Tag Archive | racism

Unrest and Our Rest

I have friends that are cops.  I have friends that are black.  I have friends that think COVID-19 is a hoax and friends that I couldn’t coax out of their house if I tried.

Friends, we are in a time of unrest; economic, social, political, and physical.  I’m not trying to be dour or dark.  I believe that is an accurate articulation of our current time.  And yet people are pining for peace and rest.

Where is this peace and rest to be found?

Jesus purchased peace with God for us and will soon bring an eternal peaceful reign to the world but Jesus didn’t purchase a sleeping pill for the masses.  And He doesn’t lull us to sleep. We are to neither be restless nor so settled that we don’t stir.  We are to be a blessing to the cities and towns and villages that we dwell in even while we are exiles and sojourners here (Jer. 29:7).  So, we are to care and be wise but thankfully our eggs are not placed in the basket of this world. 

Jesus said. “Come to Me all who are restless and tired and I will give you rest for your souls.”  Jesus doesn’t, however, call us to just rest and relax.  He doesn’t call us to be lethargic but to love. And thankfully Jesus empowers us to do this.  It is as we abide in Him that we bear much fruit.

The truth is, we are responsible to love and not just be lethargic to everything that’s going on.  The truth is, we’re powerless but Jesus empowers us by the Spirit.  The truth is, we live in a place that is very often godless and chaotic but Christ is the Lord.  The truth is, many are restless but in Christ, all can find rest.  The truth is, we need a savior, this world won’t change on its own. 

Brutality to blacks is an unacceptable evil that Messiah Jesus will judge.  Brutality to cops, looting of stores, disregard for people, and even property, is evil and will be judged.  There will come a day of rest because there will come a day when King Jesus soon returns and puts a stop to the restless tyranny of sin and Satan’s reign (2 Pet. 3).  Jesus will destroy the destroyers of the earth (Rev. 11:18).

Until then, the LORD patiently waits in love for people to repent (2 Pet. 3:9).  And so, until that Day, let’s love and share the LORD’s love and lovingly fight for the cause of all those that are oppressed and hurting.  And let’s show them that all hearts are restless until they rest in Him. 

Let’s pray for people to find peace in the One that was oppressed and afflicted for them. 

“O my God, incline Your ear and hear. Open Your eyes and see our desolations … For we do not present our pleas before you because of our righteousness, but because of Your great mercy.” (Dan. 9:18).

Slavery and its defeat

At the time of the writing of the New Testament, in the Roman Empire, there were essentially three classes of people: The rich, the slaves (about half the population), and freemen. These “freemen” were free in that they were not owned by anyone, yet they often went hungry because of their “freedom.” Whereas, slaves sometimes had good masters and sometimes had bad masters.

Slavery in Rome was not what it was like in America 150 years ago.

“In Paul’s day, slavery was not based on race. Additionally, slaves had any number of duties and responsibilities, ranging from farming, mining, and milling to cooking, teaching, and managing. Furthermore, slaves were not infrequently freed from the shackles of slavery (a process known as manumission).

There is no mistaking the fact, however, that slavery in the Greco-Roman world was degrading, dehumanizing, and downright disgusting. Taken together, slaves were perceived and treated as property and were frequently subject to unimaginable punishments based on their maters’ malevolent whims. Indeed, Roman historian Cassius Dio tells of an especially cruel slave owner, Vedius Pollio, who had slaves who displeased him thrown into a pool of flesh-eating eels.”[1]

So, what was slavery’s defeat? Harriet Beecher Stowe said:

“The Christian master was directed to receive his Christianized slave, ‘NOT now as a slave, but above a slave, a brother beloved [Philemon 16];’ and, as in all these other cases, nothing was said to him about the barbarous powers which the Roman law gave him, since it was perfectly understood that he could not at the same time treat him as a brother beloved and as a slave in the sense of [unconstitutional] Roman law.

When, therefore, the question is asked, why did not the apostles seek the abolition of slavery, we answer, they did seek it. They sought it by the safest, shortest, and most direct course which could possibly have been adopted.”[2]

Paul’s system founded on Jesus the Christ—Jesus who came to serve and not be served—subverts any form of human oppression.[3] So, we see Paul lays the necessary groundwork for the emancipation proclamation. The gospel has changed the basic structure of the way Paul looks at the world and it should change the way we see the world as well. Read More…

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