There are three institutions that God ordained for the general welfare of humanity and for the blessing of all mankind.  Family (Genesis 2:24) and government (Romans 13:1) are two of those institutions, and church is the third (Matthew 16:18).  Through these three institutions, each person should find blessing and freedom to develop to his or her greatest potential in life as well as to glorify God and become a blessing to all those around him or her.  Of course, I don’t need to tell you that people and these God-ordained institutions do not always work as they should.  Why?  First, in this fallen world, not everyone chooses God, so they do not live up to their full potential without the power of God, being, instead, dragged down and shackled by sin their entire lives.  Fortunately, we all get a chance for salvation, I believe.  I believe that God speaks to everyone at some point in their lives and draws them to Him by the work of the Holy Spirit because He is "not willing that any man should perish" (2 Peter 3:8-9).  The work of the Holy Spirit is necessary prior to our recognition of the choice for salvation because, without the work of the Holy Spirit, we are ignorant of God's truth and the value of His offer of salvation.  Moreover, without the work of the Holy Spirit bringing life to our sin-dead souls, we remain in our state of spiritual death (Ephesians 2:1).  Once our spirits have been awakened and given enough truth to understand God's offer of salvation, then each of us have the choice to accept Jesus Christ as our savior and be reconciled to God through Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross.  His sacrifice paid the price for all sin for those of us who accept the sacrifice and enter into a covenant relationship with God. 

Or, we have the choice to harden our hearts, to reject the Holy Spirit, and to reject Jesus.  God does not use force when it comes to the decision for salvation (Revelation 3:20).  He may use compassion to entice us or fear to push us (Jude 22-23), but He will not force us to choose Him.  We always have free will with God to accept or reject.  This is the way God wants it to be since there is more glory to Him if we willingly choose Him rather than being forced, which is a favorite tactic of Satan.  Of course, God can use force in the "macro."  He does use force sometimes to shape human history or move nations and leaders toward His ends and His glory or even for the betterment of mankind (Job 12:19 and Proverbs 21:1), but He uses gentle, loving kindness for individuals.

Besides the rejection of Jesus and the Holy Spirit, there are other reasons why people do not live up to their potential or reasons why these God-ordained institutions do not help people live up to their potential.  I do not need to tell you that many governments do not further the rights and freedoms of their people as they should.  Many governments turn despotic and murderous or, at the very least, work against the best interests of their people.  In this fallen world, with governments filled with sinful people, it is easy for the interests of the people to be diverted to the selfish interests of bad people.  I’ve learned this lesson in an all-too personal way in my own fight with the government.  I’ve learned first-hand how corrupt our own government is.  In my fight with the government as a whistleblower, I learned a very disheartening lesson about corruption every step of the way.  I have begun to wonder whether there is any part of our government that works the way it is supposed to and does the right thing.  But I guess this should not come as a surprise.  Not only is our government filled with sinful and selfish people, but these people are also subject to manipulation by Satan and his demon followers.  The powers and principalities of Ephesians 6:12 are the authorities of this sinful world who control the governmental powers of this world. 

Not only do our governments often fall short of their responsibilities and their moral obligations, but our churches and families often fall short as well.  Many churches have fallen away from sound doctrine (2 Timothy 4:3), choosing worldly doctrine and pleasing lies instead of the truth of God, Jesus, and the Bible.  For instance, many liberal churches have chosen social issues for their focus instead of the power of the gospel.  Of course, there’s nothing wrong with some works, attempting to fulfill the responsibilities of Matthew 25:31-46 and Isaiah 58:6-12.  However, these responsibilities should be fulfilled while preaching and teaching the Gospel.  If we only fulfill our ministry to the physical needs of people but neglect the salvation of people’s souls through the work of Jesus Christ, then we have done very little for these people.  Remember what Jesus warned in Matthew 16:26:  “For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and loses his own soul? Or what will a man give in exchange for his soul?”  This verse applies equally here.  If we meet the physical needs of people and fight to win their freedom from bondage, temporal matters in our very short lives, yet we never see to their spiritual needs which are eternal, then we have gained the world for these people but have lost their souls.

More on this tomorrow.  Tomorrow’s subject:  families. 

I pray that God will watch over you and keep you in perfect peace, meeting all your needs physical, emotional, and spiritual.

 


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    I'm a retired soldier, having spent 23 years of my life serving our country, actually 30 years when you count the reserve and National Guard time as well.  I believe in servant leaders, following the example of our Lord, and I believe in giving back to the troops once one has attained a certain status or level of success in life.  But I also believe in fighting back against corruption and incompetence wherever you find it if it hurts people.  Our national values were worth dying for.  They are also worth living for.  A man or woman can actually live a life by these principles of humility, service, love, duty, and honor, and have a significant impact on the world around them...if you have the dedication to see it through. 

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