Kudos to Julie Roys of Moody Radio for saying something very true very succinctly on a recent Christianity Today podcast.
Mrs. Roys pointed out that there’s a worldview difference between the mindset of the big-government political left and the mindset of the Bible-believing Christian.
The left maintains that the cause of suffering we see around us is an unequal distribution of goods and services. The Bible teaches that the cause of suffering is sin. And so the left, or present-day political liberalism, and the Bible are telling two different stories about how we got here and what can best fix us.
Where the current mainstream culture and climate would say that our biggest problem is one of opportunity, or that our biggest problem is economic or educational in nature, God says that our biggest problem is that all who aren’t in Christ are dead sinners, evil doers who are hurting each other and deserving of His wrath. God says that our biggest problem is spiritual. Where your average school textbook contributor or public school administrator or newscaster would probably say that this or that policy, party, or person is the fix for what’s most fundamentally wrong in our society, God says that only His Son and His Spirit can resolve what’s most tilted in our world.
This is no small difference we’re talking about, here. We are seeing humanity and creation cast in two very different lights in these narratives.
Guys, we can only ultimately bend our knees to one savior. And make no mistake, we are all bowing to one. I was talking with a Christian from another country a few weeks ago who commented that in Cuba all education of any kind was free. Leaving aside the question of accuracy for a second (nothing is free, folks), what I found so treacherous and possibly deadly in the glee that someone might have at that prospect (“Let’s all move there!”) is this:
The desire for Daddy Government to come and provide for us all.
Hey, what we need most, after all, is education, right? I mean, not education so that we can appreciate the God-made world, but so that we can get a job and then make money so that we can buy stuff, right? That’s what we learned in school, anyway. “Good” education leads to “good” job leads to “good” life. I mean, sure they also told us we were all just atoms that happen to have started breathing (thanks, natural selection!), and so I guess I’m not totally sure how collections of atoms that happen to be breathing buying collections of atoms that don’t happen to be breathing is really “good,” but, well, I won’t think that far ahead.
And the President/Governor/Prime Minister/King is telling us he can provide all that schooling and those jobs and that money. He can give us what we most need. He can fix what’s most wrong.
But no government can be a savior. Samuel gave some pretty prophetic words to the Israelites once:
So Samuel told all the words of the Lord to the people who were asking for a king from him. He said, ‘These will be the ways of the king who will reign over you: he will take your sons and appoint them to his chariots and to be his horsemen and to run before his chariots. And he will appoint for himself commanders of thousands and commanders of fifties, and some to plow his ground and to reap his harvest, and to make his implements of war and the equipment of his chariots. He will take your daughters to be perfumers and cooks and bakers. He will take the best of your fields and vineyards and olive orchards and give them to his servants. He will take the tenth of your grain and of your vineyards and give it to his officers and to his servants. He will take your male servants and female servants and the best of your young men and your donkeys, and put them to his work. He will take the tenth of your flocks, and you shall be his slaves. And in that day you will cry out because of your king, whom you have chosen for yourselves, but the Lord will not answer you in that day.’ But the people refused to obey the voice of Samuel. And they said, ‘No! But there shall be a king over us, that we also may be like all the nations, and that our king may judge us and go out before us and fight our battles.’ And when Samuel had heard all the words of the people, he repeated them in the ears of the Lord. And the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Obey their voice and make them a king.’ Samuel then said to the men of Israel, ‘Go every man to his city.’
1 Samuel 8:10-22
God’s Old Testament people wanted their king. They were just certain that would be the ticket. They were sure that would be their solution. The right cause, the right government, the right earthly hands pulling the right earthly lever, would heal the land and mend the people. They knew it. They were dead set on it.
And then right there with Samuel you can see that it always takes the word of God to remind people how the world really works and who we really are as human beings.
Even when they won’t receive it, only the Word can tell people the God-honest truth about creation, sin, pain, and redemption. There is only one Savior who can rescue us from sin. And sin is what we most need rescuing from.
Samuel had a better story to tell his neighbors, because he had a truer one.
And so do we.