The other day, I was reading Ephesians 5 and I came across two verses, 15-16, which really caught my eye. These verses say, “See then that ye walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise, redeeming the time, because the days are evil.” Now, one truth is evident, the days are definitely evil, but are Christians walking circumspectly and redeeming the time at this present moment in history?
To help answer this question, I decided to watch a man preaching on television on one of the many Christian channels that I have (I will admit, I have a lot of channels in general to choose from) and I noticed the subject of this man’s sermon was that of witnessing. I then turned on another Christian channel (one devoted to the youth) to hear another man almost exclusively discuss witnessing. Another channel followed likewise. What I am about to write might sound weird if you are coming from a youth group background, but I was sad to see all of this focus on witnessing.
Those who might find my point of sadness jarring will probably bring up or most likely paraphrase 1 Timothy 2:3-4, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.” It is true, as seen in this passage, that God wants all men to be saved, but He also wants all men to come to the knowledge of the truth. And what is truth? John 17:17 says, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.” So, apparently, God’s Word is truth according to Jesus Christ in John. So from these two passages we can deduce that God not only wants us all men to be saved, but to have all men come to the knowledge of His Word. I believe in most churches and youth groups today, Christians stop at the first part of this verse about God wanting all men to be saved, but leave out the part about having knowledge of His Word.
This point of knowledge of God’s Word is only further compounded by going back to Ephesians 5 in verses 16-17, “Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. Wherefore be ye not unwise, but understanding what the will of the Lord is.” How can we understand the will of the Lord? By reading His Word of course! Romans 12:2, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” Renewing our mind involves reading the Word of God and putting the information to use as we become knowledgeable in God’s Will. 2 Timothy 3:15, “And that from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures (God’s Word), which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus.” See, we become wise unto our salvation by knowing the Word.
Knowledge of the Word brings me to my next point. Another reason, Christians have not been “redeeming the time” is because they have been bogged down by extraneous stuff and not focused on the Word. Some of this extraneous stuff involves different issues Christians fight for on the political and cultural spectrum. Evangelicals are involved heavily into pro-life causes, anti-gay marriage causes, school prayer causes, and so forth. Most of the time, these Christians want to enact laws to back the causes up. Whatever happened to “Render unto Ceasar what is Ceasar’s?”
The movie Sergeant York which is about one of the greatest American heroes from WWI, contains a great scene. In the movie, Alvin York, tries to exempt himself from the draft through conscientious objecting due to York’s perception of war being against his Christian beliefs. The United States Army rejects his objector status and, thus, he has to report for duty or face legal consequences. While he is praying to God and reading the Word on a mountain, the Bible spontaneously turns to Matthew 22:21, “…Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s. “ He ends up joining the army and becoming one of the greatest American war heroes ever.
This movie scene encapsulates my sentiments exactly to the current Christian political climate. Many of the laws lobbied for by the Christian Right really have little basis in Scripture and in many ways keep Christians focused more on the cause than the Word. While these causes seem noble, why do we even care what the United States government enacts as laws? Even looking in the Word, we can see that the Law and laws are for the lawbreakers or unrighteous and not for law abiding citizens or righteous. 1 Timothy 1:9-10, “Knowing this, that the law is not made for a righteous man, but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and for sinners, for unholy and profane, for murderers of fathers and murderers of mothers, for manslayers, For whoremongers, for them that defile themselves with mankind, for menstealers, for liars, for perjured persons, and if there be any other thing that is contrary to sound doctrine.”
Let’s look at a couple of examples of these Right causes: abortion and gay-marriage. Where is the condemnation and advocacy against abortion found in Scripture? It is found nowhere. Don’t misunderstand what I am saying. Morally, I object to abortion as a method of uninhibited birth control, but sinners are going to sin. Why get angry about the course of the flesh? Remember, laws are for the unrighteous. The same thing applies to gay-marriage. Sure, we know that homosexuality is considered a sin throughout God’s Word, but never does God command us to prosecute against gay-marriage in the Supreme Court or the court of public opinion.
The days are evil and the United States is a country situated in an evil world in those fore mentioned evil days. It is very evident that after Christ’s death and resurrection, God is not the God of any country, but of each individual Christian. Colossians 3:10-11, “And have put on the new man, which is renewed in knowledge after the image of him that created him: where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.” There are those words again: renewed and knowledge. Being renewed in God’s knowledge seems to be the opposite of national or political identification. So, instead of getting bogged down by political causes and getting angry about the course of the world, let’s put our energy into something we know God wants us to do: grow in an accurate knowledge of His Word.