“And He said to them, ‘Therefore every scribe who has been trained for the kingdom of heaven is like a master of a house, who brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old.’” (Matthew 13:52)
Jesus often taught through parables, and no bible chapter contains more parables than Matthew 13: the parables of the sower, the wheat and tares, the mustard seed, the leaven in the loaf, the treasure in the field, the pearl of great value, and the sorting of netted fish. All these parables revealed truths about the Kingdom of Heaven, and each has been the source of many sermons.
After telling this series of parables, and explaining a few of them, Jesus asked His disciples if they understood what He was saying to them. And when they indicated that they did understand, Jesus revealed yet another truth that may have been the most important of all.
Those trained for the kingdom of heaven have godly wisdom. They understand that some of what they have already learned and achieved is of great and lasting value. However, other things they have learned need to be better learned, and other things they have achieved need to be discarded in favor of a better way.
No one modelled this godly wisdom better than Jesus Himself. Many of His teachings were drawn directly and without change from His “bible” – what we call the Old Testament. For example, His teaching of the Great Commandment comes directly from Deuteronomy 6:4-5 and Leviticus 19:18. Likewise, most of the Beatitudes are simply a compiling of Old Testament revelations in Psalms 24, 34, and 37 and Isaiah 55, 61.
Many other teachings of Jesus, however, involved significant change from what the Old Testament had declared. The OT commandment not to murder became a commandment by Jesus that you must not treat others with distain. (Exodus 20:13; Matthew 5:21-22) The OT commandment against adultery became a commandment by Jesus not to lust with your eyes. (Exodus 20:14; Matthew 5:27-28) The definition of “neighbor” broadened to include your worst enemy. (Matthew 5:43-48; Luke 10:29-37) Most importantly, the covenant of the law, with its many types of sacrifice, was replaced by the new covenant of grace in Christ, who made Himself the full and final sacrifice for the sins of all mankind. (Luke 22:20; 1 John 2:2; Hebrews 9:26)
The great political and social divide in America today is between the conservatives, often called the Right and Far Right, and the liberals or progressives, often called the Left and Far Left. This is not a new problem for humanity, even though we seem to be taking it to unusual levels of intensity. And it is a rift that occurs not just in government and culture but in the Church.
In simple terms, conservatives like things the way they are, or the way they were, while liberals like to replace old ways with new ways. Archconservatives detest change and archliberals detest tradition. One treasures the old. One treasures the new. Neither is quick to embrace the godly wisdom that can treasure both.
America was founded almost 250 years ago as a nation governed by law rather than royalty or tyranny, with the foundation of all laws being our Constitution. The purpose of this government of laws was set forth in our Declaration of Independence: to secure the inalienable rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness which God endowed to all men when He created them all as equals. This is treasure!
Unfortunately, our founding fathers had been influenced not just by the bible but by maxims of cultural Christianity that were not scriptural. For generations, they had been told Europeans had the divine right to rule and conquer, and that women were inferior to men.
The bible says God created man in His image and likeness, both male and female and including every “color”. (Genesis 1:26-29) Likewise, God loves all mankind and wants all to become His everlasting children and heirs. (1 Timothy 2:4; 2 Peter 3:9; Galatians 3:28-29) The literal wording of our founding documents reads in conformity with these scriptures, but the interpretation when they were signed was “white” and “male” only. That was not treasure! That was racism and sexism. It needed to be changed and we are still in the process of doing so.
If the “good ole days” had truly been godly, our nation would not have fallen into decline. (Matthew 16:18) No true Christian today wants to take the vote away from women or freedom from people of color. Those changes are treasure.
Marxism and lawlessness, on the other hand, are a foolish discarding of both the treasures of scripture and our founding documents.
If you fly with only your left wing or your right wing, you will veer off course. What we need in America, and in the Church, is godly wisdom that values treasures both old and new.
God bless you, and God bless our community.