Unity & Peace: A biblical view

Unity & Peace: a biblical view
   It would seem that the current age we are living in for our nation is as about as tumultuous as anyone has seen. Rarely can a night go by of watching the national news without scenes of riots, violence, protest, and turmoil. At the end of a controversial political season in 2016 we saw a swelling of vocal protest against the election result, some passing the mere gathering stage and becoming violent riots. The same can be said for protest that were directed at police forces in recent years. A mere two weeks ago our nation watched as the city of Charlottesville, Virginia was torn apart by white supremacist groups clashing with what has become known as antifa protesters and groups attempting to protest the racially charged groups. In the wake of these events we hear more and more of a call for unity and peace. And we see many in the media and the culture around left in shock at how humans can behave in this manner. Churches have become involved even, attempting to bring about “unity” and “peace”. But what is the correct response to this? How should a follower of Christ view these events?
 First lets look at how we got to this point. While the world since the fall has progressively moved away from God, rejecting His law. The United States has appeared to pick up incredible speed over the last few decades in it’s secularization.  This has been the result of the breakdown in three God ordained authority structures:
1. The Family: The make up of which is by design Husband-Wife-Children. God placed husbands with the role of leader in the family unit. He is to love his wife as Christ loved the church(Eph. 5: 25-33). A wife is to submit to her husband as to the Lord(Eph. 5: 22-24) Both parents are responsible for bringing their children up in the ways of the Lord and children are to honor and obey their parents(Eph. 6: 1-4). But no God ordained institution has come under attack more than the family unit. Our culture for decades has attempted to redefine what family is. The role of father was usurped by the feminist movement, an ever growing divorce rate(even among those who claim Christianity) has taken the father out of the home all together. We have seen the state become more and more responsible for the rearing and educating of the children. And a culture that has attempted to redefine God ordained marriage altogether. So with family units turned upside down or completely built in defiance of Gods design, we see the third generation now of children coming out of homes with the cultures definition of family, and with little to no respect for the authority of parents.
2. Government: National leaders and local officials. God ordains our leaders. Good or bad. (Romans 13:1) Being in defiance of those leaders, rather we like them or not, is being in defiance of God. Scripture tells us as Christians to respect and obey government authorities and we are to live honorably in our communities. National and local officials are given authority by God to punish those whom break the law, and honor those who keep it(1 Peter 2:13-17 & Romans 13:1-5). Unfortunately when the early form of authority in the home is broken down, the natural result is for that disregard to extend out into the local and national authority. We see a generation who have been brought up to see their local officials as enemies and national leaders as crooks. When this type of lack of authority goes unchecked with little to no consequence we see results like those in Charlottesville, and other areas around our nation.
3. Church: Church leaders and members. Leadership within a church body; pastor, elders, and teachers is so important for the health of the church. As believers we are to respect and honor our church leaders, and submit to each other in humility.(Eph. 4:11-16, Hebrews 13:17, 1 Peter 5:1-11) When leaders fail their congregations by allowing wolves into the flock to devour, or by attempting to appease the culture for relevancy sake, they are not honoring the position they hold and place that position in a poor light to the body. On the other side, when members of the body do not honor their church leaders, they not only show little regard for direction from the word of God, they teach their children that the people in view of authority in the body of Christ do not have to be respected, and in that, teaching them to question the very word of God.
 This brings us back to the topic at hand “unity” and “peace”. This breakdown of authority institutions is a result of sin. Acts in defiance of Gods very order. This is the result of the fall. Man in his natural state does not want God, nor to be under Gods authority. Man in his natural state has a wickedly depraved heart.
            “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can know it?” Jeremiah 17:9
Paul lets us know in Romans 3 that “no one is righteous, no, not one; no one understands……no one does good, no not even one” So while we no one should ever excuse racism, white supremacy, violence, or rioting, and we should condemn it in all its forms, we also as Christians we should be surprised by it, and understand that it is the result of wicked hearts.  These groups do not have a race problem, or a violence problem, or even a hate problem. They have a heart issue. Their hearts are completely separated from God. In this they hate God. They have enmity for God, His creation, and His authority. In Matthew 22 Jesus tells His followers they will be hated for His names sake. The world hates Christ and those who follow Him. There can be no peace and no unity between a fallen depraved sinful world and those whom have Christ dwelling within them.
  So what about “peace” and “unity”. The peace and unity we see in the Bible is the Unity that happens when fallen sinful hearts are reconciled and brought into unity with a Holy and Righteous God through Jesus Christ. Those hearts will know peace with God through His Son whom died for their sins. That’s the gospel. And their is peace when we are part of the body of Christ. Romans 14:19 tells when we are to pursue these things and build one another up. There is peace amongst true believers in Christ.
  So how are we then to view those in the world whom display racist views, hatred, anger, violence and so forth? We view them not as the enemy but as what they are, the mission field. These are people who have hearts that desperately need to be reconciled to God. We pray for them, and we take Christ to them. They may have anger and rage and hatred. But we have the gospel and it sets men free. Only when they are brought to saving faith in Christ Jesus can they know unity and peace.

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