The race to subjection is still on
In the 1992 movie, “Last of the Mohicans,” a British officer said to the leading character, Hawkeye, “You call yourself a patriot and loyal subject to the crown,” to which Hawkeye replied, “I don’t call myself subject to much at all.” While this philosophy reflects what many people today want to follow, it overlooks the fact that this philosophy itself becomes an entity to which adherents subject themselves. That is, if they won’t be ruled, they’re subjects to the rule of anarchy – that’s still a rule. Consequently, everyone is subject to something. Our best hope, then, is to determine the best rules and follow the authority that instituted them.
While there seem to be many rule makers, there’re actually only three – man, God, and the devil. Most of the world, whether or not they realize it are ultimately subject to Satan (the devil) who keeps them captive through temptation and guilt (2 Timothy 2: 26; Revelation 12: 10-12; John 8: 9-11; Acts 8: 23). In reality, Satan has no power to force people to do his will. He’s actually a weakly coward who’ll flee in the face of opposition (James 4: 7).
God, on the other hand, could force us to submit; but, he hopes we’ll choose to accept his rule in our life and be free of Satan’s bondage (Romans 8: 31-34; John 8: 34-36; Galatians 3: 22). God has only our best interest at heart; but, we must accept his authority to reap the benefit (Jeremiah 29: 11; Deuteronomy 6: 1-25; Romans 12: 10, 11). It is, therefore, much better to submit to God than to Satan. God will come near and lift us up if we’ll submit to him (1 Peter 5: 6-8; James 4: 8-10). This privilege of choice gives man a will of his own and makes humankind the master of its own fate (Joshua 24: 14-18).
Jesus came to take away the sins of the world, not to take sin out of the world (John 1: 29). God gave his word to his people (Jews in the Old Testament; Christians from then on) outlining the rules and consequences for disobedience and blessings for obedience (Matthew 15: 24; Galatians 6: 13-15). Christians are to inform the world of the temporal and eternal consequences of sin and that to avoid those consequences, they must submit to God (become a Christian), doing their best to stop sinning as one of God’s people (Acts 13: 26).
We don’t stop sinning and become a Christian. We become a Christian and stop sinning. Even then we’re failures reliant on God’s grace and forgiveness to keep on the right track (1 John 2: 6-10; 1: 5-9). When God forgives, he forgets rather than using our past sin to keep us captive like Satan does (Jeremiah 31: 34).
The world’s already in captivity to Satan – subject to do his will. Therefore, it’s always too late for Christians to legislate morality; besides, God’s already done that. Without being proponents of gambling establishments, like the racino, and rather than always being against them or military bases, prisons, and feedlots because of the kind of people they attract or employ, Christians should view those as more opportunities to show Satan’s captives that rewards come only to God’s loyal subjects without any real risk. Christians should be concerned about them because God is (Matthew 9: 35-38; John 17: 13-23; 1 Corinthians 5: 9-13; Ephesians 5: 1-17; Philippians 2: 12-16).
The race is still on for the world’s lost souls. Christians are to be in that race running according to God’s rules because that’s the only way to win souls and help them also win the race (1 Corinthians 9: 19-27; 1 Peter 3: 15, 16). Instead of fearing that bad morals will corrupt our good character, let’s use our good morals to convert the corrupt character (1 Corinthians 15: 33). If we’ll be proactive in this way, getting out amongst those who are Satan’s captives and showing them the more excellent way by our lifestyle, interacting with them as Jesus did, we’ll be more likely to lead them into God’s kingdom where they become his subjects (Matthew 11: 19; 21: 31, 32).
Then, God’s promise in Jeremiah 31: 34 may well come true in their lives and they’ll no longer be subject to sin. We also won’t need to concern ourselves with legislating morality; rather, the fewer people of the world – those captive to the Devil – will ask for fewer venues of immorality. It isn’t our job to prevent people from sinning; our job is to get them to stop on their own – as Christians. If we’ll work on that, everything else will take care of itself according to God’s plan.
Leonard Lauriault, church of Christ