Posted in Biblical Questions

Would Jesus be Woke Today? – The American Vision

Matthew Dowd who was the chief strategist for the re-election campaign of former President George W. Bush who’s now running as a Democrat in the Texas lieutenant governor’s race implied in a tweet that conservatives and Republicans would criticize Jesus as being “woke” if He were alive today. Given the definition of being woke, Jesus would denounce it since it’s being used to promote racial division in the name of “social justice.
— Read on americanvision.org/posts/would-jesus-be-woke-today/

By Gary DeMar at American Vision.

This article reveals what occurs when foolish people attempt to interpret the Bible in order to justify a social(istic) issue like Wokeism. In short, their argument, proposition or premise falls flat on its face because it’s false–Dr. Kristafal Miller

Posted in Biblical Questions

Saved from What to What?

So you’ve heard the gospel proclaimed and in response, you believe in your heart and confess with your mouth that Jesus Christ is Lord. Acknowledging before all people that hope is found in no one else, and so you entrust yourself to Him who came, who lived, who died, was raised, and ascended to the Father’s right hand. Now what?

What do you do after you’ve embraced the gospel of Jesus’ kingdom? What do you do then? From where do your marching orders come? How are you to live? How are you to raise a family? How are you to act as an employee? How are you to be a member of a local church? How are you to be a good citizen in the society in which you live?

According to Jesus, as His disciple, you are to observe “all that He has commanded” (Matt 28.19), but what does that mean? Does this limit Christian behavior to the few things recorded in the New Testament that Jesus said? Does it incorporate the things that His apostles, after Him, taught?

What’s new?

This may or may not be where you stopped your investigation. Perhaps you have been taught that Christians are only bound (for the most part) to abide by New Testament teaching. I mean, the Bible does say, “In speaking of a new covenant, he makes the first one obsolete. And what is becoming obsolete and growing old is ready to vanish away” (Heb 8.13; ESV).1 But in what sense is “new” being used? Has the content of the Old been entirely done away with? Is “new” meant to convey, ofan entirely different origin? Or is “new” meant to be understood as “different from one of the same category that has existed previously?”2

It is the means by which the covenant has been ratified and applied that is new, not the standard by which the covenant is to be honored. The standard of both covenants—what is referred to as Old and New—is holiness. To be an honored member of the covenant between God and man, the person in question must live honorably by reflecting his/her Creator’s mind and action.

A requirement…

Holiness is the requirement. Holiness defined by God our Maker, not mankind the creature; “…without which no one will see the Lord” (Heb 12.14). For the charge from our Lord is, “… [to] be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect” (Matt 5.48). A demand based upon divine writ: “You must be holy to me because I, the Lord, am holy, and I have set you apart from the other peoples to be mine” (Lev 20.6; NET). And before the critic speaks, yes this applies to all who would be called children of God. As Zechariah prophesied before the birth of our incarnate Lord:

“That we, being delivered from the hand of our enemies, might serve him without fear, in holiness and righteousness before him all our days” (Luke 1.75).

What changed…

Therefore what is “new” about the New Covenant is not a “new” standard of living, but the means by which it is ratified and applied:

“But when Christ appeared as a high priest of the good things that have come, then through the greater and more perfect tent (not made with hands, that is, not of this creation) he entered once and for all into the holy places, not by means of the blood of goats and calves but by means of his own blood, thus securing an eternal redemption. For if the blood of goats and bulls, and the sprinkling of defiled persons with ashes of a heifer, sanctify for the purification of the flesh, how much more will the blood of Christ, who through the eternal Spirit offered himself without blemish to God, purify our conscience from dead works to serve the living God” (Heb 9.11-14).

What the living sacrifice of Jesus offered to creation was a perfect redemption. In the past copies of heavenly things (the tabernacle, the mercy seat, the holy places, etc.) were ratified with a temporal offering, but since the crucifixion of Jesus the shadows have passed away:

“For Christ has entered, not into holy places made with hands, which are copies of the true things, but into heaven itself, now to appear in the presence of God on our behalf. Nor was it to offer himself repeatedly, as the high priest enters the holy places every year with blood not his own, for then he would have to suffer repeatedly since the foundation of the world. But as it is, he has appeared once for all at the end of the ages to put away sin by the sacrifice of himself. And just as it is appointed for man to die once, and after that comes judgment, so Christ, having been offered once to bear the sins of many, will appear a second time, not to deal with sin but to save those who are eagerly waiting for him” (Heb 9.24-28).

