Each week our church family memorizes scripture together. We use the Fighter Verses system developed by Bethlehem Baptist in Minneapolis. (The website and apps are excellent.) Last week the passage for memory came from Galatians 6:9-10.
“And let us not grow weary of doing good, for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up. So then, as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone, and especially to those who are of the household of faith.”
It’s not lost on me how important a week it was to have this passage hidden in my heart. With the decision on marriage handed down by the Supreme Court, those who follow Christ have a unique opportunity to hear this passage in a fresh way.
Here are four important points:
1) And let us not grow weary of doing good…”
Many believers have worked tirelessly in efforts to save the unborn and to protect the sacred institution of marriage. Some have done it through prayer, some by protest and others by entering into the political process. I applaud all of these efforts. Jesus calls us to be salt and light, a prophetic voice – not raging against the darkness but seeking to light candle after candle in hope that truth will win hearts and bring increasing glory to God. It’s easy to grow weary. Some will throw up their hands and say “What’s the use?!” We flag in our determination and our hearts can grow weary as hope is delayed. (Prov. 13:12) But there is good reason not to grow weary.
2) “…for in due season we will reap, if we do not give up.”
God is faithful and His promise is that one day the glory of the Lord will cover the earth as the waters cover the sea. (Habakkuk 2:14) This is not now or ever in question. We live, as John Piper has aptly put it, by faith in future grace. God will prevail! One day this earth will be set free from its bondage and made new. Redeemed people look forward to eternal life in a sinless, deathless, Eden. (Romans 8:18-25) Our calling is not to “fix” the world’s humanistic system. Above all, we are commanded to bear witness to the gospel as followers of Christ. (Matthew 28: 18-20; Acts 1:8) Each of us have our own unique callings that allow us to provide for ourselves, support the common good and act as preserving salt and illuminating light in every arena of human life. God’s promise is that we will reap. We are laying up eternal treasures. We will see people laying down their arms and coming to Christ. We will see expressions, glimpses of Christ’s eternal expanding government and we will see, in God’s wise and good time, all kings and rulers bowing their knees to King Jesus. (Psalm 2:8; 22:27-28; 102:15)
3) “…as we have opportunity, let us do good to everyone…”
Everyone. Not just fellow believers, everyone. We know this simply by the fact that Paul acknowledges a subset of everyone called the “household of faith.” How do we do good to everyone? We do so by conviction and action. The conviction is that all men are created in the image of God and therefore they have immense value. Our actions must reflect that value. The court majority used the word “dignity” a number of times in defending its position. Dignity is conferred by God as Creator. A court can’t give it. We are responsible to recognize it in one another. I may not agree with your views or choices but if God created you, I am responsible to treat you with dignity. No man or woman is outside the realm of my responsibility to be kind. It doesn’t matter what they believe or how they behave. If they let me, I must extend civility and kindness. (Col. 4:5-6; 2 Tim 2:24-26)
Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people. – Titus 3:1-2
How can I show kindness?
- By watching my words. I must remember that life and death are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 12:18; 18:21) Listen more and speak with gentleness and truth. One sentence I have decided to quit using is “hate the sin, love the sinner.” Why? Because, frankly, I don’t hate my own sin enough. I like a lot of it. Until I do, I’m just going to be grateful that Jesus loves sinners like me. That’s good news.
- By washing feet with practical acts of kindness. If you are my gay neighbor, I may not be able to do your wedding, but that doesn’t mean I can’t bring you a meal when you are sick, offer to help you with your kids or mow your lawn.
- By defending the oppressed. You may be very zealous about your views. I understand. I am as well. But if you want to start hurling slurs, bullying , or resorting to violence against a person made in God’s image then you’re attacking me. I will defend those who are different from me. I will do good to them. I will listen. I will be willing to learn. I will serve as I am able and should the need arise I would lay down my life for them. (Even writing this I sense the glibness of it. God help me to be that person.)
- By always telling the truth – the gospel truth. All people are in need of salvation because all have rebelled against their Creator. (Romans 3:10-18) We are deserving of eternal separation for we have rebelled against an eternal, holy God. (Romans 6:23) The good news for everyone is that God has provided an answer for humanity’s desperate situation. Jesus, the God-man, the sinless one, lived the life we could not live and then died the death we dare not die. (2 Cor. 5:16-21) He paid the price of eternal salvation for all who will put their hope and trust in Him. This gospel is man’s greatest need. (Romans 5:6-11) When we respond to the gospel, we are made new. We can’t be happy, contented sinners any longer. I can’t be a happy liar, gossip, thief or fornicator. (Gal. 5:16-26) My soul longs for God and my happiness is found in pursuing His glory. (Psalm 16:11) The gospel calls all men to repent. It’s a call to quit forsaking His glory. It’s a call to turn away from self-reliance and independence and surrender to Christ. The beauty of Jesus, if we pursue Him, makes sin steadily unattractive.
- By honoring marriage. (Hebrews 13:4) Let’s be honest. The church has treated marriage with disdain. When we consider our affairs, our easy divorces, our lack of church discipline, our lazy love, our capitulation to a culture of entertainment that mocks marriage, our pornographic addictions, men and women acting with childishness and vindictiveness as opposed to Christlikeness, it’s no wonder that the world mocks our defense of marriage. God have mercy on us. Don’t curse the darkness. Strengthen what remains. (Revelation 3:1-2)
3) “…especially to those who are of the household of faith.“
Many are troubled and confused. Many are likely to be misled and swept away in the crumbling edifice of a weak evangelicalism. We must be willing and ready to love, correct, forgive, heal and welcome home those that return from a “far country.” Let us encourage one another to gospel faithfulness, (Acts 10:34-43; 14:1-7) to love and good works, (Heb. 13:16) to missionary zeal (Col. 4:2-6) and the willingness to sing the Lord’s song in what is increasingly a foreign land. (Psalm 137:1-4)