of the system. And it is so entrenched that believers even listen to hours and hours of talk shows that exhibit an overwhelming practice of unbiblical speech. The system has swallowed up the church.
The gospel is not a “system”, and the church is not an organization. The world protests and boycotts, but we are commanded to go and preach. In fact, we are commanded to love sinners and to bless those who may seem like our enemies. We are called to spread the message of redemption, not the spirit of condemnation. Take a look at the coin of condemnation. Now turn it over and see what is written on the other side - “self righteousness”.
But in the largest sense, the church’s affinity for the things of this world is a heartbreaking spectacle. How could anyone who has caught a glimpse of the Christ in all His beauty and majesty ever return to their earthly vomit? The goats have contrived their system and the sheep energetically want to play also? No one needs to cultivate the temporal; it is in our face constantly and it connects with our flesh most powerfully. But the eternal is hidden and requires a seeking, a personal commitment to cultivate. If you do not desire the eternal daily, you will quickly fall prey to the dictates of the temporal. While the temporal is a treadmill of death, the eternal is a fount of life. As our Master exhorted, “Lift up your eyes.”
So what do you desire? Do the systems of this present world capture your interest? Do they fulfill your need for self worth and enlightenment? Do you feel a sense of accomplishment when you participate in that which is of this earth? Do the redundant political machinations draw your heart? Are you actively attempting to change this world by means other than His gospel? Has the gospel become an appendage and not the driving force of your being?
We have so reduced the power of the cross. It seems to have no relevance in today’s technological culture of self indulgence. People like Oprah do good works and strive to help people, and while most of the church rejects her theology, they try and change things through the power of the same flesh that empowers Oprah. The eternal majesty of redemption cannot be relegated to a Sunday morning sermon, which is also getting scarce. We as believers must allow the Spirit to open our hearts and our eyes so that we may see things as they truly are.
People in our culture do not need more conservative morals, and they do not need more money. The gays do not need to become straight, and the abortion doctor does not need another profession. The socialist does not need to repent and become a capitalist. What every sinner needs is redemption, without which he will be separated from God forever. Does that even move us anymore? It seems so basic and fundamental, but it has lost its doctrinal incandescence. The gospel is now something over which to defend in discussions of doctrine, but it no longer requires a life of self denial, humility, and painful sacrifice. Sadly, we are now part of this world’s system.
But there is still time, albeit getting shorter. Open your eyes and see the vacuous nature of it all. Set your affections on things above and not on the things of this world. Dwell on the prospect of eternal life and refuse to be imprisoned and compromised by the futile promises of this present dance of death.
I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.
What can tempt a dead man? Go over to his coffin and offer him a piece of cake. Tell him you wish to buy him a car. Ask him which candidate he supports. None of those things move a dead man. And for those who are dead to this world and alive in Christ the things of this world have no place in our hearts. Yes we eat and are clothed, and yes we go to work and raise our family. But as for the revolving circus of the world’s affairs we refuse to get entangled. We are dead to the entire exhibition.
And so I exhort you, come out from among them and be separate and free. No one can know the fullness of His freedom while they still embrace that which is against Him. The prophetic truth states that one day the kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our God and of His Christ.
But until that day, they are the kingdom of antichrist.