Christ came to bear His people’s sins (cf. Matt 1.21), that is what the writer of Hebrews is pointing out. In defining the New Covenant, we find that a better sacrifice has been offered, a better high priest has been given to intercede on behalf of those who are rightly called children of the Most High. He was able to do this as our representative for at least two reasons: 1) He came from God being the living Word that put on flesh (cf. John 1.1-18)3; 2) He lived a perfectly holy life.

On living…

This brings us full circle to the questions posed at the beginning of this post. If we are saved from our sins. If we have our identity seated in the God-Man Jesus the Christ. How should we live? How should we govern our lives? How should our families be governed? How should our churches be governed? How should our society be governed?

Are we saved from our sin, from our “dead works” (Heb 9.14) to live by some other standard or by His standard? The apostle Paul points out that before Christ redeemed us we were “dead in our trespasses and sins” (Eph 2.1). But after our redemption we have become God’s “…workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Eph 2.10).

Well, what are those “good” works? Is not the goodness of God shown in His holiness? And is it not accurate to say that God’s holiness is a light that shines through the darkness with blinding authority? And to where must we turn to find such holiness, such righteousness, such a light that is able to cut through the darkness of sin that plagues creation, but is now being overcome? Is it not God’s Law-Word?

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path” (Psa 119.105).

Therefore should we not walk as our Savior walked in this life4; a man who was guided by every intention of God’s heart, careful to do all that He commanded (cf. John 5.19; 10.32; 12.49)?

“I have sworn an oath and confirmed it, to keep your righteous rules” (Psa 119.106).

Preparing to deal with the specifics…

At this point in the dialogue, I imagine that most professing believer’s would acknowledge a great deal of what I’ve said with an “Amen.” But, I have only spoken in a general way. It is easy to get people to agree with you when you speak in generalities, if you leave the specifics or the particulars unspoken. This has been true since the beginning. For if we speak in generalities, then freedom is left to the creature to fill in the specifics or particulars as he/she sees fit. Moses was likeable (Exod 4.29-31) until he declared what must be done (Exod 5.20-21). Many enjoyed the company of Jesus until he got down to the specifics (John 6). Christians of every stripe and color today will agree with many general ideas, concepts or themes of a biblical nature. But the ire of the people grows when you start laying out the black and white areas of life.

No, I’m not speaking about woke, cancel culture of modern day America; although, the content of that subject could be applied here. What I’m referring to is that dirty word called theonomy. When next we meet the specifics and particulars of how we are to live as God’s people, and where it all really applies will be discussed. All I wanted to do in this post was to get you, the reader, thinking about what it means when we say “new” covenant. And, by what standard we are commanded to live by in this day an age. As I said, next time we will begin to look a little closer at the specifics of how we should live. In so doing, we will be starting to shine a light on why theonomy is such a dirty word in many Christian circles.

ENDNOTES:

1All Scripture unless otherwise noted shall be of the English Standard Version (ESV).

2Def. 5, Merriam-Webster Collegiate Dictionary & Thesaurus, 2008, desktop edition.

3That Jesus was no mere creature is evident in these 18 verses alone. In the opening of John’s gospel we find that Jesus is identified as God, being present with God in the beginning (vv. 1-2). This means that He was with God the Father as a separate person, but He shared the quality/essence of Godhood. He is revealed as the Creator distinct from the creature (v. 3). He is identified as the author of life and the source of light that overpowers all dark forces (v. 4). He is the source and hope of mankind’s salvation (vv. 9-13). He put on flesh to represent us and to reveal the unseen Father who is in heaven through grace and truth (vv. 14-18). Thus, He alone is worthy to be called “My Lord, my God” (John 20.28).

4“If we say we have fellowship with him while we walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth. But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin” (1John 1.6-7).

“By this we may know that we are in him: whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked” (1John 2.6; italics added).

Posted in Biblical Questions

Questions about True Victims and the Immaturity of a People to Recognize the Difference

“And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, ‘You may surely eat of every tree of the garden, but of the tree of knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat, for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die.'”

