1 Corinthians 12 is a fascinating chapter in the Bible. Here the great Apostle Paul describes how God equips us to spread the Gospel, what Christians must do when they come together and work in unity for the cause of Christ.
First the apostle gives us a sampling of the gifts God gives us through the Holy Spirit.
7 But the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each one for the profit of all:8 for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, 9 to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, 10 to another the working of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of spirits, to another different kinds of tongues, to another the interpretation of tongues.
Then using the human body as an analogy, Paul describes our unity in the cause of Christ.
12 For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. 13 For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit. 14 For in fact the body is not one member but many.
But what holds the body together? In the 1 Corinthians 13, Paul describes the greatest gift God gives us through the Holy Spirit, the gift of love. Love is what hold people — what bonds people — together in unity.
The Bible has much to say about love. Because it is so beautifully written, 1 Corinthians 13 is perhaps the most well known chapter in the Bible, and this chapter, following 1 Corinthians 12 , speaks of love, the love that holds together the body of Christ. In this Age of Apostasy however, I fear we need to reflect upon of another passage.
Not enough of us strive to bring up our children in the Christian faith. Not enough Christians work to strengthen each others faith. We do not devote ourselves to the spread of the Gospel. We spend too little time in prayer and in the study of God’s Word. Have we forgotten that God is love, that He demands that we love each other?
7 Beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God; and everyone who loves is born of God and knows God.8 The one who does not love does not know God, for God is love.9 By this the love of God was manifested in us, that God has sent His only begotten Son into the world so that we might live through Him.10 In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.11 Beloved, if God so loved us, we also ought to love one another.12 No one has seen God at any time; if we love one another, God abides in us, and His love is perfected in us.13 By this we know that we abide in Him and He in us, because He has given us of His Spirit.14 We have seen and testify that the Father has sent the Son to be the Savior of the world.
15 Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God.16 We have come to know and have believed the love which God has for us. God is love, and the one who abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.17 By this, love is perfected with us, so that we may have confidence in the day of judgment; because as He is, so also are we in this world.18 There is no fear in love; but perfect love casts out fear, because fear involves punishment, and the one who fears is not perfected in love.19 We love, because He first loved us.20 If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for the one who does not love his brother whom he has seen, cannot love God whom he has not seen.21 And this commandment we have from Him, that the one who loves God should love his brother also.
What hold the body together? Love. For God is love, and His love is the greatest of His gifts to us. Because He loves us, He demands that we love each other for love is also the greatest gift we can give to each other.
Why not say more? When I read their comments at punishing children, it quickly became obvious that the people whose opinions I care about think violetwisp is being absurd.
So here is my reply. We make choices. Then we deal with the consequences, but some people grow up thinking they are exempt from suffering the consequences of their bad choices. Those people try to shift the consequences of their bad choices onto others. The enslavement of others is an extreme example of such behavior.
Children who receive proper discipline know that it is not right to make others suffer the consequences of their bad choices. That’s the basic difference between a responsible citizen and one who isn’t. The responsible citizen accepts personal responsibility. It also seems to be a big difference between the Modern Liberal and a Conservative. Hence that is probably why Modern Liberals and Conservatives divide so predictably on this issue.
Anyway, violetwisp has given me a good excuse to post some Bible verses.
To our modern ears, the Bible can make discipline sound harsh.
15 The rod and rebuke give wisdom, But a child left to himself brings shame to his mother.
Moreover, the point of proverb is to encourage parents to save their children, not hurt them. The point is to get a child’s attention so they will listen.
When I was little, I was a rascal. My mother was a small woman. Once she realized spanking me with her hand hurt her hand more than my butt, she began using a wooden brush. Still, I was trouble and had an uncontrolled temper. When I threw a toy gun (made with metal in those days) and hit another child, my father used his belt on my butt. After that, I finally began to understand the consequences of bad behavior.
Anyway (again), here is the first link (to my first comment in the thread) to the comments in the thread violet that violetwisp extracted a fragment of one of my comment on her post.
Here is the full text of the comment that the fragment violetwisp quoted came from.
We are works in progress. We each have to deal with our problems as we best know how.
Did I discipline my children as well as I should have? No. I have a temper, and the ability of my eldest when she was two to set it off scared me. So I would have been stupid to wait until I was furious. Did that once. Did not hurt the kid, but I was thoroughly ashamed that I was about to lose it. It is important to be meek.
Just the same, when my wife was home alone with two kids, she had to do something with the older child or she could not take care of the new-born. She finally conceded the necessity of punishment (spanking was not something she liked either). Mostly she just stuck the two-year old in the backyard (fenced) until the child agreed to behave. Even with a shaded patio deck, Houston, TX can be quite uncomfortable without air-conditioning. Watching that stubborn, wilful little girl cry hurt my lady more than it did my eldest. Still, it worked.
