Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Covenant Protection

God gives us various covenant relationships e.g., family, church, and state, to enable us to provide protection and to be protected. This protection is both physical and moral in nature. It guards against threats from the outside and the inside. It’s concerned with the safety, health, and defense of all who come under the covenant. It’s also concerned to establish righteousness and deal with or remove evil. Each covenant member is given both responsibilities and duties, which are designed to work toward the mutual benefit of the other members. The hierarchy within the covenant, when followed, brings order, instruction and discipline to the body. It is in this covenant context of protection that love flourishes.

Sin is always an assault on the covenant, since it is a violation of God’s word, and His word is what empowers and enables the covenant to protect. Moreover, when a covenant-head fails to provide the appropriate protection—physical or moral—he leaves everyone under his care in a vulnerable position. Pursuing his own interests with disregard for those under his care, he neglects and exposes the very ones he is called to protect and love. As a result, the vulnerable inevitably seek other protection. This might be legitimate or illegitimate protection.

For example, the Church often provides sanctuary for a vulnerable family member. The Body of Christ [the Church] is a legitimate place of covenant refuge. However, the vulnerable often seek refuge in other places where there is no covenant protection. In so doing, they step outside of the place where God promises to care for them and they place themselves at great risk. When this happens sins are multiplied and the vulnerability increases and expands to others in the covenant.

An old friend of mine (Mark Webb), a pastor and singer/songwriter, described Jesus as our “hiding place.” The Church is the Body of Christ and is, therefore, where we must genuinely go when we are left out in the storm.

Should sevenfold storms of thunder roll,
And shake this earth from pole to pole,
No thunder bolt shall daunt my face,
With Jesus as my hiding place.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Justifying Sin

Any sin can be justified. We (with the devil’s help) can twist and shape our sinful words and actions into acts of justice and even kindness. God describes the devil as “an angel of light,” and we are very fond of that little hat-trick. Slight-of-hand is fascinating. “He deserved it.” “Everyone does it.” “I’m only human.” “God will forgive me.” The list is long and creative. There’s not a Commandment on the Tablets that doesn’t have a ready host of good excuses. We might mock men by dancing jigs around the truth, but “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked.” Justifying sin in business, marriage, or secretly in your mind is just a cover-up. You can run, but you cannot hide. Come to the Light!