Gen 2:16-17; ESV

When I served as youth leader I was often asked questions about the beginning. This makes sense since such questions pertain to much of the substance and meaning of life: Why am I here? What purpose do I have for living? Am I an accident that slowly came out of a primordial soup, like biological evolutionist’s teaching in school? Am I just an animal, then? What happens when we die, is that it or is there something else?

Another question that was sometimes hurled at me was this: “Why were Adam and Eve told that they would die if they ate the fruit from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil?”

A related question that followed was, “Why do I suffer the consequence (sinful nature) of their sin?”

Good questions. These are the sorts of things that kids should be asking mom’s and dad’s everywhere. And, they should be the sort of questions that mom’s and dad’s ought to jump at answering. I know, I know not many parents teach their kids these things nowadays. Not many parents read to their children or teach their kids to pray, thanking God for the many blessings we receive each day throughout out lives.

What I would like to do today is offer a short answer to the underlying problem of the question proposed by children (and adults) regarding the eating of the forbidden fruit in the garden of Eden, in the beginning.

“I thought you said it was a ‘good question,’ ‘the [sort] of things that kids should be asking…? So then, how can you say that there is an underlying problem with the question?” you ask. Very good. I’m glad that you were paying attention. Here’s the problem.

Who are the supposed victims when the question is being asked? God or mankind? When the punishment/consequence of the eating of the forbidden fruit is challenged it is on the grounds that “dying” is far too harsh. “All they did was eat a piece of fruit!”

Were they warned ahead of time of the punishment/consequence to follow if they did so? Yes, they were. “But dying! But passing on that death sentence to their children after them (an inherited sin nature)! That seems too radical!”

It does, why? You see, the supposition is that mankind (male and female; Adam and Eve) are the real victims here. But, they are the one’s who committed a transgression against a known law. If they are punished for violating the law, then why assume that they are victims? Bear in mind that this mentality has deeply seated itself into the very fabric of our society. The idea that a just punishment for a crime is too harsh, too inhumane is to make a victim out of the perpetrator.

I have heard this argument used time and time again in defense of those who break the law. We see those that show little regard for righteousness as somehow the victims of the system of law. This reveals, to me, the immaturity of our society at large. Our society thinks more like a child, than an adult.

Just in case you didn’t know the real victim in the garden when Adam and Eve decided to eat the forbidden fruit, was not the man and woman who were held accountable for their crimes against their Maker. The true victim was God their Creator. He gave them life. He gave them all that He had created. All He required is that they respect and love Him in honoring His Word. They refused. They spit in His face. They chose to rebel against Him and attempted to strike their Father in the face. The true victim in that act of eating the forbidden fruit was the Holy God whose word was violated, not the man and woman who treated Him so lightly.

The punishment was, therefore, just. Justice served from a righteous King. It really is too bad that so many in our world today fail to recognize true justice, true victims, true violations of the law, but can we expect anything less from a people who have been indoctrinated with lies. A nation who does not know its left hand from its right? Sadly, I think not.

Posted in Biblical Questions

Does the Bible Teach Personal Responsibility?

Does the Bible teach personal responsibility? Weeks ago I was challenged by a reader that seemed to suggest all of my talk about the biblical teaching of personal responsibility was baseless. He stated, “You talk a lot about personal responsibility. Does Christ ever talk about personal responsibility?”

On the surface the claim has an air of truth to it. If you searched in your Bible’s you will not find the phrase “personal responsibility,” or even a similar phrase like “self-governance.” Of course, there are other phrases, terms, concepts or ideas that you won’t find in your Bible’s expressed in the language of today. Here are a few examples: trinity, theonomy, dominion mandate (i.e., cultural mandate), reconstruction, reformation, dinosaur, etc. Jesus didn’t mention any of those by name. Does that mean they are not taught in the Bible?

Who said…

For some, you may be wondering, why I am equating “Did Jesus say?” with “Does the Bible teach?” I will grant the two do not necessarily coincide. But based on the conversation we had together my reader’s chief concern was that I was leaning heavily on tradition and not on biblical precepts. This in spite of the fact that we both were citing various texts to support our position.

There are those that will see the Christian faith in light of the “red letter” editions of the Bible. In other words, “If Jesus didn’t specifically state it, then it doesn’t apply.” Some who want to promote a homosexual lifestyle or the redefining of marriage will often use such arguments. In order to affirm what they believe is the essence of the Christian faith, they will say “Jesus didn’t specifically address it, and so it is not a real issue.”

