Phil Cox

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Revelation, bad government and civil discourse

9th February 2013

Last's weeks passage included these words:

1 John 4v9-10
This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.

As I said last week, we know that God loves us sacrificially, because He's shown us. He sent His only son, Jesus, to die on the cross so that we might live forever. The ultimate expression of agape, divine, sacrificial love was that God gave Jesus to be sacrificed to atone for our sin.

But how has He shown us?

The apostle John saw the crucifixion. He saw the empty tomb, with the folded grave clothes. He saw the resurrected Christ in a locked room (John 20) when Jesus showed the disciples the wounds in His hands and side. He saw the resurrected Christ again on the shore of the Sea of Galilee (John 21) when He cooked breakfast for the disciples. And I'm sure John witnessed other resurrection appearances. He knew Jesus had risen from the dead, because he'd seen for himself. And John had spent over three years with Jesus, listening to His teaching. He understood from the very lips of Jesus, that Jesus died as an atoning sacrifice for our sins. And John spent the rest of his life telling others about the forgiveness and salvation that's possible through Jesus's sacrifice.

But we weren't there, so how do we know?

We know because the Holy Spirit of God has shown it to us:

1 Corinthians 2:7-10
...we speak of Godís secret wisdom, a wisdom that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory. However, as it is written: "No eye has seen, no ear has heard, no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him" ó but God has revealed it to us by his Spirit...

In the days of John and Paul, Paul could write "None of the rulers of this age understood what he calls "Godís secret wisdom". And in our days, we can say the same thing. Their rulers crucified the Son of God because they didn't understand. Our rulers are, by and large, well-meaning people, but they pervert God's laws and seek to force teachers, adoption agencies, counsellors and others to do the same, because they don't understand.

In the same way, many don't believe the Good News about the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, because they don't understand. And we who believe must not be too quick to criticise them because the only reason we do understand is that God has revealed it to us by his Spirit.

It's impossible to prove or disprove the existence of a creator God. In the same way, It's impossible to prove or disprove the love of God or the resurrection of Jesus Christ, or the atoning nature and purpose of His sacrifice. In previous generations, most of those to whom these things had not been revealed by the Holy Spirit were generally not inclined to argue about them. But that has changed.

It can be very frustrating in our culture, in our generation, because those who don't understand about Jesus Christ are increasingly willing to criticise and mock those who do. They insist that, just because the Good News hasn't been revealed to them, it can't have been revealed to us. Even if they were right about the non-existence of God, they couldn't know it, let alone prove it. And, of course, we know they're wrong. We've seen something they haven't seen. But we mustn't let our frustration cause us to retaliate with contempt towards those who have contempt for us.

Jesus said:

Matthew 5v10-13
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. You are the salt of the earth...

He also said:

Matthew 5v43-13
"You have heard that it was said, ĎLove your neighbour and hate your enemy.í But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that?

Let us thank God for His sovereign choice to reveal the risen Christ to us and give us faith to believe in His atoning blood. And let us pray for those who seek to destroy what remains of God's moral standards in our country. Let us not judge them, because they've not been given the revelation of God's wisdom that we've been given.

It's for God to judge, and He will judge us all.