So, a very prominent manifestation of blatant unbelief in the Evangelical churches today is to allow the “not yet” to “eat up” or gut/overrule/obliterate the “already” in terms of it having any practical reality in the faith of believers. Such unbelief has got to stop for it invites the divine curse upon that unbelief. The “not yet” perspective indeed has a role to play in the eschatological orientation as the Bible defines it, but absolutely NOT one that is to the denial of the “already”. The Biblical orientation from the get-go is to live by faith, not by sight. Abraham and his family believed themselves to be possessors of the promised land of Canaan long before the actual historical arrival of Joshua and his army of conquest. In terms of the world/cosmos as a whole, we Christians are called today to stand in the same sort of shoes of faith that Abraham himself did. Everything rides on the fact of the “already”. The resurrection, ascension, and enthronement of Christ mark the definitive advent — the “already” — of the “new creation”.
Do you see why not participating in this false witness impressed upon you by the lying State is so important? It is not “just a mask,” it is the camel’s nose under the tent unto the next breach of the Christ-hating tyrant state.
Masks are supporting a social order controlled by the State. A state that can make you put on a clown mask can make you accept a vaccine, can make you give up your currency, can make you tell on your neighbor for the silliest of reasons.
Fear and control … do not bear false witness. Live not by lies.
Let us close by quote Solzhenitsyn one more time. Of course, Solzhenitsyn knew what it was to live under a state tyranny that required its people to live by lies if they desired to survive. How long until we are living under that same kind of tyranny? We are well on our way there. We can avoid paying the cost that the Russian people paid if we will just stand fast now… at this point. If we will just refuse to bear false witness with these masks… if we will just live not by lies.
Solzhenitsyn speaking in 1978 said,
“Truth seldom is pleasant; it is almost invariably bitter. A loss of courage may be the most striking feature, which an outside observer notices in the West in our days…Such a decline in courage is particularly noticeable among the ruling groups and the intellectual elite, causing an impression of loss of courage by the entire society. Of course, there are many courageous individuals, but they have no determining influence on public life.”
26 July 2020
Teleologically his Kingdom was the ultimate end. History had found its completion in Neb.
Ontologically he viewed himself as god. And as god he could dictate any reality he like.
26You are all sons of God through faith in Christ Jesus, 27for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28There is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. 29If you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s seed, and heirs according to the promise.
To pick up the stream of thought of that which is going before in Galatians we find the emphasis here on Sonship explained by the earlier teaching that before the advent of Christ the people of God were as children under the tutelage of the ceremonial law (3:24-25). The problem in Galatians is that the Judaizers desired to foist upon Gentile Christians the ceremonial law. The Judaizers were in effect saying that in order to become Christians one had to become cultural Jews observing circumcision and Jewish food laws. St. Paul in Galatians argues a resounding “NO” to the Judaizing idea that the Gentiles had to become cultural Jews in order to be Christian.
Christ has come and so the ceremonial law had served its purpose. The ceremonial law were to the people of God before Christ what braces were to a child with weak legs. Once those legs gain their strength the necessity for the braces end. The ceremonial law had the intent of placarding Christ before Christ came but once Christ had arrived in order to be an aid to faith. However with the arrival of Christ those ceremonial law braces are fulfilled and are no longer needed. The case with the Judaizers in Galatia however is that they were telling these non-Jewish converts they had to put the legal braces back on.
The Holy Spirit argues that with the advent of Christ there is no longer a need for braces. The old age that required the law as a tutor for children has passed and the new age wherein we are no longer children but sons of God has dawned.
This is where St. Paul starts in vs 26. There are all Sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ.
Of course the Sonship that Paul speaks is a son-ship by Adoption. Jew or Gentile those brought into the family of God are brought in by Adoption. We have passed through the courtroom and have been declared righteous because of the finished work of Jesus Christ wherein as our substitute our sins are owned by Christ as His own and His righteousness is reckoned to our account. Now having peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ we now have access to the family room. The court room has an exit that leads to the family room and there we find adoption. We are not treated as the former criminals and sinner that we were but now we have concourse and fellowship with God and all the Saints who are now and who have gone before.
