Love of conflict

I ran across a paragraph in an on-line article I was reading this week. It sort of struck home, as I thought of my delight in discussion and debate:

Paul had a heart for unity, but not at the expense of truth. His life promoted and protected truth. It must have been a great grief for him to witness those who were divisive in character. The subject became quite familiar to Paul. Eight of the seventeen words utilized to describe the “works of the flesh” in Galatians 5:19-21 refer to that which characterizes divisiveness. In fact, the Greek word for divisions in Romans 16:17 is the same word that is translated

seditions in Galatians 5:20. Human nature loves conflict. It is the natural activity of an unsaved person but is entirely out of place for a believer. Thus, it should not be a part of the believer’s daily life or attitude when he defends the faith. (Ernie Schmidt, “Are Separatists Divisive?” Faith Pulpit July, August 2003)

That line, “human nature loves conflict” … that’s the convicting line. Do we always do well in our discussions? Are we feeding the spirit or the flesh? I know the Bible calls us to contend for the faith, but is that what we do in our discussions?

The fact is that the Bible does call us to enter conflict for the sake of truth. Noble battles have been fought in defense of the faith. Some men have had the courage to stand up and be counted for Christ when few would stand by their sides. We should be ever grateful for such men.

On the other hand, some men seem to be just controversialists. They like the fight. If they run across an opinion, it seems they must be contrary to it. They must speak up. They must engage in the battle. All the while, they justify their actions by the call to contend for the faith.

Now what kind of people are we?

Do we enter conflict for the sake of conflict?

Our Glorious Christ

Hebrews 1.3-4 says, “He is the radiance of the glory of God and the exact imprint of his nature, and he upholds the universe by the word of his power. After making purification for sins, he sat down at the right hand of the Majesty on high, having become as much superior to angels as the name he has inherited is more excellent than theirs.”

What does it mean that Jesus is the ‘radiance of the glory of God’? Westcott says this “is not any isolated ray, but the whole bright image which brings before us the source of light.” He also says, “the light flashed forth … [in] the full manifestation of [God’s] attributes according to man’s power of apprehending them.” The idea is that there is a moment in time (a 33 year moment) when the brightness of God flashed into human history, consciousness and life. In other times, glimmers of God’s glory might be seen in the lives of people who are completely devoted to Him. But only in Jesus Christ is the exact imprint of his nature seen.

The greatness and majesty of Jesus is seen in the phrase, “he upholds the universe by the word of his power.” Our whole existence depends on the word of Jesus Christ. No one is higher than that.

Our glorious Jesus laid aside the fulness of his glory, came to earth to make purification for sins, and then sat down at the right hand of God in Heaven. Not only is Jesus worthy of the throne by virtue of his intrinsic nature and glory, he is worthy of the throne because of what he did on earth to take away men’s sins.

What does this mean for me?

Jesus is a Saviour worth following. He is a Master worthy of obedience. You should not even consider any other option. Bow your knee to him and live for His glory. We are all undone and unworthy before Him, but by His grace we are His brethren and friends. You ought to live for Jesus because he is “the radiance of the glory of God”.