Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Societally imputed righteousness

Over at his blog, Doug Wilson makes a great point about societally imputed righteousness. He says that
Every society has a group within it that is justified — righteousness is imputed to it. And every society has a group that is unjustified — a group that can be dumped on with impunity. Righteousness and unrighteousness are categories we cannot do without — we must have bad guys and good guys.
This is an astute observation, and I want to address it more specifically. First of all, if you're still wondering, we should go ahead and label the justified and the unjustified; it's not hard to miss. The unjustified group are the Christians—or anyone proclaiming biblical sexual ethics as the holy and right design of the Living God. And the justified group—I'll call them the intelligentsia and their progeny, whoever they may be.

Now, because we (Christians) are in the unjustified class, we will be dumped on with impunity. We will, make no mistake. But why?

In 1 John 3:13, we see an answer. John encourages Christians that they should "not be surprised . . . that the world hates you." But there is a reason that the world will hate us: righteousness. It's ironic, isn't it? The people who have societally imputed righteousness will hate those who display actual righteousness—whether in word or in deed. See what John says just prior to verse 13: "We should not be like Cain, who was of the evil one and murdered his brother. And why did he murder him? Because his own deeds were evil and his brother’s righteous."  It's telling, and belies the true motives of those who would hate you. This inversion has been going on since the beginning. 

So, it's important to know what is really going on when Christians are hated and labeled as "bigots" in our society. It's nothing less than the same thing that penetrated Cain's heart when he murdered his brother: hatred of righteousness. Hearts that are enslaved to Satan hate righteousness, and they will endeavor to bring it down in any way possible. 

But do not let all of this discourage you. Rather, we should give thanks. We should give thanks for the persecution (Matt. 5:11). But most importantly, we should give thanks that our hearts have been transformed to love righteousness, especially the righteousness that is ours in Christ. Because without it, we would be counted among the murderers as well. Only by God's grace are we not. 

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