We are adopted. We have all the privileges of family. There is the sense of intimacy, the ability to cry out Abba Father, the confidence that God as our Father will provide, protect, comfort, and discipline, each as in turn we need. We are adopted and because of that we can have confidence of the love of God in Christ Jesus.
And the inspired Apostle says that this adoption is through faith in Jesus Christ just as our Justification was through faith in Jesus Christ. Like Justification, this adoption is a forensic / legal category. Our Adoption is not a matter of our emotions or feelings at any given time but it is a matter of being legally true. Because of the finished work of Jesus Christ it is a legal fact that can’t be altered that I / we belong to the family of God. As a legal fact nothing can change that.
Our faith in Jesus Christ holds on to that Adoption just as it holds on to our Justification. Faith in Christ is the key that upon regeneration unlocks all these blessings.
It is interesting that the moment Paul talks about faith in Jesus Christ he immediately turns to Baptism thus joining at the hip again faith and baptism. Faith and Baptism have the closest possible relation. This faith that Paul talks about has as its badge of identity in baptism. Baptism is God’s sign and seal – His token that bespeaks the presence of faith.
So, intimately bound up is Baptism with faith that Paul can say that all of you that have been Baptized into Christ have clothed yourself with Christ. This is yet another objective category statement. Being baptized we have legally identified with Christ. Having been identified with Christ there is no need to go back to those ceremonial laws that the Judaizers wanted to press on the Gentiles. There is no need to run back to the ceremonial law for help with salvation. Instead we have but to look to Christ … look to our Baptism which proclaims Christ … remind ourselves of the faith that was given us as a gift of God.
We should mention here… and I mention this as a self-described theonomist that this is one of the dangers of some versions of theonomy. There is such a high regard for God’s law that it becomes a low regard for Christ. Theonomy if not built with guard rails can become a Judaizing error.
Next, with the mentioning of Sons of God we should briefly remind ourselves of the antithesis this implies along with the concept of adoption and baptism.
Either you are Sons of God or you are not. If you are not you are sons of your father the devil and so are Christ haters. It does not matter how civil, how nice, or how polite you are. If you are not Sons of God through faith in Christ God is opposed to you. Opposed to you every single day and with every single breath. This is what the Scriptures teach and this is what our Heidleberg catechism teaches,
God is terribly displeased with our inborn as well as our actual sins, and will punish them in just judgment in time and eternity, as he has declared: Cursed is everyone that continueth not in all things which are written in the book of the law, to do them (Deut. 27:26).
This is God’s attitude towards all those who do not have faith in Jesus Christ … towards all Christ haters. He is not a neutral God. He is a God who is either all in for His people as His Sons or He is all in as opposed to those who oppose Him. God is angular and will never be made smooth.
But the Gospel commands all men everywhere to repent and have faith and be Baptized and so clothe yourself with Christ. God commands…. will you not give up on your life of weariness characterized by a heavy laden-ness that no man should bear and look to Christ and so become a Son of God? God commands you to give up on gnawing on the vile and unseemly ends of your pathetic selfish life and come to Him to have life and life abundantly. Why would you ever rebel against such a life-giving command?
St. Paul then moves on in vs. 28 he demonstrates that regardless of very real distinctions that exist in their lives when it comes to this matter of Sonship – which is the subject at hand – there are no exceptions. Jews, Greeks, Slaves, Freeman, Men and Women are all alike Sons of God through faith in Jesus Christ … all who have clothed themselves with Christ in Baptism are Sons of God. When it comes to the issues of justification and adoption the ground at the Cross is level. Nobody has more status when it comes to being Sons of God through faith in our Lord Jesus Christ.
This needed to be said because these Judaizers that the Apostle is contending with had a natural tendency to think of themselves as having a leg up on the Gentiles when it came to this business of being sons of God.
Something we need to realize though is that this text is very specific in the subject matter of which it treats. It is dealing with the issue of how the ground at the Cross is level when it comes to becoming Sons of God. It is not teaching a vapid egalitarianism. We know this if only by the fact that God gave Elders and Pastors to the Church as leaders for the Church. This teaches that there is such a thing as godly hierarchy and that even in the Church. Galatians 3:28 or its parallel passage Colossians 3:11 in no way teaches social egalitarianism.
