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Living By Faith

Living By Faith - Episode Six

May 14, 2020 Speaker: Josh DeGroote

Topic: Biblical Justice Passage: Proverbs 20:10–20:10, Deuteronomy 11:1–11:1, 1 Corinthians 1:30–1:31

Introduction

Welcome to the Living By of Faith podcast.  My name is Josh DeGroote, and this is episode number six.  Thanks for checking this out.  This is a podcast where we look at current news and events, theology, practical issues, and a little bit of history from the perspective of the Christian’s life of faith in Christ - I hope you find it helpful, informative, and encouraging.  Let’s get started.

 

Current news and events

Did you know that we are voting for the next president in November? It’s amazing, how Coronavirus news has taken all the oxygen out of the room, even from a presidential race. But there has been some news in recent weeks. Allegations have been swirling that Joe Biden, the Democratic candidate for the President of the United States sexually assaulted a woman who worked on his staff as then Senator of the state of Delaware some 27 years ago. The woman’s name is Tara Reade. And without getting into the details of the story, the thing that has been most interesting about this story is how the mainstream media has been reporting it, or for the most part, not reporting it. 

You might remember back in 2018, when Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, was going through the confirmation process, there were allegations of sexual misconduct from years ago. These allegations came out at a time when the “Me Too” movement was in full steam. The Me Too Movement without question uncovered some nasty stuff that happened for a long time.  Women degraded, mistreated, sexually assaulted, and used by men in powerful positions. But unfortunately, along with the good came a burden of proof that was very weak. What was the burden of proof? We were told to simple “believe women”, and some went so far as to tell us we needed to “believe all women.” So when the allegations against Kavanaugh were leveled, a whole slew of people, ready to “believe all women” jumped on board, even when there was little to no corroborating evidence that Kavanaugh committed any of the offences he was accused of.  At the time, even Joe Biden jumped on the bandwagon and sadly the whole world witnessed a shameful attempt to destroy an imperfect, but otherwise honorable man in Brett Kavanaugh.

So less than two years ago, Joe Biden wanted us to believe women, seemingly without question or evidence. But now Joe Biden does not want us to believe this woman.  What has changed? Well, he is in the crosshairs of accusation. This is what people from a bygone era would call rank hypocrisy.

Just to be clear, as Christians, we should have a serious problem with the unqualified implications of the “believe women” standard. Not because women are less believable than men. We should not just “believe women” in an unqualified way, just like we should not believe brown eyed people in an unqualified way. And this is true because we have a standard from the scripture when it comes to crime and justice. What is the standard? Deuteronomy 17 and elsewhere says, on the evidence of two or three witnesses. Corroborating evidence. The idea that there are different standards for different people is something the bible strictly condemns. Proverbs 20:10 says “Unequal weights and unequal measures are both alike an abomination to the Lord.” When certain groups are given unfair treatment before the bar of justice, it stinks to high heaven before God - whether it is women, men, old, young, black, white, and so forth.We should care about justice. Blind justice. Justice and only justice. And so as the evidence comes out in this case with Joe Biden, we should want for him to be exonerated if he truly did not sexually assault Tara Reade and we should want him to be charged and punished if the evidence proves he did.

But there is one more thing that we as Christians need to remember and this is almost completely lost upon our society. No sin or crime will ultimately go unpunished. There will be perfect, cosmic justice in the end. When Christ returns, he will put everything right. And therefore, nobody ultimately gets away with anything. In this life, often justice is perverted. But God has the final say. Every sin, however egregious or seemingly insignificant will be weighed in the courtroom of eternal justice, with a perfect Judge and Lawgiver, and the punishment will fit the crime. We can rest assured of this. And of course, this leads us to the gospel, where our Lord Jesus Christ bore the sin and sin’s punishment for all who repent and trust in him. This is our only hope. The cross is where God’s perfect justice and mercy kiss.  

Catechesis section

The next section is the catechesis section.  For centuries Christians gave themselves to the practice of learning the doctrines of the Christian faith by way of a catechism.  Catechesis simply means to teach orally or instruct by word of mouth.  This is a practice that is sorely missed in our day and I think we would benefit tremendously by taking it up again, and so I want to do my part to promote the practice of catechesis.  

