A People Divided

Discussion in 'Thoughts for Today' started by SueJLove, Dec 28, 2015.

  1. There are so many things which divide us as a nation, as a people, and as the children of God. We are divided by hatred, violence, political affiliation, denomination, race, religion, social status, culture, belief systems, etc. We are also divided by greed, love of power, idolatry, spiritual (and physical) adultery, wars of men, lies, deceptions, manipulations, betrayal, rejection, false prophets and teachers of the people, false gospels of men, etc.

    Not all which divides us is bad, though. In fact, one thing is necessary, and that is the gospel of our salvation. It divides the believer from the non-believer in Jesus Christ. It promises eternal life with God in heaven to the repentant sinner who trusts in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior of his life, but it warns of eternal punishment and torment to the one who rejects Jesus Christ, and who chooses his life of sin, instead.

    God calls us, his people, to leave our idols, our desires for wealth and power, and the things that divide us as a people of God that are not of God, such as hatred, unforgiveness, pride, adultery, and all that is called sin in the Bible. We are to turn from our sins, and we are to make the Lord Jesus Christ the Lord and master of our lives, choosing to walk with him in full surrender to his will for our lives and in obedience to his commands.

    A People Divided / An Original Work / July 4, 2011

    Flick’ring torches; hatred; violence;
    Crashing windows; guns of men;
    We are a people divided
    By our love of pow’r and fame.

    Idols marching; they’re in chorus;
    Their goal to destroy the church,
    Tempting us to follow them in
    Pure devotion; them we search.

    Leave your idols. Follow your God.
    Make Him your Lord God and King.
    Be a living witness for Him,
    And your off’rings to Him bring.

    Repent of your sins and worship
    Him; a living sacrifice,
    Put your all upon His altar.
    Leave your old life way behind.

    Flick’ring torches; hatred; violence;
    Crashing windows; guns of men;
    We are a people divided
    By our love of pow’r and fame.

  2. To God’s elect, aliens scattered throughout the provinces of Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia and Bithynia, who have been chosen according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, through the sanctifying work of the Spirit, to be obedient to Jesus Christ and sprinkled with his blood...." -- 1 Peter 1

    This first line is significant. The word "scattered" here is the Greek diaspora, which doesn't mean scattered willy-nilly like dandilion seeds in the wind, but dispersed as a commander disperses his soldiers according to a battle plan.

    Peter speaks not just to the Christians who have been dispersed around the world as he knows it, but also to all of us citizens of Heaven, who have been dispersed around the world, and aliens in this world--sojourners and pilgrims, not native to any of these nations.

    Peter could have said, "...England, China, India, Japan, Nigeria, North Korea..." and his message would be the same. They were and we are citizens of Heaven deployed to the nations of this world as ambassadors of Christ. Like an ambassador of a worldly nation, we are temporary resident. These worldly nations are not our nation; their national histories are not our national history; their cultures are not our culture.

    As you come to him, the living Stone—-rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—-you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ. For in Scripture it says:

    “See, I lay a stone in Zion, a chosen and precious cornerstone, and the one who trusts in him will never be put to shame.”

    Now to you who believe, this stone is precious. But to those who do not believe,

    “The stone the builders rejected has become the cornerstone,”


    “A stone that causes people to stumble and a rock that makes them fall.”

    They stumble because they disobey the message—which is also what they were destined for.

    This is a paradox that Peter presents. A builder in those days knew that the "true and plumb" of the entire building was dependent on the cornerstone being cut perfectly square. The cornerstone had to be the most carefully cut stone of of the entire building, or the building would not stand. Yet, scripture speaks of Christ as being the "uncut" stone, and here "living" means "uncut" because the blades of men have never been put to it and it is as God made it.

    As well, the capstone of an arch or dome must also be carefully cut to lock the structure in place--without a carefully cut capstone, the arch or dome would fall.

    The paradox is: How can an uncut stone serve as a cornerstone or capstone? Certainly the builder would reject it: "This is not a cornerstone, this is just a rock!" An uncut stone will not fit into the building plans of men. Jesus will never fit into the plans of men.

    Yet, the Uncut Stone is the cornerstone--the foundation of truth and justification--and the capstone--the keystone that locks all together--of an entire house of uncut stones.

    And such a house could never be accepted in by the "Home Owners Association" of man.

    But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God.

    Peter started saying that the elect are "dispersed," but he makes the point that even though they are dispersed, they still form a unified Body, a culture, a nation. People who have been in the military or on sports teams have heard this; this is the "team speech."
  3. RDKirk, I am unfamiliar with the idea of cut or uncut stone, so I will not comment on that. I agree, though, that we are aliens in this world, as was Jesus. We don't belong. We don't fit. The sad reality, though, is that if we are truly following Jesus Christ, we don't fit in most "church" gatherings, either, especially in today's western institutional church. In fact, many of their leaders are being trained, by trainers in how to do church, in how to "filter out" those who "don't fit," and how to target those who they feel are a "better fit" for what they are doing. Who are the ones being filtered out? From what I know or have experienced or read, it is those who are serious about God, the pure word of truth, and about living holy lives pleasing to God. And, who are they targeting, i.e. who is their target audience? The people of the world who have little knowledge of scripture who they can mold into their "building" and "fit" with their goals and objectives. But, then, Jesus didn't fit in with the religious and institutionalized religion of his day, either. In fact, it was the religious leaders who persecuted him, and plotted to kill him, and carried out their evil plans against him, so it should not surprise us if we find we don't fit in with institutional Christianity today, either.
  4. More important from 1 Peter is the understand that all of us in Christ around the world serve the same commander. More than thirty years ago, I was walking in Kadena, Okinawa, and met a Christian who had been born (the first time) there, a deacon in his congregation. We conversed, he invited me to a meal, and we talked for hours and hours about deep things--love, hate, honor, justice--all in the light of the knowledge of Jesus. Even though his English was spotty and my Japanese no-existent, we saw eye to eye on everything. We discussed the saints of the New Testament as though they were our own national heroes, and the New Testament our own national history.

    I thought that was all pretty cool--to meet someone on the other side of the planet that I could relate to so well. A few months later when I was back in the States in Washington DC and found myself beginning a similar discussion with a man who in most visible ways was similar to me. But our deep beliefs were utterly different, and his heroes were not my heroes.

    That made me stop and think: Who was really my fellow kinsman, and what was really my nation? Was it the man in the US who believed nothing I believed and did not serve the same Lord? Wasn't the man on the other side of the planet my true kinsman?

    The real problem with Christians in America is we have forgotten where our home is. We've come to treasure this place, forgotten we are merely here for a short time to perform a mission of limited duration. We've "gone native" and come to believe that American culture is our culture and twisted it into our way of congregation and worship. But it is not our culture.

    When I hear a Christian bemoan the fate of "our nation," I ask him: What nation are you talking about? When I hear "our culture," I ask "what culture are you talking about?" My nation is Heaven, my culture is defined by the Lord, and my kinsman includes all the Christians I fellowshipped with in the Far East, Christians I haven't met yet from China, North Korea, Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.
    SueJLove likes this.
  5. Thank you. I appreciate you sharing those thoughts and those words of personal testimony. This world is not my home, I'm just passing through, no matter what nation I live in. My allegiance, as well, is to God and to God alone, not to a nation and its republic.

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