We pause this morning to give more consideration to Gal. 3:28, if only because this text has become the center of a firestorm in the life of the contemporary Western Church.
In the last few decades, vs. 28 has been appealed to in order to legitimize the understanding that traditional, and heretofore thought to be Biblical role distinctions between men and women, both in the home and in the Church, are invalid, improper, and wrong.
It has been appealed to in such a fashion as to suggest that once people are converted all their creaturely distinctions are destroyed so that in becoming a son of God grace destroys nature. According to this Anabaptist type reasoning, the Church is the one place where enlightenment egalitarianism should be pursued.
Vs. 28 is appealed to as being the text that informs us that as Christians a new social order has dawned that sloughs off the consequences of the fall, which includes the consequence of Male headship in the home and in the Church. Those who make this appeal reason backwards from Galatians 3:28 to suggest that in the creation order and before the fall there was no notion of male headship and it is only with the fall and sin coming into the created order — they reason — that we find male headship. Put concisely, this ‘evangelical’ feminism argues that male headship is a consequence of sin that is reversed in Church and home (and culture where Christ’s rule sways) with the coming of Christ’s Kingdom. Galatians 3:28 is seen as a hermeneutical North star for many in the ‘Evangelical’ feminist camp. This text becomes the healing astringent that all other texts that deal with male and female relationships must be read through since it provides the constant that corrects all the other cultural relative situations with which all other New Testament texts are putatively infected.
We want to note that while this is an interesting and even innovative argument it hopelessly shipwrecks and splinters upon several significant boulders of reality.
First, there is the boulder that up until recently in Church history, no known major Church Theologian outside the Anabaptist camp read Galatians 3:28 in such a way as to suggest that because of the advent of Christ and the arrival of His Kingdom what arrives is this idea of an egalitarian social order that flattens out of all authority (Male and Female), class (Slave and Free), and ethnic (Jew and Gentile) distinctions. What we see then is that the recent hailing of Galatians 3:28 as the text of social egalitarianism is unique and has no historical legs upon which to stand.
Now, we must admit that it is possible that 2000 years of Church history got this text all wrong and further missed the egalitarian New Testament theology that it teaches. Further, we must concede that there may yet be found some Church Theologians in history who read Galatians 3:28 the way that it is being read today. Still, one would think that this lack of clear precedent would cause people to go slow on embracing Galatians 3:28 in a way that no Church Theologian in history, except for the Anabaptists, that we know of has ever embraced it.
Instead, we read from the Fathers quotes like this,
Difference of race or condition or sex is indeed taken away by the unity of faith, but it remains embedded in our mortal interactions, and in the journey of this life the apostles themselves teach that it is to be respected, and they even proposed living in accord with the racial differences between Jews and Greeks as a wholesome rule.
St. Augustine on Galatians 3:28
“Regarding our eternal salvation, it is true that one must not distinguish between man and woman, or between king and a shepherd, or between a German and a Frenchman. Regarding policy, however, we have what St. Paul declares here; for our, Lord Jesus Christ did not come to mix up nature, or to abolish what belongs to the preservation of decency and peace among us….Regarding the kingdom of God (which is spiritual) there is no distinction or difference between man and woman, servant and master, poor and rich, great and small. Nevertheless, there does have to be some order among us, and Jesus Christ did not mean to eliminate it, as some flighty and scatterbrained dreamers [believe].”
John Calvin (Sermon on 1 Corinthians 11:2-3)
Second, there is the boulder of the rest of the New Testament Scripture. If it were the case that the Kingdom of Christ eliminates the idea of gender roles, class roles, and ethnic roles we would expect to find a consistent testimony to that end in the NT record, and yet quite to the contrary we find the opposite testimony. The New Testament retains distinction between male and female in Godly homes in passages like I Cor. 11:1-16, 14:34, I Tim. 2:11-14, Ephesians 5:22f, and I Pt. 3:1f. The New Testament retains distinctions between Jew and Gentile in passages like Romans 9-11 where the discussion centers on how Israel will be saved vis-à-vis the Gentiles and retains distinctions between nations that are inferior in some way from other nations (Titus 1:12). The New Testament retains distinctions between Slave and Free in passages like Philemon, Ephesians 6:5-9, Colossians 3:22-4:1, and I Timothy 6:1-2. There is simply no way that a fair-minded person can read the New Testament and conclude that it teaches some kind of social egalitarianism. Everywhere on the New Testament pages is the reality of gender, ethnic, and class distinctions and not in the sense that these distinctions are automatically evil.
