There are many passages of Scripture which offer definitive commands for the life of a believer on how they ought to interact with the world. Following the theme of this week’s ‘A Christian Balancing Act‘ it is important to consider how much time, talents, and resources one spends in these different areas as we interact with the world.
The Bible is very clear that the commission of the church is to evangelize and make disciples (Matthew 28:19-20). As we interact with others, the gospel should permeate our conversation. This includes our interaction with fellow believers. I’m convinced that one of the reasons we aren’t good at sharing the gospel with the lost is because we are not actively sharing the gospel with each other, and ourselves in particular.
The gospel is the power of God unto salvation to everyone who believes it. Our best efforts in changing the world are spent in seeing people acknowledge God and fear Him. Everything that we have to boast in is because of Christ: our good works, our quality of life, our hope for the future. If we want people to share in these same blessings, we must bring them to the power of the cross. There is no chance for society without the hope of salvation. All of the best laid plans and efforts of man are fruitless at establishing a perfect society without the redemptive power of Christ.
How then could anyone be unbalanced if they have a high view of the gospel? Those who are large proponents of the gospel (which I am one of them) can tend to neglect what is taking place in their own back yard. While we preach the gospel in our churches and share the gospel with our friends and family, what they hear is not always what they get. The American society has numbed themselves toward the gospel because, in many cases, they have heard it plenty of times. But what they haven’t experienced is the grace of God through the role of a born-again, bible totin’ Christian. We are called to be both light and salt. It’s not enough to simply proclaim the truth, it must be acted out in close proximity to those who need preserving.
The Bible is absolutely clear that we are to be concerned with justice. Jesus confronted the pharisees who did well at practicing religion, but they had neglected the weightier things like justice, mercy, and faithfulness (Matthew 23:23). Christian advocates for social justice tend to suggest that how we treat others is equally important to the message we are giving them. They say that you may be the only Jesus others will see. Unfortunately they won’t be able to compare you to a man you haven’t told them about. You must proclaim Christ.
Though I don’t hold to any allusion that I am carrying the gospel by simply feeding the hungry, healing the sick, or supporting the weak, I do believe that we as Christians mar the gospel when we don’t get involved in what is just and right in our society.
Where proponents for social justice err is in providing physical helps to people without actually presenting the gospel. This is the problem of moralism that we discussed before. This does not justify what many orthodox Christians will do in looking the other way when someone is in need, but it also doesn’t suggest that our finances are best spent providing safe drinking water in Africa when they will only grow up to die having never heard the gospel.
There are many heretics who gain a vast following from well meaning Christians who are captivated by their love for the sick and poor. Believers need to be discerning enough to look at more than just social justice in how they balance their Christian walk.
While Christians will greatly differ at how they balance social justice and gospel proclamation, there is nothing that is more divisive than the Christians worldview of politics. Personally, I cannot speak with any authority on this issue. Though I have made some strong statements in the past, I find that my political worldview is actually very weak and out of balance.
Political science is another area that Christians need to be conscientious of in their involvement in society and their testimony before God. I still propose that our efforts are best spent in evangelizing and not legislating, but as with social justice, by not picking any side we may mar our gospel proclamation.
Many, and I mean many, believers are completely unbalanced in their faith and political practice and lean too heavily on government. There is never more of a time when this is evident than during an election year. The activity of Christian involvement in politics compared to the level involved in evangelistic campaigns sickens me, which has played a large part on why I’ve allowed my politic to be under-developed. I did not vote in our last presidential election because of how disgusted I was in the churches involvement (I’m not proud of that fact).
One thing is irrefutably clear, the thing that gets you boiling inside, that gets you to get off your butt and take action, that causes you to stand up and be noticed, that is the primary passion of your heart. If the gospel doesn’t do it but politics does, you ought to examine your heart and evaluate your intentions.
A Personal Note
I’m sure I said something that won’t bode well with you. In the pursuit of being balanced myself, I want to invite you to challenge my claims. I want to encourage you to correct me where I am wrong. I implore you to edify me where I am weak. You can do so privately by way of email or FB message. Your comments are always welcome.