Tuesday, March 4, 2008

The Power of Christ Compels You

I wrote this one in September 2004

So, as it turns out, Christian non-resistance is misunderstood. Everyone thinks of a non-resistant as someone who removes themselves from society and doesn't care about anyone. This couldn't be farther from the truth.

I was just reading in the new Relevant Magazine about Soul Survivor. This church in England took a ton of people into (I think it was) Manchester and did good in the community. They did it for days on end. Throughout this time the crime in the city was . . . zero. After they left the crime rate dropped 40% from before they were there. That is non-resistance in action. As it says in scripture:

Titus 2
7In everything set them an example by doing what is good. In your teaching show integrity, seriousness 8and soundness of speech that cannot be condemned, so that those who oppose you may be ashamed because they have nothing bad to say about us.

Romans 12
17Do not repay anyone evil for evil. Be careful to do what is right in the eyes of everybody. 18If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God's wrath, for it is written: "It is mine to avenge; I will repay," says the Lord. 20On the contrary:
"If your enemy is hungry, feed him;
if he is thirsty, give him something to drink.
In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head." 21Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.

Etc, etc. The scriptures continue to admonish us into a lifestyle of actively serving God and doing good to make out light "shine before all men that they might praise the Father in Heaven." It says that nobody will go against good, lest they be put to shame. God, through us, is a light to the world, and we ought to be slaves to righteousness so that good will continue to shine through us and evil will be resisted by evil, not through our carnal ways as man knows. Not through evil.

The bible says all the world knows is evil, and those who are against non-resistance agree and say that this is the only way we can stop them, and this is the only thing they will understand - that is by being violent to them. They say to root out evil we must become the greatest evil. This is wrong. God's power is evident in our weakness. God is shown in our good works. The people will not recognize the good from anyone but God, because all they know is evil.

God came to this earth as a human and displayed the power of God in the most humiliating, most weak way ever. He hung on a cross. That is the power of God shown in this world. Jesus didn't come riding on a horse, He didn't insist on putting on a strong face and imposing his power over everyone else. He became a servant to show the power of God. He did not take it on himself to make himself equal with God, even though He was God, but became a servant.

Christianity in essence is showing this power of God in the world around us, and that's what non-resistance is. It is the power of God, and not the evil of man.

Leo Tolstoy was right when he said of non-resistance that if it was true, the Church should grasp to it and live this way. Contrastingly, if it is false, they should answer it and put it away for good. But the Church is apathetic to the words of Christ, so they ignored it entirely. The government suppressed it so they can continue their coercive control over their subjects.

But we are Christians, and our freedom is not in this world. Even while Paul was in chains in a dungeon, he was more free than any American without Christ. And this is the freedom we need to stand for, and this is the power of God we need to exhibit.

As Romans says, we need to cast off the dead self and become alive in Christ. Give up ourselves as living sacrifices, pleasing and holy before God. (This is just before the passage I already posted about not resisting evil with evil).

This is the essence of Christian faith: To live like Christ.

(I have tons of scripture paraphrases and quotes in this text, but I am too lazy to bring them all out and type them in.)

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