Coffee, Theology and Jesus

working out our messy faith over coffee

Tag: Government

CTJ# 28: Capital Punishment Killed Jesus

This week we tackle the topic of Christians and capital punishment.  Being undecided at the start of the episode, Rob discusses the topic with Tim to think through how the death penalty lines up with the teachings of Jesus.  Tune in and get engaged.  If you are tired of typing out our long URL, you can find us at www.ctjpodcast.com

As Always:

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Kicking God Out!

Tim stated in his status today:
“Well as expected we have politicized the CT shootings. Conservatives blame the “absence” of God in schools, and liberals blame guns. There you go, keep fighting for your agendas, that’s definitely what we want to see. Finger pointing, blame games, rhetoric. it’s insane.

P.S my dear brothers and sisters in Christ. God goes where He pleases, He is God. We didn’t “kick” him out of anything. Besides, the Bible tells us that God looks at the heart of men, not the outward deeds. We can pray all we want in school publicly, but if it’s out of forced religious duty then it doesn’t matter to God. He wants our hearts.”

First I would like to say our hearts, prayers, thoughts, and love go out to all the suffering families.

But I would like to follow up on Tim’s points and elaborate a bit.  I don’t care about the political agenda of either side to be quite honest so if you are looking for a politically charged post, please move on.  I do care about the notion of “Kicking God Out.”  My first question is “where does God reside?”

Where Does God Reside

“Heaven,” shouts an excited child.
“AMERICA” declares a passionate patriot.
“Among the children of Israel,” explains an avid reader of the OT (Exodus 29:45).
“The Temple,” states one reading the dedication of Solomon’s Temple (2 Chronicles 7:16).

What are we told, in this age that we are currently living, where God lives?  Acts 7:48 tells us not in a temple made with hands.  1 Corinthians 3:16 says, “Know ye not that ye are the temple of God, and that the Spirit of God dwelleth in you?”

God dwells in the Temple but not a physical temple.  Any person saved through faith in Christ is become “temple of God” and is the dwelling place of the Spirit of God.

So where does God reside?  In those who have been saved through faith in Christ Jesus.

Kicking God Out

Since we answered the question of where does God live/dwell then it’s easier to answer the statement that “we kicked God out of our country/schools/etc.”  Did we?  If I was at Starbucks and stated to the gentlemen next to me, “See that guy over there delivering tortillas to Qdoba?  I just kicked him out of here!”  The gentlemen may rightly state, “I don’t ever remember seeing that man in here?”  That is basically what we are saying when we claim that we are kicking God out of this country.  God doesn’t live in schools, in church buildings, in the Senate or Congress, in the White House, in stores, or in countries.  God lives in people.  So unless we are actively removing the Holy Spirit from individuals we haven’t kicked God out of anything.  I understand the concept that we remove the 10 Commandments from walls and declare “SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE!” at every opportunity but that isn’t removing God.  God isn’t a person confined to a particular location He is the I AM.  I strongly disagree with “we pushed God out of our country so He took His hands out.”  God doesn’t promise protection to any nation besides Israel but somehow we get the notion that because the USA was founded on “Christian principles” we are a nation blessed by God?  In the NT there is the idea of God’s protection over a group of people but it isn’t a nation.  It is the church of God.  1 Corinthians 5:5 says “To deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus.”  Paul is telling them that they need to excommunicate the man who had been sleeping with his step-mother and that he should be handed over to Satan. Obviously not literally, as I firmly believe it is impossible to be controlled by Satan if you have the Holy Spirit, but into His realm outside the protection of the local church.  So unless we have been kicking God out of individuals then no one has kicked God out of anything, publicly.

However, I do agree with the sentiment that has been expressed that we shove God out of every area of our lives and then wonder where He is during tragedy.  Read the story of Job and take a lesson on dependence upon God in ALL circumstances of life.   This is different from the public removal of God into the personal removal of God.  As Christians, we can do this.  We are the dwelling place of God which means He should have access to every area of our lives.  But, what about the movies I watch? What about the management of my time?  What about the places I go?  What about the things I say? My job/school decisions?  It seems we push God out of active involvement in our lives and then wonder why things go wrong.  That’s not to say a Christian solidly grounded in God will not experience hurt, pain, sadness, or storms.  Actually, on the contrary he/she will probably experience more but when you are grounded in God the joy is unwavering and peace is overwhelming.  One of my favorite verses is Proverbs 23:26, “My son, give me thine heart.”

As a nation, it is impossible to “kick God out.”  Sure it is possible to deviate from the “Christian principles” but that won’t cause national tragedies.  God doesn’t punish anyone else for another’s sins.  But privately, we (at least I) have all been victim of pushing God out of certain areas of our lives.   When that happens we won’t enjoy that relationship we have, complaints will flow off our lips, and our joy will diminish.

“These things have I spoken unto you, that my joy might remain in you, and that your joy might be full.”  John 15:11

Christ gave us the key to joy in the preceding verses, especially vs 5.  One of the “I am” statements of Christ.  If we are abiding (remaining) in Him our joy will be full.

-Rob

 

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