By Jeffrey A. Ziegler
While my various missives generally deal in national-political reforms promoting greater liberty; the base understanding is that personal liberty and Godly freedom is enjoyed as a foundational element of national being!
Praise ye the Lord. Blessed is the man that feareth the Lord, that delighteth greatly in his commandments. His seed shall be mighty upon the earth: the generation of the upright shall be blessed. Wealth and riches shall be in his house: and his righteousness endureth forever. Unto the upright there ariseth light in darkness: he is gracious, full of compassion and righteous. A good man showith favor and lendeth: he will guide his affairs with discretion. Surely he shall not be moved forever; the righteous shall be in everlasting remembrance. He shall not be afraid of evil tidings: his heart is fixed trusting in the Lord. His heart is established, he shall not be afraid, until he see his desire upon his enemies. (Psalm 112:1-8)
These verses taken together depict the man of God delighting himself in the commands of Holy Writ. Proceeding from this gladdened condition, his heart becomes fixed, established, and trusting in the Lord. Such a man is not moved to the left or right. He does not give into or act upon fear. He exhibits discretion, and self-control along with a godly stamina, and endurance. To this man great spiritual and temporal blessings are accrued.
This delight in the law is based on two major factors which deal with the heart. First, a fear and love of God, which trusts that His Word is true, that it exists for our benefit, and that God is able and willing to perform it. Secondly, that we are unable of our own accord to love His ways unless Christ gives the grace and mercy to control the heart and its affections. Clearly, the heart is often swayed by sin, and thus, instead of viewing the Word as a refuge and safety, the too frequently held as a burden. That is, instead of seeing God as protector, and provider, men wrongly see God as the cruel task-master who takes away. To such, the notion of delighting in God’s commands seems hopeless. Even grudging outward obedience can sometimes seem impossible. Yet, even a cursory glance at the Psalms, reveals that David also struggled with this glorious view of the Word, and often wondered if God had abandoned him as he wallowed in his own sorrow.
Enter the Sermon on the Mount or the Beatitudes. This gospel narrative of Christ expounding on the Law cuts directly to the heart. Here is not a “new and higher law” for to suggest such would mean that God is in ethical transition. Instead, the law is depicted as more than an outward concern but something that must harness the heart, its affections and intentions. What believer has not been convicted by this sermon? How often has it seemed so impossible to live according to this ideal? Well, that’s the point is it not? No man can of his own accord deal with his heart. Hence, the need of a Savior, an Advocate, an Intercessor! Only Christ can dispense the grace to delight and trust in His ways when every fiber of our being is struck by grief, fear, and unbelief.
Now outward obedience to the Word is a great thing! Because of this, there exists a social peace, familial continuity, and greater negative sanctions are avoided. Still, these actions can be done while becoming bitter against God. Only if the heart is harnessed can there be “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” Only Christ and His divine almighty power made effective on our behalf can accomplish this end. Only from His hand can come the peace, satisfaction, love, mercy, and grace that will make us whole and fully functional in Godliness. Then our hearts too will be “fixed trusting in the Lord.”
As more know the freedom of being self-governed and free in Christ; less civil government and intrusion is needed. Therefore; the notion of Christ or Caesar is more than a cultural question, it also reveals the individual heart and where your foundation for government lay! That is more than any ballot box can fix!