Watching Daily At Wisdom's Gates

A Yorkshireman's take on life, death, and eternity

Month: September, 2015

Capitalism and socialism

Christianity transcends politics. One example is Jesus’ parables. In the parable of the talents, things sound pretty capitalist with investment and bankers and stingy servants. Then there’s the parable of the workers in the vineyard who all get paid the same regardless of how long they’ve worked, which sounds pretty socialist.

The reality is that Christianity can fit in both models, whether the master is a capitalist investor or a socialist landowner.

Pornophobia continued

Jesus has some drastic words to say to those caught in sin. If our right eyes or hands cause us to sin, we should cut them off. In reality, whether it’s porn or anger we struggle with, we’d be left maimed if we took Jesus’ words literally.

But if we applied them metaphorically, would we be prepared to do without smart phones and TV for the sake of eternity in the right place?

Yes salvation is by grace but that grace transforms the lives of those it touches, in often drastic ways.

The hope of the gospel is that porn addicts and other sinners can be washed, cleansed and sanctified by the blood of Jesus for a pure and holy transformed life. Amen!

Bubbles

The prevailing theme of the book of Ecclesiastes is the meaninglessness or vanity of life under the sun. For the writer, meaning and significance are as transient as bubbles. And he should have known, because he sought significance in many places.

He sought meaning in wisdom, and although he admitted it was better than folly, he knew that the same end comes to all.

He sought meaning in wine, but was left with a hangover and none the wiser.

He sought meaning in work and found some fulfilment, but was depressed to think he’d have to leave it to someone who didn’t work for it.

He sought meaning in women and denied himself no pleasure, but he was left as empty as ever.

CS Lewis said that desires are made to be fulfilled, such as those for food and sex. But if we have a desire that can’t be fulfilled by this world, we must be made for another world. Solomon came to realise this too: it is in relationship to God that everything else makes sense for He is the one we will meet at life’s end.

Are you ready to meet your maker, and find fulfilment in him?

Refugees

What should the Christian response be to the refugee/migrant/stranger/other? Firstly we must love. In Leviticus, God reminds the Israelites that they were strangers in Egypt (economic migrants) and therefore must love the strangers in the land. In the New Testament Peter reminds us as Christians that we are aliens and strangers in the world, implying the importance of loving other outcasts.

Jesus himself was a refugee in Egypt. He commended love especially for believing strangers as love expressed for him. But our love is not to be limited to the household of faith. No-one’s “illegal” for simply moving to another part of the world, and no-one has a divine right to turn a corner of the world into a ghetto where the other is not welcome.

The open borders of the Roman Empire provided a great opportunity for the gospel to spread amongst many peoples. And the measure of openness of the European Union’s borders has also proved advantageous for the gospel, with many Muslims coming to faith in Christ when most native Europeans remain hostile to the gospel.

So what will you do to welcome the stranger and obey the gospel imperative?

Eunuchs

In Matthew 19, Jesus makes mention of eunuchs. It might seem like an irrelevant subject in an age when no-one’s castrated, but I hope to show that it isn’t.

Jesus talks about eunuchs from birth, made so by men, or who chose so for the sake of God’s kingdom.

First let me define eunuch. It’s someone who’s incapable of sexual intercourse (if not sexual desires). Jesus shows that both nature and nurture have a part to play. Some people are born as we might say today asexual, that even after puberty their sex drive is unnaturally low. Others as we may understand it today may have been abused or desensitised by porn so have developed an incapability to have sex. And finally there are those who chose against marriage and sex for the sake of the kingdom of God.

The word might be old fashioned, but there are still plenty of eunuchs about today, even in our highly sexualised culture. Maybe they would be called asexual nowadays but they still exist. And despite the unpopularity of abstinence, we should uphold the validity of it as an option in our sexually diverse world.

Pornophobia

Definition: porn- sexual sin; phobia- fear.

Pornophobia: the fear of sexual sin

Sexual sin: any sexual activity outside of monogamous, hetrosexual marriage.

Why should we fear porn? Because porn addicts end up in hell (Revelation 21:8). Porn isn’t a lifestyle choice, it’s an offence against a holy God and should be healthily feared for the damage it causes and the consequences it reaps.

Porn is a typical sin in how it spawns, as James describes in his letter. First it is conceived: imperceptible and un-noticeable. Then as it were it grows in the womb and eventually gives birth… to death!

Another illustration of porn’s effect is slavery. Whatever has mastery over us has enslaved us, and porn is a classic example. The only way we can be freed is if God buys our freedom by Christ’s death and resurrection.

This is stuff for unbelievers and professing Christians alike to take seriously, for it is literally a matter of life and death. May the Lord give us power to overcome by his blood! Amen.