Third, there is the boulder of the whole context of Galatians 3. From what we have seen as we have together worked through Galatians 3 the labor of the Apostle in this book is in no way connected to the issue of gender, labor or ethnic roles. Rather the issue in Galatians is how it is that Gentiles do not need to become Jews in order to become Christians. The issue is the freedom that the Gentiles have in Christ quite apart from the desire of the Judaizers to foist upon the Galatians Jewish old Testament covenantal boundary markers that are obsolete because of the finished work of Christ. Galatians speaks up the completely gracious character of God’s salvation. To suddenly come upon vs. 28 and insist that it is the interpretive key that unlocks the revolutionary egalitarian nature of the Kingdom of God is to do egregious violence to the whole text of Galatians. Interpretively, such action is hermeneutical manslaughter.
Context is central in this matter. If I walk into a closed room and see and a 55 year old man hugging and kissing an 18 year old I need context in order to understand what is happening. It may be the case that this is a pervert that is forcing himself upon some young lady in which case I have need to come to her rescue. It may be the case that this is a May — December Marriage in which case I may need to tell them to get a room. And it may be the case that he is her grandfather and he is trying to console her over some kind of loss in which case I should shut the door and mind my own business. Context means everything.
What egalitarians do with Galatians 3:28 in order to support the idea that with the advent of the Gospel role distinctions are eliminated is the same as happening upon a May December Marriage and concluding that the gentlemen needs to be hauled off to jail. ‘Evangelical’ feminists in appealing to Galatians 3:28 in order to support their agenda are contextually challenged. Context means everything and the context of Galatians 3:28 has nothing to do with the elimination of gender, class, or ethnic distinctions that continue to exist in the Kingdom.
John Piper offers here that ,
The context of Galatians 3:28 makes abundantly clear the sense in which men and women are equal in Christ: they are equally justified by faith (v. 24), equally free from the bondage of legalism (v. 25), equally children of God (v. 26), equally clothed with Christ (v. 27), equally possessed by Christ (v. 29), and equally heirs of the promises to Abraham (v. 29).
I would only add that the same is true of Masters and Slaves and Jews and Gentiles.
Galatians 3:28 does nothing to overturn the Historical and Biblical categories that maintain social differences between different people. Now, to be sure Galatians 3:28 does eliminate things like hatred of the brethren that are different from us, precisely because we are all in Christ and are all children of God. The historical hatred of Jew for Gentile, the historical maltreatment of Master over slave, the historical abuse of men upon women was never God’s design but with the advent of Christ and with the bringing in of all these different relationships into the Church the former animosity between these groups is vanquished. BUT saying that former animosity is vanquished and saying that all are now equal in role is to say very different things.
With the advent of Christ and the presence of His Kingdom what the leaven of the Gospel works through home, church, and culture is not the elimination and flattening out of the richness of the varied social tapestry that constitutes life but rather the putting right of the social tapestry that was rent by the fall. With the extension of the Kingdom of Christ what we should expect to find is neither a gender blender society, nor a society where labor and capital distinctions are gathered up into some kind of socialistic nirvana, nor a society where ethnic or racial distinctions are effaced. With the extension of the Kingdom of Christ we should anticipate the restoration of true masculinity and femininity is on display in marriages where incredibly intelligent wives eagerly submit to incredibly humble husbands, who are in a haste to love their wives sacrificially. With the extension of the Kingdom of Christ we should anticipate a renewed harmony of interests between Master and Slave where each realizes that their own interests are best served by looking out for the interest of the other. With the extension of the Kingdom of Christ we should anticipate the different nations (ethnos) being brought into the Kingdom so that on that last day they will enter into the new Jerusalem nation by nation so that what is heard is the beautiful harmony of a multi-part Choir where every still distinct tribe, tongue and nation render praise unto the King of Kings. The extension of the Kingdom of Christ does not result in a situation where all the ‘colors bleed into one.’ That is a socialistic humanistic vision. The extension of the Kingdom of Christ results in the old Puritan notion of the ‘harmony of interests.’