There are a lot of things that Jesus didn’t do (he didn’t own a house, run a business, or get married), and there are a lot of things that Jesus did not specifically address (homosexuality, bestiality, incest, abortion, etc.), but that does not mean that He disproved of the former and approved of the latter. But those sort of things are spoken of directly or indirectly in the rest of Scripture.

I should note that I am not accusing the individual who raised the issue with me is saying that “only if Jesus says it, then I will believe it.” I do not know his position on any of those specific issues, but I am using his challenge as a stepping stone of sorts to address the area of concern he did raise in regards to personal responsibility as a biblical teaching coming from our Lord.

The Covenantal Lord…

Christ Jesus is Lord of both covenants; what are often referred to as Old and New. He is the fulfillment of what the Old pointed to, being the perfecter of the New (cf. Heb 8.8-13; 9.11-15). Jesus is the epitome of grace and truth and righteousness, being the exact imprint of the Holy image of the invisible God, in whom the fullness therein dwells (see John 1.1-18; Heb 1.1-3; Col 1.15-19). And it was the Law-Word of God that Jesus confirmed, upheld, and obeyed on all points (Matt 5.17-19), of which all person’s of faith in Him are likewise called to do (Rom 3.21-33). Meaning what? That what was taught in the Old Testament, regardless of whether or not Jesus specifically mentioned it, still holds.1

Answering the Objection…

Now I will answer the question (objection?) raised: Does the Bible teach personal responsibility? The giving of the Law presupposes the answer to be, without doubt, “Yes.” To give a law and say this is right and that is wrong, is to say you are personally responsible for doing what is right and abstaining from what is wrong. To show disregard for this truth and to act like our first-parents did in the garden is to invite the wrath of God. A reality disclosed by the apostle Paul in Romans 1:18,

“For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.”2

ESV; emphasis added

Notice that though Paul begins with a general reference against all people, he then makes it very specific in identifying it was “by their unrighteousness” and no one else that God’s fearful judgment is weighed in the balance over them.

Not for his sin, but my own…

Here is a lesson that our generation would do well to learn. I am speaking specifically to those in the WOKE movement, adherents of the various “Critical theories” being perpetrated by a misinformed, misguided populace that profess themselves wise, but are anything but.

“Fathers shall not be put to death for their sons, nor shall sons be put to death for their fathers; everyone shall be put to death for his own sin.”

Deut 24:16; NASB

We are all personally responsible for our own sin. What my father did, or what my ancestors might have done, is by no means any fault of my own. In the same vein, I am not responsible for what my children do. We are all each personally responsible for how we govern our lives. If I steal or murder or bear false witness or covet or commit adultery against my neighbor, then I, and I alone, am responsible before God. If I fail to worship God alone, or fashion an idol in my heart, or blaspheme my Holy Creator, or refuse to honor my parents as a rightful authority over me, then I, and I alone, am responsible for my sin before God. No one else. I am to receive the just punishment coming, not my children. But, if it is my children who behave in such a way, then the just consequences of their sin will be weighed against them.

In short, I am guilty for my sins against God (primarily) and neighbor (secondarily) and no on else. Or, you are guilty, and no one else. This truth is repeated by the prophets of God at various places (e.g., Jer 31.29-30; Ezek 18.20). The weight of this Law alone clearly demonstrates that we are all personally responsible for how we govern our lives. We bear the guilt of no one else, but our own.

All this foolish talk nowadays about me being guilty because I suffer from “white privilege” or that I should have to pay reparations for the sin of man-stealing (forced slavery, chattel slavery) is a load of hogwash. I did not own slaves. I did not participate in segregation. I am not an ethnic bigot (i.e., racist). I am not guilty for those sins of the past, because I did not commit them. And neither are you guilty for the sins of others.

Some are often confused on this point in Arminian circles regarding Calvinist (Reformed) theology. We are not guilty before God because we bear the guilt of Adam’s sin. We are all guilty because we have all denied God our Maker and sinned against Him. What we receive from Adam is a consequence of his sin, a nature that has suffered loss. A nature, a will, that has been enslaved to sin. But our guilt is not from him, our guilt is from our own reprobate hearts.

