A Call To Radical Christianity-part 2
Praise the Lord and greetings once again in the precious name of Jesus! when we left off with part 1 of our study on Monday we come to understand that once we’re born again being reconciled to God, there are some things that need to be change in our life or rather the way we live to be God Honoring. In part 2 we’ll pick up our study at A Radical Metaphor, so lets get right into it.
- A RADICAL METAPHOR
Jesus chose a radical metaphor to illustrate the seriousness of the sin of adultery and the complicity of lust in moral failure. Such an exaggerated illustration must surely have captured the attention of those listening to the sermon.
It should not be taken so literally that one should pluck out an eye to prevent looking on another person with lustful intention. Truthfully, even if one were to remove an eye, it would still be possible to lust; should one amputate a hand, the possibility to sin would still be present in the body. These extreme examples served as visual pictures of the im-portance of the lesson Jesus shared on moral purity and the necessity of faithfulness to the marriage vows.
- Metaphor Is in Contrast to the Tenor of the Sermon
The Sermon on the Mount is best known for the Beatitudes. After “blesseds” and positively pronounced outcomes, Jesus continued teaching, coming to these passages that must have appeared quite different in the context of the sermon.
The thought of plucking out an eye or chopping off a hand must have prompted a vis-ceral reaction, thus increasing the effectiveness of the metaphor. Sin cannot be coddled and cuddled as a plaything. Lust must not be entertained, and adultery must be banished from our minds and every consideration. Even the casual observation or lingering look must be stopped and evaluated lest the look turn into lust and the cycle of sin gain power over our actions.
- Playing for Keeps
In the light of eternal judgment, the marriage vows and obedience to God’s Word in areas of moral purity are tremendously important. In the words of Jesus, personal injury is preferred to the judgment of destruction. Visual impairment is a better choice than the soul’s destruction through lust and immorality. The call of radical Christianity is a call of commitment to God’s Word and His righteous commandments.
- A RADICAL COMMITMENT
A commitment to lifelong marriage is becoming a radical idea in contemporary culture. A decreasing majority values traditional marriage vows, and some enter into the sacred ceremony with no intention of remaining with the same partner until one of them dies. A radical commitment to fidelity and the shared nuptial promises must continue to be taught in the church and esteemed by followers of Jesus.
- Living in a World of Easy Divorce
Many view marriage as temporary and conditional. “As long as” things work out. “If” I feel loved. “Until” someone else comes along who makes me feel special. So it is no surprise that two people who once seemed so in love and who freely pledged lifelong vows to one another can call it quits and walk away from the covenant of marriage.
Divorce in the world at large. In the 1950s divorce was rare; when it happened in the community, there were whispered rumors concerning the event. Society frowned on div-orce, and married couples were expected to “work it out.” However, throughout the sex-ual revolution and social upheaval of the ’60s and ’70s, attitudes about marriage and divorce began to shift.
An important and alarming statistic is that many individuals are avoiding marriage alto-gether, opting for cohabitation or open living arrangements. Where 72 percent of adults (age eighteen and older) were married in 1960, today slightly more than half are married Increasingly, marriage is devalued in the culture by embracing live-in partners, provid-ing easy “no fault” divorce, and changing laws allowing same-sex unions. It is time for radical commitment to biblical values and moral instruction.
Divorce in the church. The church is full of redeemed people who have been forgiven and restored and who are maturing in the Word of God and empowered by the Spirit of God. Before coming to God, these people had been broken by sin and needed salvation and healing. Though we would like to think of the church as vastly different from the world around us, it will always be colored by the conditions of the culture.
The composition of the church is a reflection of society. As divorce and broken relation-ships have become more prevalent in the world, we can expect the same problems to present themselves in the church. It is our responsibility to love people, to teach people God’s plan for marriage and family, and to bring them to a place of spiritual conversion where they may find the fulfillment in life God has envisioned for them. Because we are in a broken world of sin, there will be occasions when divorce will come against the mar-riages of church families. In those cases we must look to the Scripture for guidance.
There may be reasons for separation, including physical or emotional abuse, drug or alcohol addictions, or other extreme conditions. In these circumstances one should seek spiritual advice and professional counsel to bring reconciliation. The Bible allows consid-eration of divorce for moral infidelity as in the case of fornication or adultery. It is impos-sible for anyone outside the marriage to completely understand a situation and fully ass-ess the guilt or blame for a failed relationship. We should show love and support along with offering prayer for and encouragement to those involved in a divorce-threatened environment.
- Until Death Do Us Part
Just because divorce is prevalent in the culture and evident in the church does not warrant changing our position or teaching on the subject. The traditional wedding vows used in most marriages conclude with the statement “until death do us part.” When a couple is joined in matrimony, there is a spiritual union where God is called to witness the joining of two individuals. Jesus taught they would become “one flesh” and declared, “What there-fore God hath joined together, let not man put asunder” (Mark 10:9).
Paul said, “For this cause shall a man leave his father and mother, and shall be joined unto his wife, and they two shall be one flesh” (Ephesians 5:31). When this union takes place, there is no division of “one flesh.” Marriage is intended to be for life.
How should we respond to those who are seeking divorce or who have been divorced? We must show grace, understanding, and counsel. We should offer prayer to those who see divorce as the only option for them. At the same time we must teach biblical principles to continually encourage those who marry to make it a lifelong commitment. For those who are in difficult relationships, we can encourage restoration, forgiveness, and healing in their brokenness.
God has high standards of morality and expects His followers to rise to the challenge. He will enable us and equip us for success in marriage and moral conduct. An individual who has failed should look to Him in repentance and trust in Him for forgiveness and restoration.
Jesus is not content to leave us in our sins or on our old path of self destructive lifestyles. His call is radical, immediate, and often intensive, but simply stated, “Come, follow Me. ” Jesus invited the disciples, “If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and takeup his cross, and follow me” (Matthew 16:24). He might well have said, “Come, be like Me!” It is an enormous prospect and a lifelong challenge.
This concludes this weeks study of A Call To Radical Christianity, have a Blessed rest of the week an have a “MERRY CHRISTMAS” and I’ll see you again next week!