Tuesday, December 8, 2015

One God over All (Ephesians 4:6)

“…one God and Father of all who is over all and through all and in all.” (Ephesians 4:6, NASB95)

Our country's Pledge of Allegiance currently has the words “under God” in it. Though the earliest pledge by Colonel George Balch, a veteran of the Civil War (1923), did include giving our hearts to God, the first adopted pledge did not include such wording. However, over time as outside forces appeared to threaten the fabric of the country certain entities started adding such wording. Then by a joint act of Congress, the words “under God” were signed into law on Flag Day, June 14, 1954, by President Dwight Eisenhower.

Now, a half-century later, legal challenges continue to mount to not only strike these words but to strike all visible monuments and recognized wording or prayers reflecting or referring to Christianity, Judaism, the Ten Commandments, and symbols such as crosses and nativities from public lands, commentaries, government meetings, and whatever other arena they might attack. In a country that once was a haven for the religiously persecuted, now having faith in God has become cause itself for persecution in a variety of forms.

Contrast that to it not being uncommon today to see bumper stickers that say “coexist,” “believe” or even “unite.” But when you look at them you see that the letters and surrounding icons are those that are representative of various world religions or beliefs. Their message is that as humans we are to embrace all humans as one and to accept their beliefs as equally valid and even correct “for them.” It would be great if behind this was a recognition that all men were created by God in His image and bear what is uniquely given to man by Him regardless of whether he believes it or not. But these stickers and those who mount them on their vehicles or carry them in their hearts do not come from this viewpoint as much as from a position that all paths are right as long as you believe it. They all imply that there is a common good and they seem to promote a common human welfare, and since there is no single authoritative rule giver (in their minds) all rules and paths are equally valid. Of course, they are equally valid as long as you don’t hold to a position that excludes all of the others as being truth and truthful.

It is because of this intolerance for absolute tolerance that Christians today are not tolerated in the public arena. It is because a minority of voices have gained a popular hearing with businesses, politicians, and courts that Christians are even being restricted in what they can do and say in the public square or even in the course of their business. Even today in our current election cycle there are politicians of Christian faith who are sharing their concerns about issues of abortion, marriage, and even Muslim immigration who are being called bigoted and un-American. Because of their faith they cannot join with others in embracing positions which are inconsistent with their faith, and for that they are being ostracized.

While much of the world may be denying God and seeking to quiet and even persecute those who do, the truth of Scripture remains, and that is that God Himself has declared that He is one. There is no other God beside Him. All others gods are false. Even the power of the evil one, or the god of this world, is subject to the power of the one true God.

This stands as a message for judgment for all who reject Him, but it also stands as a reminder of the incredible unity that those who believe have with one another. Not being a divided God, when we are united in Him we are united as one into our God who is one. Every single believer is united in Him, and He is in them. While the world might seek a superficial oneness that tolerates everything and in the end stands for nothing. But being in Him we stand with our God who does not change and who will accomplish all that He set out to do which even includes a final end where there is eternal separation of those who names are in the Book of Life because of His Son, entering His presence forever, and those who are not who receive eternal judgment and separation. In light of this, there really is no choice for me. It is far better to belong to God and be held by Him though persecuted, than to be adored by men and judged forever.

No comments: