• Why American Christians Should Support Better Gun Control

    In the wake of the Sandy Hook School massacre (so soon after the Denver movie theatre shooting), there is a new call for America to enact more gun control laws, even ban guns.

    There are lots of good reasons why this makes sense, one of the clearest being the
    success of other countries such as Australia in reducing their gun-related crimes by
    banning guns (sounds so obvious doesn’t it?).

    What concerns me more though, is that the biggest opponents to gun control are largely
    right wing, Republican, conservative, CHRISTIAN Americans. The word we often hear
    from these guys is rights. I have the right to bear arms under the constitution, I have the
    right to defend myself, I have the right to engage in recreational gun activities.

    Whether or not these arguments are valid (and people have argued both ways to
    exhaustion), what seems strange to me is that somehow rights are being used by
    Christians as the unbeatable principle in guiding their actions and lifestyles.

    Philippians 2:5-8 says.

    In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

    Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;

    rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.

    And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!

    2 Corinthians 5:21,

    God made him who had no sin to be sin for us, so that in him we might become the
    righteousness of God.

    Jesus had the right to do what he pleased. That he came on earth to sacrifice himself for
    us instead is the amazing centre of Christian belief. It is what shapes the Christian
    worldview and life. It is the non-negotiable crux of the Gospel that forms a lens that
    Christians should have their opinions and attitudes seen through.
    Note also that we are specifically encouraged in the beginning of the Philippians passage
    to emulate Jesus in this. Actually more than that, we are to have the same mindset as
    Jesus. One of the foundations of our lives, thoughts and actions should be to give up our
    rights for the sake of others.

    For the American Christian (or any Christian) who argues they have the right to bear arms,
    what matters isn’t whether you have that right or not, what matters is whether you are
    willing to give up that right in the same way that Jesus gave up his life.

    Are we all as Christians doing this same thing to things in our lives? What other things do
    we hold tightly to because we have the right to instead of considering that our rights don’t
    necessarily come first?

    The author of this post is Jackson Stace. Jackson loves Jesus. He is moving to Sydney to study Gods word at Moore College and join the team at Resolved Church to reach the people of Sydney. He loves fantasy fiction but thinks that Game of Thrones book 4 was boring.

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  • Fight for your Holiness

    Christians believe that we are right with God, forgiven and cleansed by the death of Jesus. We also think that we are sanctified or made holy by what Jesus has done. These are things that no biblical Christian would want to deny.

    But as we rightly remember that Jesus sanctifies us through his death do we also remember on the other hand that we are to fight for our sanctification?  Take Paul in 1 Timothy 6 for example:

    11 But as for you, O man of God, flee these things. Pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, steadfastness, gentleness.12 Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called and about which you made the good confession in the presence of many witnesses. 1 Timothy 6:11-12

    Notice the verbs Paul is using here. We have to pursue, fight, take hold. They are all active verbs. Meaning, that we are not to sit back on our laurels but we are to fight to be more holy, more Christ like.

    Or take Paul in Philippians 2 for example:

    12 Therefore, my beloved, as you have always obeyed, so now, not only as in my presence but much more in my absence, work out your own salvation with fear and trembling, 13 for it is God who works in you, both to will and to work for his good pleasure. (Philippians 2:12-13)

    Notice what he is saying. He is saying that God works in us and we are to work out salvation. Now what does it meant to work out our Salvation? I think it means that we are to strive to live as a Christian because a Christian is one who is saved. So I think Paul is saying work it out, live it out. Live life like you are saved.

    So Christians are meant to fight for our holiness. We are meant to battle sin. We are meant to walk away from the internet when we are tempted. We are meant to work hard at seeing the good in others so that we don’t gossip. We are meant to fight to read our Bible  and fight to be encouraged by it. We are to labour in prayer. But we do this all because we have the power from God to do it!

    Here is what Martyn Lloyd-Jones say about our fight for holiness:

    “The New Testament calls upon us to take action; it does not tell us that the work of sanctification is going to be done for us. . . .We are in the ‘good fight of faith’, and we have to do the fighting. But, thank God, we are enabled to do it; for the moment we believe, and are justified by faith, and are born again of the Spirit of God, we have the ability. So the New Testament method of sanctification is to remind us of that; and having reminded us of it, it says, ‘Now then, go and do it’.”

    Martyn Lloyd-Jones Romans:Exposition of Chapter 6: The New Man, 76

    How do you fight for holiness?

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