The Loss of Responsibility
The Return of God’s people back to their rightful King is an interactive process. Waiting upon God to bring Revival, does not give Christians the excuse to sit around doing nothing. Christians are responsible to Renew the gifts God has given us. One of the great problems resulting from accepting the Enlightenment Compromise is the loss of responsibility among Christians. Once we accept that Christianity should not be involved with politics and is basically a private faith showing how an individual can get to heaven, then the connection between our faith and our responsibility for Creation has become effectively cut. Christianity is reduced to repentance of past individual sins and self-regulation of future personal behavior. Our scope of responsibility becomes severely limited to the bare essentials: we are only responsible for our own behavior and directly responsible to God. Yet, this misses the forest for the trees. Yes, we are principally responsible for our own actions, but this does not negate our many responsibilities to others. Yes, we are ultimately responsible to God, but this does not detract from our duty to others around us. God did not create us isolated individuals. He put us in a complex web of relationships in which we are both responsible to and responsible for each other. We begin as children under the responsibility of our parents. As we grow, more and more people become responsible for us: church leaders, teachers, employers and other public officials. Once we become adults, we start becoming responsible for others: a spouse, children, employees and even more people depending on the leadership roles we assume. Our responsibility to God for our personal behavior is never direct, but always mediated through this web of relationships. Any attempt to ignore this web of relationships radically warps and diminishes our understanding of responsibility. Our faith has become self-absorbed with personal morality to the exclusion of public duty.
The Renewal of Christian Responsibility
Christians United! seeks to Renew our Christian vocation to be rulers and priest to the nations. Christians have a job to do. God did not put us here as a personal testing ground or waiting room where we queue up for a dream retirement in paradise. God put us in charge of his creation. We see this throughout the Scriptures from Genesis to Revelation and yet our faith has been so corrupted by the Enlightenment that we are often blind to it. Not surprisingly, this is the very first thing God commands us to do in Genesis.
And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.” Genesis 1:28
Many Christians ignore this command and many non-Christians mock it. Yet, this command is crucial for our whole understanding of the Bible. This gives us the broadest context of our purpose and meaning in life. We are God’s stewards over all of creation. This shows us who we are responsible to and what we are responsible for. We are to be fruitful, multiply and fill the earth. This command is contentious today and we will have much more to say about this elsewhere. We are to subdue the earth. This is often interpreted in a modernist rather than a biblical way. The command is not to exploit God’s good world, but to follow the Creator’s lead in bringing godly order to a disordered world. This later comes more clearly into focus through the example of Jesus as we are shown we are to order our world according to the principle’s of the Kingdom. Of course, throughout the Bible we are given many more specific commands. However, we must be careful to understand them in this context. God created us for a purpose. We are responsible to God for his creation. We have been entrusted with a huge job.
Many Christians treat this first command as a one time thing directed at Adam and Eve and not meant for us. Back then the Earth was empty and now it is full. It no longer applies. While this might make sense to those influenced by anti-humanistic postmodernism, it is clearly not found in Scripture. Adam and Eve were not isolated individuals who are irrelevant to us. The Bible understands them as our first parents and the first rulers of God’s creation. They are our representatives. Thus, we share in their responsibility and their failure. Just as we share in their original sin, we share in their original responsibility to be rulers over creation. This is understood throughout the Scriptures from the beginning to the end. This is made explicit in Revelations.
And they sang a new song, saying,“Worthy are you to take the scroll and to open its seals, for you were slain, and by your blood you ransomed people for God from every tribe and language and people and nation, and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.” Revelations 5:9-10
Here we have a glimpse behind the scenes in heaven. A new song is sung because Jesus is found worthy. Why? Because he has died as a ransom for his people and now has been resurrected. There is no greater love than this that God has sacrificed his perfect Son for a sinful people. Yes, Jesus is truly worthy. But, why did he do it? We are often satisfied by the answer: to save us from our sins. But this is really not an answer. The passage above gives us a proper answer: to restore us to our rightful place as God’s rulers and priest. Jesus has bought back his people who were sold into slavery by their sins, not so they can now do whatever they please, and certainly not so they can go on a long (emphatically) undeserved vacation in paradise. God bought us back with his blood so we can get back to work! Our gratitude and thanksgiving for all Jesus has done for us should lead us to Renew our proper vocation and joyfully get back to our particular calling. We have been bought with a price. Our life is no longer our own, but we must Renew our calling to do the Lord’s work.