Returning to our boulders we must mention one last boulder that the ship of hermeneutical feminism crashes against as it seeks to twist Galatians 3:28 to its end. The last boulder is that the reading that ‘Evangelical’ Feminism is trying to use for Galatians 3:28 proves too much. If it really is the case that social order distinctions are eliminated in Christ, including that of maleness and femaleness then the Church has little room left to oppose homosexuality in the Church. If Galatians 3:28 teaches that there is no longer male or female in Christ, and if that means that traditional distinctions between men and women no longer exist because of Christ’s Kingdom, then how can we maintain that sexual distinctions are an exception? More then that if the presence of Christ’s Kingdom provides the kind of egalitarianism that these hermeneutical wizards insist upon then where is the room for parental authority over children? If children are equal to parents because they are all in Christ then on what basis can parents require obedience? If that reductio sounds stupid it is supposed to. The only reason that otherwise normal people no longer find the reasoning of ‘Evangelical’ feminists to be equally stupid when it comes to their egalitarian appeals is because we have slowly been conditioned to accept it. In this culture and in the Western Church I may have to live with it but I don’t accept it.
There remain functional differences between gender, labor and ethnic categories. We all are ontologically human but functionally speaking there remains God honoring differences. We all have the same value before God, all being made in God’s image, but just as in a choir both the mezzo Soprano and the Alto are ontologically human, they remain functionally separated. Both of their functions are needed for a good choir and are to be esteemed in their place. A good choir doesn’t get better by making every one sing the same bland part. The same kind of thing is true when it comes to the insipid blandness that is being reached for in terms of male and female, slave and free, Jew and Gentile by the egalitarians among us.
Now returning to Galatians 3:28 we may ask ourselves why the Apostle chooses the three couplets of ‘male – female, slave and free, Jew and Gentile?
Of course we can’t say authoritatively because the text doesn’t authoritatively say but we perhaps can make a pretty good guess. The answer may be very much in keeping with the context that is going on here.
In vs. 29 the Church is reminded that they are ‘heirs according to the promise.’ Now in order to be an heir their must be an inheritance and quite obviously that inheritance is all the blessings that we have in Christ Jesus. In choosing the couplets that he chooses the Holy Spirit may be intimating the superior character of the new and better covenant as opposed to the old and worse covenant. Under the Old Testament law, Greeks, slaves, and females could not inherit land and property directly. These were restricted in the life of the old covenant. However in the New and better covenant the anti-type inheritance has come to which the inheritance of land and property in the OT was only a type, and it comes in such a way that people from every tribe, tongue, nation, class, gender, and economic strata can directly inherit. The inheritance cocoon that was the Old covenant produces a butterfly inheritance that is beyond and above what anybody in the Old covenant could have anticipated. No boundaries are erected to the inheritance of salvation. All may inherit. All may become sons of God.
And the effect of the fullness of that inheritance coming to more and more people including the renewal that is part of it is not an ugly egalitarianism where all distinction and diversity is crushed. That can only be some kind of Unitarian vision where the singleness and unitary character of God produces a bland and unitary character of culture. No, the Trinitarian Christian vision is that the effect of the inheritance coming to more and more people makes for a renewal where people in their different God honoring roles and places work increasingly together to advance the Glory of God by honoring God in the places and roles to which they have been placed and called.
Then one was brought to Him who was demon-possessed, blind and mute; and He healed him, so that the [d]blind and mute man both spoke and saw. 23 And all the multitudes were amazed and said, “Could this be the Son of David?”
24 Now when the Pharisees heard it they said, “This fellow does not cast out demons except by [e]Beelzebub, the ruler of the demons.”
25 But Jesus knew their thoughts, and said to them: “Every kingdom divided against itself is brought to desolation, and every city or house divided against itself will not stand.
26 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man? And then he will plunder his house. 30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
Here Jesus enters into contest once again w/ His enemies.
