Better than a zealot in the cause of error

Philippians 3:17-21

Brothers, join in imitating me, and keep your eyes on those who walk according to the example you have in us. 18 For many, of whom I have often told you and now tell you even with tears, walk as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their end is destruction, their god is their belly, and they glory in their shame, with minds set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

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Antonin Scalia gave a commencement speech at Stone Ridge School of the Sacred Heart in Bethesda, where his granddaughter Megan graduated in 2015. The former Supreme Court Justice (who recently died) took on some platitudes often offered at high school graduations. From “we face unprecedented times,” to “to thine own self be true,” and “never compromise on your principles,” Scalia offered a different spin. Especially with regard to the latter his advise is worth repeating:

“It is much less important how committed you are than what you are committed to,” Scalia said. “If I had to choose, I would always take the less dynamic, indeed even the lazy person, who knows what’s right rather than the zealot in the cause of error.”  (From an article in the Washington Post).

Being convinced and committed to the wrong cause will not advance the cause of the rule and reign of Christ – no matter how zealous or even religious you might be. There are those who are enemies of the cross of Christ. They may propose things and ideals with great conviction – even wrapping those arguments in the cloaks of faithfulness, truth, and propriety. But if they do not lead to the cross of Jesus as the source of righteousness (and that not just by claim, but in fact) they are to be ignored.

We are called to take note of those who live in humble love, repentant faith, and hopeful anticipation of Jesus’ return in glory to “transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.”

Consider the current state of the political landscape in the United States. There are dangerous and harmful principles and promises being offered, and vitriolic and hateful aspersions being cast back and forth by the various candidates. This causes me great concern for our nation. But I am reminded here that our citizenship is not in this world, but in heaven. I join Paul and all those who call Jesus Savior and Lord in anticipation of the return of our Lord Jesus Christ. I greatly anticipate the transformation of my body into a glory untainted by sin. Will I vote next November? I certainly will – God willing! (cf. James 4:13-15) But the rule and reign of Christ in my heart and in the hearts and lives of others is far more consequential than the rule of any political party will ever be. May I never be a zealot in the cause of error, but known as a servant of the cause of Christ.

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