There are spankings, and then there are very disagreeable alternatives that are just as punishing. Frankly, I prefer what my wife did, but it takes more patience, and the weather has to cooperate.
Why was the oldest misbehaving? Part of the reason is that she had lost her status as the center of mommy’s attention. So mommy included her as much as she could in taking care of her sister. Still, two-year old children will act up, and sometimes the “reason” for their bad behavior is they just want to do something they know they are not suppose to do. Even a two-year old child can be a control freak, and that kid was smart. She is an MD now. (from => https://violetwisp.wordpress.com/2017/02/10/breaking-news-more-bible-translation-errors-discovered/#comment-30008)
When we think of being charitable to our neighbor, most Christians do in fact think of The Parable of the Good Samaritan. What is important is that when we read this parable we suddenly realize that everyone is our neighbor. There is no one God does not expect us to love.
25 And behold, a certain lawyer stood up and tested Him, saying, “Teacher, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 He said to him, “What is written in the law? What is your reading of it?”
27 So he answered and said, “ ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your strength, and with all your mind,’ and ‘your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 And He said to him, “You have answered rightly; do this and you will live.”
29 But he, wanting to justify himself, said to Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”
30 Then Jesus answered and said: “A certain man went down from Jerusalem to Jericho, and fell among thieves, who stripped him of his clothing, wounded him, and departed, leaving him half dead.31 Now by chance a certain priest came down that road. And when he saw him, he passed by on the other side.32 Likewise a Levite, when he arrived at the place, came and looked, and passed by on the other side.33 But a certain Samaritan, as he journeyed, came where he was. And when he saw him, he had compassion.34 So he went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine; and he set him on his own animal, brought him to an inn, and took care of him.35 On the next day, when he departed, he took out two denarii, gave them to the innkeeper, and said to him, ‘Take care of him; and whatever more you spend, when I come again, I will repay you.’36 So which of these three do you think was neighbor to him who fell among the thieves?”
37 And he said, “He who showed mercy on him.”
Then Jesus said to him, “Go and do likewise.”
Why a good Samaritan? The Jews and the Samaritans were notorious for detesting each other. The Jews still attempted keep the law, but the Samaritans had fallen away and intermarried with non-Jews. Thus, Jesus contrasted the behavior of a couple of Jews who knew the law and disobeyed with a Samaritan whose conscience guided him to obey the law.
So what is the lesson of the parable? When we look around the world, we see seeming endless numbers of people suffering. What does this parable tell us to do about that? Well, if we draw the wrong conclusion from The Parable of the Good Samaritan, we can become hopeless. What can we do? How are we suppose to love all the people in the world as we love our self? That’s not possible. Which of us can solve all of our own problems? How are we suppose to relieve the entire world of all its suffering? We cannot.
With dreams of Utopia and out of guilt, many of us call upon government to end human suffering. These think of the immense power of large numbers of people working together. They think that if we can just get everyone to work together we can solve all the world’s problems. That is, for the sake of fulfilling a dream they deify (or make an idol of) the government. That misses the point of the parable. With this parable, Jesus calls upon each of us, not bureaucrats in some government, to care about each other. When the good Samaritan came across someone in trouble, he gave from his own resources what help he could. Does anyone actually think God will admit us into heaven just because we paid our taxes?
So it is the early church organized charities. Here are some examples.
Act 6:1-7 describes the organization of the first charity to help widows.
2 Corinthians 8-9 speaks of a collection for needy Christians in Jerusalem and exhorts the brethren to be cheerful givers.
1 Timothy 5:3-16 provides the guidance the Apostle Paul gave a protegé, Timothy, as to how a church should support needy widows.
Consider again the lawyer’s question. “Who is my neighbor?” Does it make a difference that the man the good Samaritan helped was a stranger? Yes. So long as we remain in this life Jesus does not expect us to treat our husbands, our wives, our children, our relatives, our friends, and members of our community the same way we treat complete and total strangers. That was the amazing thing about the good Samaritan. He actually helped a stranger.
What We Owe The Stranger
Consider that good Samaritan. He had other business to attend to. So he did not stay with the injured man. Instead, he gave the innkeeper two denarii and left the stranger he had helped in someone else’s care. The good Samaritan had other obligations that had a higher priority than the personal care of a stranger. Still, he did what he could.
Because we are all the image bearers of our Creator in one sense we are all neighbors. Nevertheless, we each have greater obligations to family, friends, and the people in our community than we do to strangers. Since the word stranger occurs over a 100 times in the NKJV, we can safely say the Bible makes a clear distinction.
33 ‘And if a stranger dwells with you in your land, you shall not mistreat him. 34 The stranger who dwells among you shall be to you as one born among you, and you shall love him as yourself; for you were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God.
That’s why the Bible calls upon us to allow the stranger who dwells among us to become one of us. Moreover, the Bible reminds us with some irony, to take care of our own.