We need to realize as we have noted before that the miracle here is significant. This miracle of Jesus as all miracles is communicating that the Kingdom of God is among them and that the long awaited Messiah is in their midst.
We know this due to the testimony of the OT and then Jesus interpretation of the OT.
In Isaiah 35:5-6 we read,
“Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, and the ears of the deaf unstopped; then shall the lame man leap like a deer, and the tongue of the mute sing for joy. For waters break forth in the wilderness, and streams in the desert.”
In the previous chapter to the one we are looking at this morning we (Mt. 11) John the Baptist has just been imprisoned. In his perplexity, no doubt born of the incongruity of his being imprisoned combined with the Kingdom of God having arrived he sends his disciples to ask Jesus if he really is the Coming One. Jesus responds in this way:
“Go and tell John what you hear and see: the blind receive their sight and the lame walk, lepers are cleansed and the deaf hear, and the dead are raised up, and the poor have good news preached to them. And blessed is the one who is not offended by me”
Jesus is saying that the Kingdom of God has come and He is the Messiah-King ushering it in. The miracles of Jesus were the attestation of that truth. Jesus fulfills what the OT promised in terms of the Messiah-King and the coming of the Kingdom.
So… this miracle here in Mt. 12 is another scream from heaven that the King and Kingdom has come. The question “Could be this the Son of David,” being murmured among the crowd was a murmuring that connected Jesus to being the Messiah-King and the one who was bringing in the Kingdom.
Let us pause here to note something about the coming of the Kingdom.
*With the arrival of Christ, the Kingdom of God has come. This is the truth that is the cornerstone of Postmillennialism. Christ brought the Kingdom. Now that Kingdom has not yet been consummated but it has been inaugurated and so it is now present among us and the anticipation is that the intensity of the present Kingdom goes from break out to break out so that it is seen that we are getting closer and closer to the not yet but coming consummation of that already present Kingdom. The strong man has been bound. He has been and is being plundered of his goods. The yeast of victory is working itself through the whole cosmos. The Kingdom is present.
We must not make the error of the Amillennialist who admit there is a nowness to the Kingdom but who for all practical purposes live as if the Kingdom is now and always will be completely not yet since they have reduced the reality of the Kingdom to a “spiritual” reality. The Amillennialist has no swagger … no moxie since they don’t really believe on a practical everyday level that the Kingdom has come and is now in more than a spiritual manner.
The Postmillennialist on the other hand is confident in the presence of the Kingdom and he lives and walks in terms of the anticipation of the ever-expanding reality of the Kingdom. As such he carries himself with a humble swagger and he knows the moxie of being on the side that is victorious.
We need a return to this kind of Postmillennialism because the terminal expectations of pessimillennialism yields up the defeat that pessimillennialist’s eschatology expect.
Enter the Pharisees. Here we see them practicing what would become centuries later known as one of Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” The Pharisees accuse Christ of doing what they are guilty of. They accuse the Lord Jesus of being in league with Beelzebub (Satan). They accuse our Master of being empowered by the Prince of Darkness.
Now, this is a serious accusation as we learn in the Markan account of this event.
“‘Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’—for they were saying, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’ ” – Mark 3:28–30
The Pharisees are in full personal soul damning mode. They were the ones who were trained, and so were to be experts in identifying the Messiah in their midst and yet when the Messiah arrives they turn on Him like a rabid dog and accuse Him of the most vile thing possible.
We learn from the context then that this unforgivable sin is the persistent, knowing, verbal attribution of the work of God to Satan. Such blasphemy is unforgivable not because the Lord is unwilling to forgive but because a person guilty of such sin has fully and finally hardened his heart against the grace of God. He does not want to be forgiven and will never ask for forgivness. Someone who is trained to identify the character of God and who in spite of knowing better identifies what he or she knows to be the case as the work of God as the work of Satan are anathema.
The Logos of God responds to them with basic logic.
6 If Satan casts out Satan, he is divided against himself. How then will his kingdom stand? 27 And if I cast out demons by Beelzebub, by whom do your sons cast them out? Therefore they shall be your judges. 28 But if I cast out demons by the Spirit of God, surely the kingdom of God has come upon you. 29 Or how can one enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man?