And Yes, Jesus did say…

Remember that this whole question was raised because a reader challenged my presupposition that the Bible teaches personal responsibility, and a consequence for failing to govern oneself in light of God’s Word. In essence, the question (which is a good one, I shall not deny it) is did Jesus ever say such a thing? Yes, I believe that Jesus did say this, and He did it on more than one occasion. But since I only need one citation to refute the objection, I will close with one from our Lord.

In John 5, Jesus healed a man on the Sabbath at the pool of Bethesda, “…who had been an invalid for thirty-eight years” (John 5.5). After asking if the man would like to be healed, the man confessed that he did but his own efforts for a remedy were to no avail. “Jesus said to him, ‘Get up, take up your bed, and walk” (John 5.6). A little while later, Jesus sees the same man, and he offers the following advice:

“See, you are well! Sin no more, that nothing worse may happen to you.”

John 5:14

Here we may draw an apt inference from this statement. Jesus is pointing out that the man is personally responsible for his own welfare. He is given sound advice on how to avoid something worse end up happening to him (i.e., negative consequence for failing to self-govern). “Sin no more….”

Our sin, for which we all bear personal responsibility, will be judged. In terms of salvation, there is hope, for Christ has paid the sinners debt (ultimate consequence), for all of those who place their trust (faith) in Him alone. His work covers a multitude of sins and sinners. Others, who refuse, will have to face the ultimate consequence for their sin, when they stand before His holiness. While this is true, be careful that you do not draw the erroneous conclusion that your sins—even if they are forgiven in Christ—will bear no negative consequences in this life. Although Christ’s work of redemption does offer forgiveness ultimately in an eternal sense, there is still a temporal sense where we suffer righteous judgments against our sin in this life. I could give you some examples, but if you think hard enough, I’m sure you can come to the answer of how this is the case on your own.

ENDNOTES:

1For the reader, I will add this little note for clarification. Jesus is the marker to which the entire Mosaic system pointed to. Some theologians will speak of the variances found within the Law of God (ceremonial, moral and judicial/penal distinctions). Christ upheld the moral aspects of the Law in His life never sinning. Christ will deliver final judgment in light of the judicial/penal sanctions required by the Law in the end. Christ has become the perfection of which the shadowy ceremonial laws pointed to in His death and resurrection.

Thus, all aspects of the law still hold in the Christian faith. We are required by God to uphold the Decalogue’s requirements, summarized in Loving God and loving neighbor. We receive forgiveness, mercy and newness of life in the true sacrificial Lamb of God, who is our true circumcision by the Spirit’s power putting to death the old man and walking in the new via God’s effective grace. And the penalties associated with the Law in light of covenant keepers and covenant breakers, still hold. These laws, which form our moral basis for living godly (i.e., good) lives have positive and negative sanctions to be applied in this life by God’s ministers in the civil government, and in the life to come at the great white judgment. In this way, all the law is to be upheld.

2The Scripture references shall be of the English Standard Version (ESV), unless otherwise noted.

Posted in Biblical Questions

My Money, My Property: A God Given Concept

In my last post I answered the question as to whether or not the concept of a nanny state was condemned in Scripture. If you’d like to read my thoughts on that then you may click here. Today, I wanted to address another question regarding personal wealth. I’ve been challenged on the idea of “my money” and “my property” as “troubling” by a reader. This post is a defense of sorts of my position. Enjoy.

The commandment “Thou shall not steal” presupposes the idea that people have personal property/wealth. Now there is a legitimate sense in which one might say that all things are God’s. He is the creator of the heavens and the earth (Gen 1.1), and in an ultimate sense all property, all forms of wealth, are the Lord’s (Exod 19.5; Psa 24.1; 50.12). In fact one of the first instances that we see the law of God put on display in the Bible is in the beginning.

No Trespassing, No Theft…

After God had created man, placed him in the garden, and eventually made the woman from his side, the Lord made it very clear to Adam that he (and his wife with him) had been given delegated authority on the earth. All dominion was given to mankind (male and female) in the sense of stewardship to their Maker. In light of this fact, all the earth was presented to the man and woman as a gift from the Lord.

He tells the man in Genesis 2:16, “You may surely eat of every tree of the garden…,” for “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the face of all the earth, and every tree with seed in its fruit. You shall have them for food” (Gen 1.29). The only caveat God placed on the man (and woman through him) was in regards to the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. That one, of two trees placed in the middle of the garden in Eden, had a “No Trespassing” sign placed upon it. The Lord warned Adam, “but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil you shall not eat…” (Gen 2.17a), and the sincerity of the prohibition was marked with a death penalty: “…for in the day that you eat of it you shall surely die” (Gen 2.17b). To attempt to steal from the Lord, which in this particular case was an attack on His sovereign position, was to meet dire consequences.

