As believers, we are one in Christ—not because we share common interests, but because we share a common life! And this bond far transcends any political opinions or disagreements.
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Transcript: Welcome to Five Minutes With Pastor Lutzer. I’m so glad that you’ve joined us today as we have this discussion of Christians, politics, and the cross. My intention in this series is not to get into the nitty-gritty of all of the political issues that are discussed that are oftentimes debated, and oftentimes divide us, even as Christians. My intention is to try to help us to see that the cross of Jesus Christ—and that which binds us together—is transcendent. It is much more important than even the discussions that we have politically.
Take, for example, the apostle Paul in writing the book of Ephesians. Remember, the Jews and the Gentiles did not get along at all. In fact, they hated each other. I think, for example, today, possibly of the Arabs and the Jews in the Middle East—hatred, distrust, anger.
And yet Paul says in Ephesians chapter two that Jesus Christ made us one. And what is very important is to see that we become one not because we share common interests. Paul says we have become one because we share a common life. He says that God created a new man. We are members of the same temple. We are members of the same body. We have the same head, namely Jesus Christ our Lord. And therefore, we have values that are so critical that bind us together, that we can get along despite those political disagreements.
Some time ago on the news, there was a discussion of how to get along with family members or other Christians who differ politically—and you can have some very, very intense arguments. And those arguments should be had. We should listen; we should be careful about how we respond to others. But if you are a believer, that which binds us together and the common life we share is more important than that which divides us politically.
Just think of Paul’s day—very diverse culture. And yet, he says in Colossians chapter three verse 11, “Here—” that is, in Christ—“there is neither Greek nor Jew; neither circumcised or uncircumcised; neither barbarian—“can you imagine that? Barbarian! “Scythian—” that refers to a culture that was primarily a culture of nomads. He says, “Neither slave nor free, but all are in Christ.” Slavery, of course, was part of the whole economy of that day. Oftentimes the slaves were treated very well. They were like servants.
But be that as it may, no matter where you are on the social, political, or economic spectrum, those distinctions, though they are maintained, become one in Christ. And as a result of that, we have the responsibility of saying, no matter how intense the political debates, we are members of the same body. We share a common life.
I like to tell that story that apparently happened in World War One, where there was a soldier that was killed. And his comrades asked if they could bury him in a cemetery. But it was a Catholic cemetery, and the man who was killed was a Protestant, so the priest told him, “No, you must bury him outside of the cemetery.” So that’s where they dug the grave, and that’s where they buried him. But the next day, his comrades came back looking for the grave. They wanted to honor it, and they couldn’t find it. And they met the priest, and he said, “I was so convicted because of what I told you, that he couldn’t be buried in the cemetery, that last night, I had the fence moved so that the body of your comrade is included in the cemetery.”
I love to tell that story; not because I think there are no important differences between Catholics and Protestants. I believe that there are some very important differences. But to illustrate this: when you’re having those political discussions, when you’re having those arguments, move the fence. Believers are included in Christ, as Paul says—whether as slaves, bond, free, Scythian, Jew, Greek. The new man that God has created—miraculously created—is a transcendent community, a transnational community, and we must honor one another, despite our political differences.
So glad that you have joined us. Next time we will talk about the fact that politics and morality are united. They do converge. And how do we speak to this generation when we have disagreements? So glad that you have joined us. And join us next time, and as for today, just go with God.