Several matters to note here;
1.) Satan has a Kingdom and it is that Kingdom that Christ’s Kingdom is opposed to and has defeated and is rolling back. As of late there has been some confusion regarding Kingdom talk. I don’t have time to get into it into detail here but allow me to say that Scripture teaches here that ultimately there are two Kingdoms. The Kingdom of Lucifer and the Kingdom of Christ’s which has rolled over Lucifer’s Kingdom. Don’t allow people to move you off that certainty by the multiplications of Kingdoms in which it is then argued that God’s Kingdom does not apply.
2.) Jesus argues the foolishness of the Pharisee’s position given that their position would undo Lucifer’s work.
3.) If you’re going to accuse me of being Satan’s agent how can you not accuse your own people of not being guilty of the same thing?
4.) Returning to a thought established earlier, Jesus says that this healing / casting-out miracle proves that the Kingdom of God was in their presence in the person of the Messiah-King
5.) Vs, 29 is important. Jesus is saying that via this Miracle people could know that He Himself had bound the strong man and was now plundering His goods. The Strong man who is bound here is Satan and the plundering of his goods is the release of the captives from their oppression via healing and exorcism and the proclamation of the good news of the Kingdom’s presence.
The long anticipated Kingdom has arrived and in Christ Satan is bound and plundered. You sitting here, released from your sin and misery are part of that plunder taken back from the dark Kingdom.
Finally Jesus rounds off w/
30 He who is not with Me is against Me, and he who does not gather with Me scatters abroad.
Here it may be the case that our Master is talking over the heads of His enemies to the crowd present. Clearly His enemies are already against Jesus and so His words would not apply to them. However, if the last verse is for the sake of the gathered crowds then His words are communicating what we call today the Reformed Antithesis. Christ is telling the spectators that they cannot remain neutral to Christ and the Kingdom He has brought. The God-Man does not allow us to be undecided because to be undecided is to be decided. To not be with Him four square is to be against Him four-square. To not join in His cause by gathering is to be against His cause by scattering.
The Master is urging those on the fence not to be content with only not opposing him, but to take sides – for, in fact, they cannot help doing so. Indifference and fence setting in this case is only another name for opposition; not actively to help is really to hinder.
Jesus was a good presuppositionalist. No neutrality. Never.
There is no neutrality in the kingdom of God; that activity which we call “natural” is exercised either in good or in evil, especially in the case of those who hear the word of God. Our standing as Christians does not allow us the luxury to be anything but full bore committed to the cause of the Kingdom. They are unworthy to be considered as belonging to the flock of Christ, who do not apply to it all the means that are in their power; because their indolence tends to retard and ruin the kingdom of God, which all of us are called to advance.
No neutrality. Never.
Yet this passage has too often been applied individually, which of course it should be, but it has been left unspoken to in terms of its application to social order. We have need to dismiss the idea of neutrality towards Christ and His Kingdom not only in our personal individual lives but also in the order that we build as a Christian people. We cannot be neutral in our family lives for example. As parents we must shepherd our children before the face of God thus showing that we are gathering for the Kingdom in our family lives. But there is a flip side to this as well which is a hard truth and that flip side is if our children decide to rebel against God and to be scatterers and to be against God then we must show ourselves faithful to Christ and His Kingdom by being against our children for our children. If our children, God forbid, become perverse then if we are to be with Christ we must love our children enough to be against them and so not scatter. We must not approvingly post photos of our Lesbian daughters with their adopted children – something I’ve seen done. We must not, out of a misguided love for our children join them in their waywardness in hopes of somehow gaining them back by being against Christ.
This is just an example. The examples easily continue of how it is possible to be against Christ in our social order lives by adhering to an impossible neutrality. Recently, we have seen the Evangelical – Reformed Church seek to scatter where Christ gathers by becoming increasingly neutral (so they think) in matters of corporate morality. For example putative Conservative Baptist pastor Mark Dever last year sought to clear space for Christians to vote for candidates who supported abortion. Jonathan Leeman, who did under grad and graduate work in Pol. Sci at elite Universities and now is associated with conservative Baptist churches likewise has made very slick arguments for the same thing. My friends, to argue like this is to proclaim one’s self as against Christ and one who scatters where Christ seeks to gather. It is to try at one and the same time to have an individual Christian piety while surrendering a Christian piety in the social order.