The ability to acquire wealth…

We are told in the Bible that God is the giver of every good and perfect gift (James 1.17; cf. Matt 7.11). He not only gives to His friends, but also to His enemies (Matt 5.45; cf. Psa 145.9). And so, He likewise expects His people to do the same thing (Matt 5.44; cf. Exod 23.4-5; Prov 25.21-22).

Therefore, it is rightly said that everything that we acquire in this life is a result of our heavenly Father giving these things to us. This includes the place and timing of our birth (Acts 17.26; cf. Deut 32.7-8). This includes our ability to acquire wealth (Deut 8.18), and even the lose of it (Deut 15.11; Prov 22.2).

After God offers the prohibition against theft in Exodus 20:15, He then lays out for His people a variety of case laws that pertain to not only what constitutes theft, but also the type of penalties to be enacted against the violator of the law (cf. Exod 22). The severity of the punishment was to fit the crime. If a person stole a possession then restitution was to be offered to reimburse what was stolen and to penalize the thief (Exod 22.4, 7-9, 12; cf. Luke 19.8). If a person sought to steal a fellow image bearer of God, to essentially rob them of their life, then the perpetrators life would be forfeit (Exod 21.16; Deut 24.7).

God expected that if a person wanted to acquire a commodity that another person had, then the person in question was to pay for the item. The owner set the limit for the price of sale. If the purchaser tried to rob the seller of their profit, then that act would be seen as theft and the individual in question would be counted liable. Equal weights and measures were the sign of just commerce amongst the people (Deut 25..13-16; Prov 20.10). Unjust weights and measures were the sign of corruption, and a call for God’s vengeful judgment to fall (e.g. Amos 8.4-7).

Although property pertains to more than just land, a persons land was considered their own sovereign domain. This was their heritage from the Lord. They were expected to exercise godly dominion over it, and to build a lasting inheritance for their offspring. To attempt to steal someone’s property by moving the marker was a criminal offense in the land of Israel (Deut 19.14; 27.17).

Wrong on all levels…

Theft is wrong on all levels and this includes theft by government coercion. I raise this issue because of the way in which the civil government here in the United States has encroached upon personal property of individuals and families in the form of theft, called public property. It is one thing for a community to decide what they want to do in a unified voice with their own personal property, but quite another for a government agency to assume that they have the legal right to put their fingers on what is not lawfully theirs.

In short, the “No Trespassing” sign in the garden has been extended throughout creation to the children of God. That is not a typo. All property, all wealth is a gift from the Maker, this is true, and all people come into possession of such things because of the common grace of God, this is also true. However, in an ultimate sense all property and wealth which is God’s, which is in turn lent to mankind in the form of legal stewardship is also temporary depending upon what the person does with the wealth and property afforded to him/her.

All the earth is the Lord’s and it is the meek that shall inherit the earth (Matt 5.5). The wealth of the people that do not serve God is held in reserve by the Lord for His people (Exod 3.22; Prov 13.22). This is why it is said that Canaan vomited the Canaanites out of the land (Lev 18.25), and it is also the reason why Israel was driven from the land through war with Assyria and Babylon between the years of (700-580 B.C.), and later in 70 A.D. by Rome (cf. Lev 18.22). Wealth and property are not guaranteed, they are on loan from God. While you have the property you own it is as a tenant, but if you are an unfaithful servant even what you have will be taken away from you (Lev 20.22; Luke 12.16-21; Matt 25.14-29).

Again this applies to individuals, families and nations. The law of “no theft” holds in a personal as well as civil governing fashion. Today, I want to present two biblical examples that verify what I have been discussing.

Civil Government and Personal Property

The Bible is filled with a lot of information. Some of it is prescriptive other parts of it are descriptive. A prescriptive portion tells how one should act; whereas, a descriptive part relays the events of the past to the reader. The judgment of the descriptive passage, like the prescriptive passage, is left to a determination of the Law-Word of God.1

The Tale of Two Kings…

David was a righteous man. Even a brief study of his life shows a heart that loved the Lord. Yes, it is true that he committed some egregious sins during his life. This shouldn’t surprise us since we are all sinners and our righteousness is imputed by God’s grace rather than an independent trait of our own. Left to our own devices apart from God’s sustaining grace and we are prone to stumble headlong into all sorts of despicable things.

