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Mar 15 / Chuck Smith, Jr.

Implications of Jesus’ Teaching In Luke 6

Although Jesus’ concerns were not political, there are always political consequences attached to beliefs that are strongly held and practiced–provided the beliefs are significant and life-changing. It is therefore necessary to look closely at the teaching of Jesus and ask how it could affect our participation in various social systems–e.g., political, corporate, and religious. It is a characteristic of social and economic systems to produce classes like those in verses 20-26; poor and rich, hungry and well-fed, ostracized and praised, etc.

Since this was not the theme of our Bible study, I thought it might be helpful to add a few thoughts for us to consider along these lines. I hope the following stimulates your own ideas and creativity. I have adapted these points from Helmut Thielicke’s, The Evangelical Faith, vol. 2.

  • All human systems, no matter how compassionate or well-intentioned, will be corrupted by humans. This fact alone should prevent us from becoming politically or religiously fanatic.
  • Programs that aim at changing a system or conditions within a system without changing the human heart are doomed. (Slave owners in the South found ways to continue to enslave African Americans after the Civil War without referring to it as slavery.) Greed and self-love can find ways to abuse others in any human system.
  • The essence of the gospel is that nothing can “separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord” (Ro. 8:38-39). This includes corrupt, human systems.
  • We cannot be complacent about the ways in which systems abuse people. Within the systems surrounding our lives, we will find unguarded places where we are free to make our own decisions and in some way counteract the dehumanizing effects of the system.
  • Some people are held more responsible than others for a system’s abuses–”there are levels of guilt. . . . Dependents and those on fixed incomes who are reduced to poverty are far less to blame than the powerful class of politicians and managers” (Thielicke).
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