How much good does it do us to cast out metaphorical demons in our personal individual lives while turning a deaf ear to how our social order is being possessed by demons or by arguing that we can let those demons be and not concern ourselves with them since Jesus is only a left-handed King in those areas?
It is serious error and a form of schizophrenia to be punctilious to the things of Christ in our personal and individual lives – to be for him – while at the same time scattering where Christ would gather in our social order. How can we be with Christ in our personal individual lives and yet not be with Him when it comes to promoting His cause when it comes to our civil-social Institutions?
I could spend a great deal of time of multiplying examples of what I’m getting at in terms of not being with Christ when it comes to our social order. Let’s take immigration as another example. Are we not scattering where Christ would gather when we support policies and people in our voting that assure the continued flooding of this country with people who hate Christ giving them equal rights that will be used to diminish even more the public-square influence of Christianity? That will assure that our own Christian children will be disinherited as the children of the in-rushing multitude will be the recipients of what otherwise would have been our children’s inheritance? How can we think we are not scattering where Christ would gather when we do such a thing?
Many years ago RJR often this tidbit down this line I’m pursuing;
“And the same illusion marks Europe. In Europe, they believe that because the country has a character, everyone who comes in will soon pick up that character. So, all the blacks and Arabs that are in France will become Frenchmen. That’s an illusion. They don’t have the same faith, therefore they’re not going to give the same character to society.”
And I would add, that those who pursue such policies are scattering where Christ would gather.
Let us take another point of application here. Jesus, is, as we noted earlier arguing against the idea of neutrality. Jesus in saying whoever is not with me is against and whoever does not gather scatters. Clearly when it comes to the Lord Christ and His Kingdom there is no place to be indifferent or marginal. Indifference and playing on the margins Christ says is full on commitment to his enemies.
Now, I’m no fan of the S. African Marxist Bishop Desmond Tutu but he was speaking the truth when he said,
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Our enemies have no problem in rejecting neutrality or in trying to play even handed. Our enemies understand that in order to be victorious they have to cancel us. It has come to be known as cancel culture. Anybody who articulates truth that is related to Christian origins our enemies demonstrate that they are on the side of their Father the devil. In this the sons of this world are wiser than the sons of God. We should quit complaining about cancel culture and start practicing it from our side.
In Redemptive History God told His people to practice cancel culture. When God commanded the ultimate penalty for those caught by two or three witnesses involved in sexual perversity God was commanding that His people practice cancel culture.
Now understand something here. If we practice cancel culture because we are convinced that neutrality is an impossibility we are practicing out of love to God and our people. We seek to cancel those who advocate those practices which would dishonor God and hurt our people. Another example of cancel culture that Christians were wise in practicing was when many of them canceled their Netflix subscription when they finally got fed up with their varied expressions of being against Christ. When we pray imprecatorily here we are asking for God to engage in cancel culture.
My friends, we cannot love what is loved by God without hating that which is contrary to what God loves. If we love God then we must seek to practice cancel culture on what God hates. Epistemological self consciousness on the issue of “no neutrality is possible” pushes us to try and practice cancel culture.
We need cancel culture if we’re going to honor God, rescue our people, and be for the wicked by being against the wicked. We need cancel culture precisely because neutrality is not possible cancel culture to negate the cultural Marxists just as they seek to negate the forward progress of the Kingdom of God.
So…here we are pressed into battle. Both on an personal and individual basis but also as members of the social order we live in. We may not separate or divorce these two. There is no neutrality in advancing the Kingdom whether in our personal lives or in our lives as public persons.
As men and women blood bought and atoned for by Jesus Christ we are enlisted into His Kingdom advancement. Our greatest desire is to see God glorified by the entry of former enemies into the Kingdom of God and we pursue this by being for them in our opposition to them and Satan’s Kingdom.
We desire for them to know the goodness of being pardoned by God for the sake of the finished work of Christ. We desire them to come and sue for peace to a God who promises to receive all those who are weary and heavy laden. We look forward to them being enlisted into the same Kingdom work that we are involved in but that cannot happen unless we are first for them by being against them and their evil deeds.