Monthly Archives: October 2011

False Kingdoms, False Truths, and False Allies

I love how music and poetry have a way of saying and capturing truth in ways that normal conversation could not get away with. Artists can say things that touch painful nerve endings, expose hidden intentions, or alleviate deep hurt in unique and beautiful ways. I think this is why the arts are so essential in culture, and why we are called to be little creators in pursuit of creating good things like the Creator. But this post isn’t about art in general, but about a particular song that demonstrates these truths.

“A King and a Kingdom” by Derek Webb always strikes a chord with me, bringing me back to the reality of many of the lies I and our culture believe about the truth of the gospel and the false goodness in our own hearts. What we choose to trust in or despise are often the misperceptions caused by the depravity our hearts are capable of producing. We falsely elevate our own moral “successes” above the misdeeds of others. Our ideologies and relationships become supreme, and instead of our faith influencing our ideologies, our ideologies define our faith. It’s all backwards.

And even with our good intentions and our good ideologies, we often demonstrate and push those beliefs contrary to the very nature of the beliefs themselves. For example, we declare that our political views line up with that of Scripture, yet our responses to those who think differently are usually hateful, maligning, and degrading. It’s not just the content of what you say, people. It is also the graciousness of your delivery. It’s called speaking the truth in love.

We are very good at missing who the real enemy really is… and its us. Its our own hearts. Its our own desires and “righteousness.” All self-righteousness gives us are drunk goggles to look at ourselves with. And let’s be honest, after a couple of self-righteous beers, we can find good in even the most depraved parts of our own hearts…

We are the real enemy. Sin does not exist “out there”, but “in here.” It’s in ME. And until we understand that the weapons of the Kingdom of God are the Fruit of the Spirit (love, joy, peace patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control) and NOT moralism, political agenda, pro-life picketing , or culture bashing, then evil has won and we are its pawns. Loving your enemy is the greatest threat to the gates of Hell.

So with that, I leave you with the lyrics to Derek’s song. Read. Meditate. Pray. And let the truth sink in.

A King and a Kingdom

(vs. 1)
who’s your brother, who’s your sister
you just walked passed him
i think you missed her
as we’re all migrating to the place where our father lives
’cause we married in to a family of immigrants

my first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood
it’s to a king & a kingdom

(vs. 2)
there are two great lies that i’ve heard:
“the day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class republican
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him


but nothing unifies like a common enemy
and we’ve got one, sure as hell
but he may be living in your house
he may be raising up your kids
he may be sleeping with your wife
oh no, he may not look like you think

To listen to this song, go here!


Saint and Sinner

Living in the tension of the “already, but not yet” is one of the most difficult mysteries in the Christian life. We have been adopted and regenerated into the family of God, but in our current state we are not made completely whole. That is, we are still subject to the effects of sin in our lives. Yet, as followers of Christ we are called to model our lives after our Elder Brother. Jesus, in His life, both accomplished the law, paid the penalty for breaking the law, and freed us from ever having to suffer that punishment. Yet, we still find ourselves sinning.

So often it is this discussion that leads us into so much false teaching about the role of works and righteousness in our lives. Some may say that the presence of sin in our lives is an indication that we are in fact unregenerate. While this may be the case, this is not an assumption we can make. Some may say that it is an effect of not receiving “enough” of the Holy Spirit, or even that we aren’t as mature in our faith. However, this focus can lead us further astray. It relates our works to the level of God’s acceptance of us.

However, we must clarify what it means to live in this world and also have been adopted into God’s family- how we are both saint and sinner. Sinclair Ferguson describes it as a change in our “disposition”. Our hearts that once desired sin now have new affections. We now long to do the good works God has prepared for us. However, we will fail. And we when we do, the Scriptures do not tell us to work harder or do more good things. Rather, they remind us of the forgiveness we have already received. It goes back to the indicatives driving the imperatives. What we need is what has been done, not what needs to be done. There is nothing else to complete, but there is a completion into which we are called to enter into. And in order to understand what it means to pursue holiness, we must begin with the One who was truly holy and what he has accomplished completely for us on the Cross!