March 24, 2008

On Heaven and Earth

The context of Scripture is such a great thing, it helps us to avoid the dangers of misapplying or misinterpretting a passage. I woke up this morning thinking about what it means to be a "citizen" of heaven while at the same time being an image bearer with the task of the crration mandate. How are both true when Scripture seems to weigh so heavily on the heavenly? After all, in times of trial and despair, this is what we hear from the pulpits. Or perhaps the emphasis is slightly in error?

Philippians 3:18-20 states "For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ..." and so the passage continues.

It is clear from the context that Paul isn't doing away with the creation mandate. He is not speaking of "earthly things" generally, rather he's contrasting idolatry with godliness, "earthly things" a rhetorical device for what is sin.

This is an example of how a particular verse can be taken out of context and misappropriated. Paul's intention is not that we be so heavenly minded that we're of no earthly good, he is simply saying that there are those wh elevate the sins of the flesh over the things of God, and as Christians, we are called to a higher standard.
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1 comment:

Anonymous said...

In my experience, I see Christians who love God very much, but many of the ones I know of will not put forth hardly any effort to keep the church building up or other things that need to be done. Some think that just because they pay their tithes and offerings that there is nothing more for them to do, so little gets done except on the backs of the few who realize that a church yard does not get mowed by cows today. Some Christians are very dense or very lazy.