Well, there is one event in the life of David that is offered that demonstrates a loving caring heart. One that loved God and neighbor. And it pertains to the subject we have thus far been discussing. What is interesting is that we have a counter example provided for us a little later in Israel’s history—but I get ahead of myself, I apologize.

At a time when a plague hit Israel because David decided to number the army of Israel (see 2Sam 24.1; 1Chron 21.1). To end the devastation being wrought by God’s wrath, David was commanded by the prophet Gad to make an altar on the threshing floor of Araunah (Ornan) the Jebusite (2Sam 24.18; 1Chron 21.18). When the king approached Araunah the man inquired as to why David had come? When David told him the reason (1Chron 21.22) the man offered to give to David the threshing floor along with wood and wheat for a grain offering (1Chron 21.23). But David said to the man, “No, but I will buy them for the full price. I will not take for the Lord what is yours, nor offer burnt offerings that cost me nothing” (1Chron 21.24; italics mine).

I will grant that most commentators focus on the second portion of David’s comment “not offer[ing] burnt offerings that cost me nothing.” It is true that our service to the Lord should cost us everything, for our lives are forfeit or else carrying the cross of Christ is a meaningless sentiment. However, the first part of David’s explanation should not be missed. He understood that what Araunah possessed was his alone. This was his inheritance from the Lord God. To just take the man’s property without paying for it would have been a dishonorable thing. David realized that what the man possessed had value and that value was worth its “full price.”

A little later down the line another king came to rule and his name was Ahab. Ahab was an unrighteous king. But he saw the property of Naboth the Jezreelite as something he desperately wanted. King Ahab coveted Naboth’s beautiful vineyard. He said to Naboth, “Give me your vineyard, that I may have it for a vegetable garden, because it is near my house, and I will give you a better vineyard for it; or, if it seems good to you, I will give you its value in money” (1Kgs 21.2).

On the surface this seems a fair thing to say. Naboth possessed a commodity that the king desired. The king offered what he believed to be a fair price for the land. But it is the owner that possesses sovereign authority to do with his possession as he sees fit. And, it doesn’t matter who is seeking to purchase it, if the owner does not want to sell, then God gives the individual the right to do with it as he sees best. So, Naboth responded to king Ahab, “The Lord forbid that I should give you the inheritance of my fathers” (1Kgs 21.3).

When the king’s wife Jezebel learned of this she said to her husband, “Do you now govern Israel? Arise and eat bread and let your heart be cheerful; I will give you the vineyard of Naboth the Jezreelite” (1Kgs 21.7). Jezebel had false charges brought about Naboth for blasphemy and had him stoned to death, so that her husband could steal the man’s possession. And God through His servant Elijah condemned the two of them to death (1Kgs 21.17-19).

What’s my point?

Two civil magistrates wanted the personal property of another. The one purchased the property because the owner wanted to sell it. The other stole the property and killed the owner because they coveted what the owner possessed. Theft is theft. Doesn’t matter if it is an individual or a civil governing official, the prohibition “Thou shall not steal” stands as a righteous standard that shall not be crossed.

Once again we see that socialism is evil. And just because someone tells me “Yeah, but our government already does it” doesn’t mean that the government or the person trying to defend it is right. It is wrong for the civil government to steal a family’s inheritance, their land or their money. And it is wrong for you as an individual to want them to do it so that you can have some form of benefit from it. I wish more people took the time to think through these truths. Saying this is my money or my property should not be viewed as a troublesome concept, but a biblical one. God gives and therefore it becomes ours and He says no one else has permission to acquire it by any means without our say so. Period.

ENDNOTE:

1For example, Lot fleeing Sodom and Gomorrah is a prescriptive activity of what one should do when warned by God to flee an area of judgment. On the other hand, Lot sleeping with his daughters in a drunken stupor after being saved from the destruction of the cities on the plain is a descriptive passage of how corrupted he and his children were from living in a culture that tormented his righteous soul. This later event should be taken in light of God’s Word as a warning to guard one’s heart by God’s Law-Word, and not to follow the whims of pagan culture.