A New Perspective: On Society
Ephesians 1.3–5 NLT
All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ. Even before he made the world, God loved us and chose us in Christ to be holy and without fault in his eyes. God decided in advance to adopt us into his own family by bringing us to himself through Jesus Christ. This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.
I’ve had the privilege to talk to a couple different services about new perspectives this month. We’ve seen a new perspective on LIFE, on the CHURCH, and now today we look at a new perspective on SOCIETY. A we look forward into 2016, we have hopes and dreams for what we want for our society and our world. Many of us can tell our young people tale after tale of how things used to be and reminisce about “better days.”
On this weekend in particular, we remember the great work of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., who fought tirelessly to see an entire society come together. Dr. King “had a dream” that one day we would see the beauty in each other; that we would build a world where everyone would live at their best.
My favorite line from the “I have a dream” speech goes, “I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin but by the content of their character.”
The line about being judged by the content of character is the one of particular importance. Dr. King wanted for his children to be seen by their worth, rather than the lie of inferiority based on anything other than character. To be judged by our character is to be seen at the core of our deepest levels. And it is only at those levels that one can truly be judged.
As Christians, we believe that there is only one Judge. It is only God who can see people for who they really are and only God can distinguish what is truly good from what is truly bad. Our job as faithful people is to remain faithful, to witness to faithfulness, and to aid the work of God in seeing faith born in others. This work cannot be done if we are in a state of divisiveness and judgment. We are working against God if we are trying to do what only He can do.
God is the One who is able to look in upon the hearts of all people and do the great work of salvation. And from our text today we learn that this is the pleasure of God, to bring salvation to the creation that was stolen from Him through the birth of sin and evil into the world.
As estranged children, we are lost and wandering, making the best of a sin-filled world. The mind of society is darkened and its heart twisted, but deep inside it is a flicker of hope, a spark of familiarity that resonates with our Creator. And in His mercy, God has a holy pity on us. His longing is that our hearts would be connected to His and that the creation He made out of love would experience Holy Love once again.
Here is where we see the love of God quite fully, in His desire and working to remove the barriers and obstacles that sin has created. Our Loving Father through His Son, Jesus Christ, is grafting us into His family. This says to us today that this terrible, godless, twisted society is wanted by God, horrors and all. Do we hear that in the Gospel message today?! God WANTS this society. He is not interested in throwing it out but rather to keep it and redeem it. And I want the society that God wants. I want to be a part of whatever great work He decides to do in the midst of this battlefield we call our life. That is the miracle that we are all being invited into, a miracle of redeeming, transforming love.
I simply ask you today, will you see this society as worth saving? Will you adopt those whom God is calling out to make family today? You, too, were once without spiritual house and home and God in His mercy welcomed you in and made you family. So we, too, are to engage this world and give it the love and support that is needed and required in order to live abundantly.
Just as the text says in v.5, “This is what he wanted to do, and it gave him great pleasure.” If you find no pleasure in saving this society, then I invite you into a deeper commitment to Christ, where you will see the true heart of God, beating for a world that has lost its heart beat.
If your concern is only for yourself, then remember the story of the prodigal son, where we find the older brother who stayed at home with his father to be just as lost as the younger brother who ran away. We are a family and our example is our Father, who accepts both the brother who runs away and the brother who stays in contempt. God is transforming His household and in doing so He will transform the world. Will you take part in that and have a new perspective on SOCIETY?