Matt Walsh, The Clearing of the Temple, and the Heart of God

Devotional Thought of the Day:The Pantheon, a place once dedicated to worship of idols but reborn to host the worship of God.  May our lives tell a similar story as we realize what God does to us in baptism!

6  For when we were still helpless, Christ died for the wicked at the time that God chose. 7  It is a difficult thing for someone to die for a righteous person. It may even be that someone might dare to die for a good person. 8  But God has shown us how much he loves us—it was while we were still sinners that Christ died for us! 9  By his blood we are now put right with God; how much more, then, will we be saved by him from God’s anger! 10  We were God’s enemies, but he made us his friends through the death of his Son. Now that we are God’s friends, how much more will we be saved by Christ’s life! Romans 5:6-10 (TEV)

43  “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ 44  But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45  so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. Matthew 5:43-45 (TEV)

Yesterday a young blogger (pastor?) named Matt Walsh wrote a blog entitled “Jesus didn’t care about being nice or tolerant, and neither should you.”   http://themattwalshblog.com/2014/04/07/jesus-didnt-care-about-being-nice-or-tolerant-and-neither-should-you/comment-page-2/#comment-160712)  I responded at the request of a friend, but I thought I would address the basic concept here as well.

In the blog he wanted to spurn Christians on to regain their fighting spirit, To be aggressive about their faith, to challenge and do battle with those who would attack the church. To not tolerate sin or attacks on the church, to wipe the idea that Christians should be loving and therefore somehow tolerant.  One of his points was that Jesus wasn’t tolerant, that He cleared the temple after all.  Therefore righteous indignation has its place in those who follow Christ.

I have to admit – his passion is exemplary, and the reach of one blog post of his might be 100 times mine in a month.

But he’s wrong.  Critically wrong.

God doesn’t want us to humble these people into submission with the truth.  He wants us to reveal them the truth, He doesn’t need warriors to battle them, but people willing to die to themselves, who will do so to see these people freed to live in Christ.  They aren’t the ones manning the gates of hell, but the ones Christ’s Church are there to rescue.  We must understand this. We must hear His calling for us to love them, to pray for them.  We have to realize that we were once in their shoes, broken, mad at God, fighting against Him, our of ignorance and blinded by sin.

The clearing of the temple wasn’t against those who attacked Christianity from the outside, but from those who stopped those on the outside from being able to know God, to find time to pray.  The place where he cleared was the place for the Gentiles to pray, so that they would know God. ( see 1 Kings 8:41-43)  The goal was to help these people, drowning in the darkness, in despair, these people that are broken, even as we are broken.

For God, over and over, has indicated that He is not willing that any perish in their sins, but that all are transformed in Christ.

That’s why Jesus died on the cross – even Caiaphas recognized this in John 11.  That is why Paul would pour out his life, and call us to imitate him as he imitated Jesus.  That every apostle didn’t combat their opposition, but prayerd and often died, tat they would know Christ.

Do we have to deal with ugly stuff, if we walk in Jesus footsteps?  Yeah – we have to deal with those who don’t even know that sin is sin.  (and instead of people getting in their way by selling things to sacrifice  – we have to sometimes deal with those who – from inside the church, defend sin.)  But we have to remember that their ignorance doesn’t make them our enemy – that our apostolate, our being sent as Jesus was sent ( see John 20:21) is to bring to them healing for the brokenness, sight to their blindness, to proaclim them free from the bondage of sin, and the fear of death.

By pointing them to the one who loved them enough to die for them.  Which may mean we lose our life, our identity in this life.

That’s following Christ.

The Zeal for God’s house that sees as the light to those who don’t know God, and the glorious place for those of us to do.

Lord have mercy on us, and help us to love them, as you did.

About justifiedandsinner

I am a pastor of a Concordia Lutheran Church in Cerritos, California, where we rejoice in God's saving us from our sin, and the unrighteousness of the world. It is all about His work, the gift of salvation given to all who trust in Jesus Christ, and what He has done that is revealed in Scripture. God deserves all the glory, honor and praise, for He has rescued and redeemed His people.

Posted on April 8, 2014, in Devotions and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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