The Democrat and Republican conventions are over for this election year…..can I get an Amen For that? Presidential elections are always an interesting time so first let’s look at Politics. What I always thought was a religion thing was in reality a political thing. All of us have heard the phrase “don’t discuss politics in church”. Politics is all about influence, getting and keeping power, people who are part of the government, and what it should do and a person’s political thoughts and opinions.
*In 1954 when Lyndon Johnson was a U.S. senator the then Democratic minority leader, introduced an amendment to Section 501(c)(3) of the federal tax code dealing with tax-exempt charitable organizations, including groups organized and operated exclusively for religious, charitable, scientific, literacy and educational purposes, or to prevent cruelty to children or animals. It said, in effect, that if you want to be absolved from paying taxes, you couldn’t be involved in partisan politics. The law says all such organizations “are absolutely prohibited from directly or indirectly participating in, or intervening in, any political campaign on behalf of (or in opposition to) any candidate for elective public office.” That includes contributions to political campaigns and any form of public statement for or against a candidate or group of candidates. Just a quick thought, it hasn’t worked to well on the “obey” the law side. First observation: Politics are most often a divider of people.”
Saw a sign in front of a church that has stayed with me for years. “Have you tried Religion? Now come in and try Jesus.” I thought there was message there, I thought it was a clever play on words. Never gained any traction among the folks. I’m sure some of us have heard or even said “ole (you use whatever name you like) got religion the other day and is going to church now.” Religion according to Webster is: the belief in a god or in a group of gods, an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods, an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group. A few years ago I quit asking people what religion are you. Let’s look at that definition again. “an organized system of beliefs, ceremonies, and rules used to worship a god or a group of gods, an interest, a belief, or an activity that is very important to a person or group.” Everyone has a different approach to this thing called religion. Second observation: Religion can be a divider of people.
Hebrews 11:1King James Version (KJV)
11 Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
I find no fault in turning to others to express a certain point or helping me to acquire knowledge to share and pass on to others. While commentaries are interpretations or analyses of scripture by educated scholars, they can also be the result of prayer and seeking of the Holy Spirit. Mathew Henry is one of my favorites. Read what he has to say about faith.
11:1-3 Faith always has been the mark of God’s servants, from the beginning of the world. Where the principle is planted by the regenerating Spirit of God, it will cause the truth to be received, concerning justification by the sufferings and merits of Christ. And the same things that are the object of our hope, are the object of our faith. It is a firm persuasion and expectation, that God will perform all he has promised to us in Christ. This persuasion gives the soul to enjoy those things now; it gives them a subsistence or reality in the soul, by the first-fruits and foretastes of them. Faith proves to the mind, the reality of things that cannot be seen by the bodily eye. It is a full approval of all God has revealed, as holy, just, and good. This view of faith is explained by many examples of persons in former times, who obtained a good report, or an honorable character in the word of God. Faith was the principle of their holy obedience, remarkable services, and patient sufferings. The Bible gives the most true and exact account of the origin of all things, and we are to believe it, and not to wrest the Scripture account of the creation, because it does not suit with the differing fancies of men. All that we see of the works of creation, were brought into being by the command of God.
I see no divider within this statement about faith. Pay attention to the last section in bold print. We are to believe and not take away the account of creation because it does not fit our agenda. I believe that applies to all scripture, especially those instructions given to the Patriarchs of the faith by God. Faith is a unifier. Faith brings us together, faith helps us to endure those things, people or situations, we face in this life. We will see and hear much in the weeks to come. Politics will divide us, doctrines and procedural differences within the Religious community will divide us. Like in the Athens of old we will gather in different groups to debate those things that divide us and in some instances become even more divided. What if we just stepped back, acknowledge that God is in control and follow this advice written long ago:
Philippians 4: 8,9
8 Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. 9 Keep on doing the things that you have learned and received and heard and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you.
See you next week and keep the Faith,
References: Matthew Henry Commentaries / Webster Dictionary / Panorama Bible / Wikipedia / biblehub.com