The Blessing of Biblical Friction
You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go one mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you.
You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect. – Matthew 5:38–48
Check out last Sunday’s sermon here.
Ponder this statement: One of the great proofs of the Bible’s reliability is that the Bible universally creates friction with all our cultural biases.
Pastor Mike shared at the beginning of the sermon last Sunday the many ways we can read the Bible poorly. We most often read it poorly when God’s Word creates friction with how we think or feel our lives should be lived. Matthew 5:38-48 is a prime example of a friction causing text.
Tim Keller argues that these very passages which make us uncomfortable are indicators that God’s Word is divinely inspired.
“If the Bible really was the revelation of God, and therefore it wasn’t the product of any one culture, wouldn’t it contradict every culture at some point, and therefore have to offend your cultural sensibilities at some point?*”
God’s Word will always grind the gears of our lives, because He exists as the God outside of culture, space, and time. So, should we be surprised when He calls us to do what we don’t want to do?
As a Christian, I am called into a life that aligns with God’s desires, passions, goals, and plan. All I am is His, for His will and for His glory. I am called away from a life of holding onto what is “mine,” pursuing my own desires, passions, goals, and plans. Therefore, my life in His Kingdom, while living in the present, is a constant reordering of what is, “mine” under the authority of the God who already owns all that is “mine”. Maybe I should be less surprised then, when I encounter friction when reading the Bible. That friction I feel just might be the very call of God to surrender something of “mine” to His divine will and call.
“Mine” no Longer
When God in Christ said, “It is done,” (John 19:28-30)
Mine became His and His became mine. (1 John 2:2, Colossians 2:9-10)
And God the Judge said, “You are mine,” (1 John 3:1)
“Mine” proclaimed His as He became mine. (Romans 12:1-2)
*Quote from this message preached by Timothy Keller.