Thinking Hard about an Obscure Text

Friday Musings

29 This is what I mean, brothers: the appointed time has grown very short. From now on, let  . . . those who buy as though they had no goods31 and those who deal with the world as though they had no dealings with it. For the present form of this world is passing away.  (1 Cor. 7:29-31)

Some texts are harder to understand than others. That should neither surprise us nor shock us. It simply is. Lazy minds give up. Truth-hunters don’t. The apostle Peter himself warned us that this was so even in the inspired writings of Scripture.

In 2 Peter 3, the apostle writes ” . . . just as our beloved brother Paul also wrote to you according to the wisdom given him, 16 as he does in all his letters when he speaks in them of these matters. There are some things in them that are hard to understand, which the ignorant and unstable twist to their own destruction, as they do the other Scriptures.”

So what is Paul driving at? I found some help in John Piper’s A GODWARD HEART (Multnomah, 2014) on pages 48-50. Here, to my mind, is a biblically consistent application for all of us.

“Let Christians keep on buying while this age lasts.  Christianity is not withdrawal from business.  We are involved but as though not involved.  Business simply does not have the weight in our hearts that it has for many.  All our getting and all our having in this world are getting and having things that are not ultimately important.  Our car, our house, our books, our computers, our heirlooms—we possess them with a loose grip [or should!].  If they are taken away, we say that, in a sense, we did not have them. We are not here to possess. We are here to lay up treasures in heaven (Matthew 6:19-20).
This world matters, but it is not ultimate. It is the stage for living in such a way as to show that this world is not our God but that Christ is our God. It is the stage for using the world to show that Christ is more precious than the world.
So it is with voting. We do not withdraw. We are involved, but as if not involved. Politics does not have ultimate weight for us. It is one more stage for acting out the truth that Christ, and not politics, is supreme.”

Yes, all of life is but a stage for us to show the world the superiority, the supremacy, the beauty, the wonder, the glory, of our Savior. Life is for displaying the grace and love and justice of Christ. And the more we come to grips with that, the greater will be our joy in this life and the next.

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