35 ‘If one of your brethren becomes poor, and falls into poverty among you, then you shall help him, like a stranger or a sojourner, that he may live with you. 36 Take no usury or interest from him; but fear your God, that your brother may live with you. 37 You shall not lend him your money for usury, nor lend him your food at a profit. 38 I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, to give you the land of Canaan and to be your God.
Note, however, that when a stranger lived among the Jews, the Jews expected that stranger to conform to their customs. So over time that stranger became Jewish or he had to leave.
Strangers might receive sympathy, but they were not trusted.
37 “Then the righteous will answer Him, saying, ‘Lord, when did we see You hungry and feed You, or thirsty and give You drink?38 When did we see You a stranger and take You in, or naked and clothe You?39 Or when did we see You sick, or in prison, and come to You?’40 And the King will answer and say to them, ‘Assuredly, I say to you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these My brethren, you did it to Me.’
How much should we sacrifice to help others? That’s a personal choice.
We have no right to sacrifice what belongs to others. We don’t starve our own to feed the hungry. We don’t take the clothes off our children to clothe others. When we nurse the sick, we strive to avoid getting sick. When visit prisoners, we don’t stage jailbreaks. When we take in strangers, we don’t give up our own culture and beliefs or risk invasion and conquest.
Because we each belong to God, we have no business carelessly sacrificing our self. We must take care of our self so that we might serve as long as we can.
Go and do likewise (lifereference.wordpress.com): Here the author examines the last two verses from the parable, calling these lines the most fundamental of all of the teachings of Christ. Effectively, this is the minimum we must get out of the parable.
Who Crosses Your Path? (secretplacesofelelyon.wordpress.com): This post explains how some can twist the parable into a guilt trip.
Syrian refugees and Christian values? (insanitybytes2.wordpress.com): This post deals most directly with the refugee issue. It also has the least to say about the parable, but it says more than enough to justify including it here.
Piper always seems to have this idea that our authority and leadership must always be worthy, qualified, above us, and to some extent that is true, but consider marriage for example. One could simple declare one’s spouse unworthy and unqualified, but that kind of denies the hidden truth that you chose them. It takes some humility to see it, but who really is the one with poor judgment here? And if your own judgment is so flawed, should you really be pointing fingers at someone else? As the saying goes, “don’t be too critical of your husband or wife’s choices, you were one of them.” (from here)
Since quite ably attacks the faith-based matters in her post, I decided I would consider a more practical problem here. What is a qualified president?
What drives the qualifications we expect from our elected officials? If you were hiring an employee, how would you decide what qualifications that employee needs? Would you come up with a job description? Would you not your list the qualifications of your new employee based upon what you expect that employee to do?
So how should we come up with a job description for our president? Well, don’t we have this thing we call our constitution, The United States Constitution? Doesn’t that document describe the functions of our president?
Article II describes how we select our president and our president’s primary powers and responsibilities. Of course, whatever the president does generally requires money. Since Congress controls spending, that makes Congress the most powerful branch of government. That makes Article I, Section 8 important to the president’s job description. Article I, Section 8 lists the things that Congress has the power to make laws about, and as the head of the executive branch, the president is obligated to enforce those laws.
Before he enter on the Execution of his Office, he shall take the following Oath or Affirmation:—”I do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will faithfully execute the Office of President of the United States, and will to the best of my Ability, preserve, protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.” (from Article 11, Section 1)
Effectively, the president of the United States should be someone we trust to take that oath and fulfill it. The man must be worthy of our trust and competent to execute the duties assigned to him by the Constitution. Is Donald Trump such a man? If not, why not? Before we select an employee, perhaps we need to qualify ourselves to select that employee.
Because we need them to be trustworthy, we require the president and all the officials of our government to take an oath. Are we trustworthy? Is it reasonable to expect people who are not trustworthy to select trustworthy people to lead them?
Because we need them to know what they are doing, we want the president and all the officials of our government to be competent people. Do we know what we are doing? Do we understand what our government is supposed to do? Is it reasonable to expect the incompetent to select competent people to lead them?
When we started this post we said we would focus on the practical problem of selecting a president. Nevertheless, because the Bible provides practical wisdom, here is a quote from it.
7 “Judge not, that you be not judged.2 For with what judgment you judge, you will be judged; and with the measure you use, it will be measured back to you.3 And why do you look at the speck in your brother’s eye, but do not consider the plank in your own eye?4 Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye’; and look, a plank is in your own eye?5 Hypocrite! First remove the plank from your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.
6 “Do not give what is holy to the dogs; nor cast your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn and tear you in pieces.
We get the leadership we deserve. So long as we do not ask our Lord to help us remove the planks in our own eyes we will not do a good job of judging the qualifications of the people we elect.
We will find the promises of candidates for public office more important than their character.
Instead of the law of the land, we will give preference to our egos and our pocketbooks.
If we let ourselves become foolish enough, we will become the dogs and the swine who trample the pearls of God’s wisdom and tear His people to pieces.