All that said, I’m making my way through a modern catechism called New City Catechism.  It takes the form of 52 questions and answers with scripture - so one for each week.  You can buy the book online or you can download the app on your phone for free. So we are on question 6 this week:

Question 6: How can we glorify God?

Answer 6: We glorify God by enjoying him, loving him, trusting him, and obeying his will, commands, and law.

Because we were made by GodGod, we exist to live for his glory. And so how do we do this? The first part of the answer might surprise us? We glorify God by enjoying Him. Think about what this is saying. It is calling us to joy, to real and eternal enjoyment. And because God is the greatest and most glorious of all Beings, to enjoy him is to experience the deepest joy imaginable. We do not glorify God by dutifully doing what we don’t want to do. We glorify him by enjoying him. We are commanded: “Delight yourself in the Lord…” 

What follows is we glorify God by loving him.  The first and greatest commandment is to love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength...

Then we glorify God by trusting him. Specifically by trusting what he says.  Personal belief in the scriptures.  Trust in what God reveals of himself. What he reveals to us about us, our need, and his provision for perfect salvation through the Lord Jesus Christ.

And then of course, we glorify God by obeying him. But it is obedience to God that flows from enjoying, loving, and trusting him. Jesus said, “If you love me, you will keep my commandments” (John 14:15). This actually helps to define biblical obedience for us. True obedience springs from enjoyment, love, and trust. And so how can we glorify God? By enjoying him, loving him, trusting him, and obeying his will, commands, and law.

Deuteronomy 11:1 - You shall therefore love the LORD your God and keep his charge, his statutes, his rules, and his commandments always.

 

Christian History Section - The Five Solas of the Reformation

In the history section I want to talk about the Protestant Reformation which started in 1517 in Europe. The Reformation started with Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the castle door in Wittenberg Germany disputing the repulsive practice of indulgences in the Catholic church. But it turned into much more. And it is five sayings that seem to encapsulate the essence of the theological shift which was settled on and came out of the Reformation. 

These five sayings are called the five solas of the Reformation. The word “sola” is Latin for “alone”.  So the five “alones” of the Reformation.  And here they are: Sola Scriptura (scripture), Sola gratia (grace), Sola Fide (faith), Solus Christus (Christ), and Soli Deo gloria (glory to God). For the Reformers the word alone was all-important. And here is why. The Roman Catholic church believed (and still does) that the scriptures are important. They believe faith and grace are necessary for salvation. They believe Christ is the Son of God and Savior. And they believe that God is worthy of glory. They did not agree with the word alone. It was not scripture alone, grace alone, faith alone, etc. The point of contention is in the one word qualifier - “ALONE” - and it really does make a world of difference. So let’s think about each of these, looking at what the Roman Catholic church teaches and how the Reformers responded.

Scripture alone. The Roman Church taught that the foundation for faith and practice was a combination of the scriptures, tradition, and the teachings of hierarchy and the pope; but the Reformers said, “No, our foundation is sola scriptura”Sola Gratia - The Catholic Church taught that we are saved through a combination of God's grace, the merits that we accumulate through good works, and the merits that saints before us have accumulated which can be applied to us; the reformers responded, “sola gratia”.

Sola Fide. The Catholic Church taught that we are justified by faith and the works that we produce. The reformers responded, “No, we are justified by faith alone, which receives the free gift of righteousness”.

Solus Christus. The Catholic Church taught that we are saved by the merits of Christ and the saints, and that we approach God through Christ, the saints, and Mary, who all intercede for us. The Reformers responded, “No, we are saved by the merits of Christ Alone, and we come to God through Christ Alone”. Soli Deo Gloria - The Catholic Church taught that the glory for a sinner’s salvation could be attributed partly to Christ, partly to Mary and the saints, and partly to the sinner himself. The reformers responded, “No, the only true gospel is that which gives all glory to God alone, as is taught in the bible.” 

For the Reformers, this was a matter of possessing the true gospel or a false one. They believed that is is scripture alone which teaches us that we are saved by grace alone, through faith alone, in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone. This is the only hope of the world! 1 Corinthians 1:30-31 says,

30 And because of him you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, righteousness and sanctification and redemption, 31 so that, as it is written, "Let the one who boasts, boast in the Lord."

 

Conclusion

Thanks again for listening to the living by faith podcast.  If you found it helpful, please subscribe, like, and share.  Until next time, “may the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ and the love of God and the fellowship of the Spirit be with you all.  

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