More Open Than Closed
Perhaps you have heard the old hymn:
There’s a wideness, in God’s mercy,
like the wideness of the sea.
Too often we extend our private faith in ways God did not intend, and does not support.
It’s one thing to state your faith, clearly and directly. It’s another to offer none of the same mercy God offered you. In pursuit of “wise as serpents, harmless as doves” we don’t try to remake the world in our own image. Keeping yourself unstained by the sin of the world does not mean forcing your morality on others by means of state authority. Any attempt to use the leverage of the state makes us sinners automatically in all cases. If you must go that route, you first have to institute tribal government as the only proper context for God’s Laws.
This is where the distinction between Law and Grace, between this realm and the one above, is critical to understanding Christian conduct. We cannot extend the Laws of God, by our own hands, beyond the circle of volunteers who share our covenant. I can demand a certain amount of order within the reach of authority God has given me, but the ways of the state cannot work the righteousness of God. My authority ends with anyone’s whim to cooperate (except minor children).
It is art and spirit to draw the line. There are some things I simply cannot help you with, but the Spirit of the Lord requires a liberality there. I won’t help you do some things, but I’ll provide whatever information I have to offer all the world. So if I am a bakery chef, though I openly confess homosexuality is a sin in all cases, I’ll make your gay wedding cake, because it won’t defame Christ. It’s just a cake with figurines. I won’t rent you a room in my private home for your honeymoon, any more than I would for any other couple. When we do commerce with the world, we do commerce. There is no such thing as “Christian commerce” in that sense; all commerce is politics and politics has no bearing on anyone’s eternal destiny. Your demons won’t gain a foothold in my life simply because I sell you something I would sell to anyone else.
The boundary is covenant. I’ll make covenants very carefully, but business includes no such thing. There are places where such distinction is hard to discern, and conscience is everything, but I’d rather take the chance because grace and mercy are mightier than all the hosts of Hell. In spiritual terms, I can invade Hell with a water pistol and win every time, but Satan has no authority on my turf. If I walk in God’s justice within the limits of my God given authority, everything else is covered. It won’t stain my soul before the Lord. Indeed, it’s more likely the justice in my life will provoke your conscience. If I refuse to deal with you, how can I expect to speak truth to you? Christian commerce is simply using the system of this world to speak that truth.
Stop the silly boycotts and buycotts. We have to invade the world with grace if we expect His glory to shine.