FOR MARTIN LUTHER KING DAY

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A Verse for Dr. King

Since Martin Luther King, Jr. was a Baptist minister, it seems proper to honor his day with a passage from the Bible.  In fact, I suspect the following passage will come to the mind of many.

Galatians 3:23-29 (Today’s New International Version

Children of God

Before the coming of this faith, we were held in custody under the law, locked up until the faith that was to come would be revealed. So the law was put in charge of us until Christ came that we might be justified by faith. Now that this faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law.

So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Gentile, neither slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.

Of Christian Treasure

It took many years.  Nonetheless, as I grew older I began to have a greater appreciation for what Dr. King and the people he led and worked with had accomplished.  I also began to understand why Dr. King’s movement was a Christian-based movement.

In two different places in the Bible, we can find this passage.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.

In Luke 12:22-34 (Today’s New International Version), Jesus told His disciples not to worry.  Jesus said a treasure awaits us in heaven that will never fail.  In Matthew 6:19-24, Jesus said to store up our treasures in heaven.   Jesus also told us:

No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.

Because a Christian’s treasure is stored in heaven, the Christian seeks to honor God in everything he or she does.  God commanded Christians to love Him and their fellow human beings.  As Christianity spread, its coming slowly but surely heralded the end of the Age of Slavery.  No one loves his neighbor by enshackling him in the bonds of slavery.

Of Worldly Honor

We do not always honor God in everything we do.  Sometimes we will allow ourselves to be distracted by the concerns of the world and the cares of the flesh.  We rationalize.  We then honor the things of this world.  Consider how the philosopher Alexis De Tocqueville defined honor in his famous book, Democracy in America.

The word “honor” is not always used in the same sense either in French or English.

  1. It first signifies the dignity, glory, or reverence which a man receives from his kind; and in this sense a man is said to acquire honor.
  2. Honor signifies the aggregate of those rules by the assistance of which this dignity, glory, or reverence is obtained. Thus we say that a man has always strictly obeyed the laws of honor; or a man has violated his honor.

(from here)

In neither case is honor necessarily defined by God.  Before they pay proper deference to God, men will sometimes honor (or even idolize) their fellow men.

Tocqueville further explored the concept of honor with respect to the second definition.  He began with this explanation.

Honor is simply that peculiar rule, founded upon a peculiar state of society, by the application of which a people or a class allot praise or blame.   (from here)

Tocqueville noted that a society originates that code of honor which best seems to serve its earthly wants, and he noted a problem.  When men derive a code of honor that serves their earthly wants, that code of honor may justify an abomination.  Such include slavery and serfdom.

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