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Sunday, November 29, 2015

Common Values

Since the Paris attacks, I’ve heard the term "common values" many times from the world’s leaders, media, and politicians. “This was an attack on our common values,” they say. Some quoted the French motto, Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité, meaning Liberty, Equality, and Brotherhood. To be sure, no one would be against those ideals.

I find it interesting that people talk about our common values, when the majority of them don’t believe in firm, foundational values. Some who speak of freedom want to curb individual freedoms. Some who talk about equality are racists. Others are intolerant of other religions and cultures. Some of them are the same ones who loudly protest the pay gap, gender gap, etc., etc. Equality?

Brotherhood takes it several steps further. Do we really believe that everyone in our city is our brother? Do we really want to make that guy over there our brother?

Freedom to go to a heavy metal rock concert. People should have that freedom, if they so choose. (In case you care, I choose not to. To me, the music from the band wasn’t all that different from the sounds coming from the machine guns. Not my cup of tea.) But, I think a free society means that people can choose the music they want to listen to. (Mozart, anyone?)

Freedom to sit at a café and sip a drink. Granted, my choice would be an excellent French café au lait, accompanied by a flaky croissant. But again, we have the right to choose.

Freedom to attend a soccer game, to walk down a Paris street. Freedom to go to church, to pray, to worship. Freedom to choose Christ without fear. Freedom to worship God.

Equality of all people, no matter their background, financial status, or religious persuasion. All people are equal under the law and can expect justice. They are not privileged nor do they suffer prejudice. Equality.

Brotherhood. True brotherhood can only be achieved in Christ. Men and women are adopted into God’s family when they accept Christ as Savior from sin. Oh, how I’d love to see this kind of brotherhood everywhere! One day we will. This verse is speaking to Jesus, for thou wast slain, and hast redeemed us to God by thy blood out of every kindred, and tongue, and people, and nation (Revelation 5:9b). But when the fulness of the time was come, God sent forth his Son, made of a woman, made under the law, To redeem them that were under the law, that we might receive the adoption of sons (Galatians 4:4-5).

So what core values do we share? Between countries, I don’t know. It seems that one country is different from another. One might be talking about one thing and the other means something totally opposite, using the same terms.

As Christians, we do have core values, foundational truths that are the basis of our lives. What are they?
  • The Bible is the Word of God. As such, it has authority. All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works (2 Timothy 3:16-17). For the word of God is quick (living), and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart (Hebrews 4:12).  
  • People have sinned, breaking the law of God. Wherefore, as by one man sin entered into the world, and death by sin; and so death passed upon all men, for that all have sinned (Romans 5:12). For whosoever shall keep the whole law, and yet offend in one point, he is guilty of all (James 2:10).
  • Jesus gave His life to save sinners, substituting His Holy life for the death sentence that every sinner deserves. For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord (Romans 6:23). Who gave himself for our sins, that he might deliver us from this present evil world, according to the will of God and our Father (Galatians 1:4) Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works (Titus 2:14).
  • We can be saved. That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved (Romans 10:9, 13).

In Christ, there’s freedom. And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free. If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed (John 8:32, 36).

In Christ, there’s equality. Where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all (Colossians 3:11). For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus (Galatians 3:27-28).

In Christ, there’s brotherhood. For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. For ye have not received the spirit of bondage again to fear; but ye have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father. The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together (Romans 8:14-17).

Find your values in Jesus!

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