The Bible and Economics (8)

                                           The Covenantal Witness

This means that for covenant-keepers, something analogous to Eden operates. In Eden before the fall, Adam could not incur losses if he avoided the forbidden tree. His array of possible decisions would produce varying rates of positive return, but not losses. Covenant-keepers today can sustain losses, but these losses are not permanent. There is a traditional slogan for market investors: “Cut your losses and let your profits run,” This slogan reflects God’s guarantee of His covenants, in Church, State, and family. He limits and then reverses our losses, and He lets our profits run for as long as we remain faithful.

In so doing, God extends His kingdom on earth in history. Point four of the biblical covenant model, sanctions, is unbreakably connected to point five, inheritance. Covenant-keepers receive the inheritance in history, while covenant-breakers are disinherited in history. As with the residents of Canaan in Joshua’s day, the houses and vineyards of covenant-breakers are transferred to covenant-keepers. But this transfer is no longer made by military action, as it was in the conquest generation on a one-time basis. Rather, it takes place through productivity. Covenant-keepers buy the inheritances of covenant-breakers.[1]

For the Christian person, everything hinges on the faithfulness of God to His covenant with His people. The Christian person hopes to live and taste of the blessing of God, “…which makes rich and He adds no sorrow to it” (Prov.10:22). If God’s Word is true, we may most certainly taste of His trials which are given for the purpose of refinement and growth, but these are pruning opportunities for Him to prepare us for further blessing and growth in the faith.

This means that the Christian must be a long-term planner. He understands that he is not perfect, and that God is at work in him. But nonetheless, he ought have a confident expectation that the end of his life will be better than the beginning.

The Christian’s sowing and reaping really is important, as the Bible plainly teaches. This leads us to the concept of the believer’s progressive sanctification. The Bible teaches us that

The path of the righteous is like the light of dawn, that shines brighter and brighter until the full day (Prov.4:18).

And this is how the patriarchs lived. Abraham, Isaac and Jacob all had their trials of life, but they understood something of God’s purpose in all of these. They knew that God was planning to give their seed the promised land, and while this did not permit them the luxury of presumption, it certainly gave them confidence in relation to their end, and the future of their children. Looking back to Abraham, the New Testament says that

In hope against hope he believed, so that he might become a father of many nations according to that which had been spoken, “so shall your descendants be” (Ro.4:18).

The Bible has much to say about this kind of confidence. It says,

Who is the man who fears the Lord? He will instruct him in the way he should choose. His soul will abide in prosperity, and his descendants will inherit the land. The secret of the Lord is for those who fear Him, and He will make them know His covenant. My eyes are continually toward the Lord, for He will pluck my feet out of the net (Ps.25:12-15).

This relates directly and unequivocally to economics. Why? Because we can expect by the grace of God, the steady transfer of inheritances from the godless to the godly. If we are faithful to God, He will be faithful to us.

You’re not sure if it’s appropriate to claim this in the New Testament? Then consider this:

Blessed is the man who perseveres under trial; for once he has been approved, he will receive the crown of life which the Lord has promised to those who love Him (James 1:12).

And also,

Jesus Christ is the same, yesterday and today and forever (Heb.13:8).

Riches are not evil of themselves. They only become a problem, when we have the wrong attitude towards them; when they become more important than the God who gave them to us.

Unsure of that? Consider Jabez’s prayer:

“Oh that you would bless me indeed and enlarge my border, and that Your hand might be with me, and that you would keep me from harm that it might not pain me!” And God granted him what he requested (I Chron.4:10).

Conclusion:

The Christian person should never feel guilty if God sends His blessing to them in material ways, for these things are a blessing and a confirmation from God. He must also not put his trust in those possessions, “…for wealth certainly makes itself wings like an eagle that flies towards the heavens” (Prov.23:5).

Our primary goal in life must be to serve God faithfully, and trust God to send His blessing, in His good time.

 

 

[1] Gary North, “Christian Economics in One Lesson,” 2016, ‘Scarcity and Ownership.’

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