Christians Making a Difference in the Community
One of the great debates consuming our society today is the debate over the separation of church and state. The debate finds its source in a statement made by Thomas Jefferson in the 1800’s concerning the “wall of separation.” Some argue that the “wall of separation” that Jefferson referred to when he wrote to Baptist in Connecticut was the separation between church and state. Others argue that the “wall of separation” that Jefferson was referring to was the “wall of separation” between the federal government and state governments. Needless to say, today we have many people spending a great deal of energy to keep the sacred with the sacred and the secular with the secular.
The problem that is often found in church and state relations in found in how the two often times view on another. When it comes to the secular, Christians often have the perspective of the government as an evil empire. This perspective is generated often times by what the scriptures declare about the secular government. On one hand, you have the state being described as controlled by demonic powers. It was the apostle Paul who said, “For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places. ” In the book of Revelation we find the godless government at its worst destined for destruction. On the other hand, the scriptures clearly declare the government in a positive light. The apostle Paul tells us that the government is ordained and authorized by God and that Christians are to obey the authorities of the secular government for that very reason.
Here is the reality of this seemingly contradiction. God establishes the government and at times will function as God intends it to do, but at other times the secular government established by God functions as God never intended it to do. The secular Government is much like the sacred church. The church is also established by God, and at times functions as a blessing to all, but at other times the God established church acts like the devil and brings misery on many.
With all this said, how do we as Christians make a difference in a secular society? How do we impact the secular with the sacred? How do we keep ourselves from the one extreme of isolationism as well as the other extreme of secularism? The last thirteen verses of the twenty-first chapter of Genesis give us some great insight into answering these questions.
In these verses we have two characters, Abraham and Abimelech. This is not the first time that we have met Abimelech in our study of the life of Abraham. In chapter twenty we were introduced to Abimelech on account of the foolish actions of Abraham and Sarah. They lied to Abimelech about their marital situation, a lie that would put Abimelech under the judgment of God. The meeting of the two in these verses in different from the first meeting.