Cash and Covenant

or Thirty Pieces of Silver

“A Christian culture is a culture of opportunity because it is a culture that flows from the Covenant.”

The Bible Matrix is found throughout the Bible. It is the shape of Creation but it is also the shape of Covenant. It is the process of promise and fulfilment. We see it in Eden. We see it in Canaan. Every Covenant is a mission, a tour of duty, resulting in a safe place to live, a home of abundance, peace and glory. It should be no surprise to Christians that it is also the process that underpins economic growth.

Capitalism is based on the biblical Covenant structure. Good businessmen understand how it works. It invariably necessitates the risk and sacrifice of what we now possess for a greater reward. Steve Jobs told us that, and demonstrated it again and again. It takes money to make money. This requires faith in the one who made the promise, even though business people do not recognize the source of the abundance is the hand of God.

God calls Man to work, which involves risk (faith), a sacrifice and some obedience to laws (which include natural and business laws), which will bring fulfillment of the promise — a greater abundance than what you sacrificed. That is where capitalism ends, but it is not where Covenant ends, and here is the problem for which socialism is tendered as a solution.

The final step of Covenant is that you, the risk taker, become a shelter, a house, for the helpless. The final step is generosity. Capitalism only works in a moral society. This is why we can correspond the shape of good economics to the shape of the Gospel. Jesus gave His life to give abundant life to us all. He believed in the promise made to Him by the Father, the promise of resurrection—a new body. Poverty was not something to be embraced eternally. Christian socialists forget that Jesus now owns everything. All the great saints were rich people who risked their wealth for even greater wealth, a wealth that included a legacy of other people—a household. The “glory that was set before Him” was also the glory of the Church, a new body that includes every believer. Jesus Himself is our covering. We are only saved because of His atonement, His “covering.” He, the king of kings, the great Land Lord, is our shelter.

But His kingdom is also growing to become a great tree, a shelter for the nations. As Western culture has cut itself free from the contraints of God, it has also cut itself off from the working of His Spirit. [1] The spiritual decline has led to moral decline which in turn has led to demographic and economic decline. And what is our response? Do we turn back to God? No. We attempt to minimize the risk. We don’t want the safety of the “shelter” promised by God and available through risk and sacrifice. We want to keep what we have now and spread it as thinly and as fairly as possible. That is what socialism is, and it is exactly the temptation offered to Adam in Eden and Jesus in the wilderness. It is a counterfeit kingdom at the hand of Satan. It involves no risk, no faith. And no growth. It is a bubble. [2] Worse, it is idolatry. [3]

That is what Americans just voted for. The nanny state is a satanic security. [4] It is a corporate Judas, where the voters, in their President, crucify Jesus with a kiss. Their loyalty exists only in lip service.

But those on the Right also have a misplaced faith. They believe that capitalism per se, the free market, is the saviour. But capitalism itself has no moral constraints. It is the godly Covenant process cut off from God. It is those whom God has put in authority (and whom He deliberately made wealthy) using their position for their own gain, which is why Jesus saved His sharpest words for the Jewish leaders. [5] The rich get richer and the poor get poorer (leaving out for a moment the hardworking middle class who actually produce stuff and support everyone). The opportunity that comes with biblical economics is removed from the reach of those at the bottom. We will always have the poor with us, for numerous reasons, but a society with a growing rank of “helpless” reveals a fundamental problem. A Christian culture is a culture of opportunity because it is a culture that flows from the Covenant.

To sum up, capitalism without God knows little about generosity. The socialists do see the problem, but they don’t replace the greed with generosity. They fill the God-gap by breaking other commandments. They fill it with envy and theft, and then sit enthroned like Orwell’s pigs at the farmer’s table. And once the risk is gone, the abundance is gone too.

Based on Church history, I have no doubt that there is even greater prosperity awaiting the world. [6] But like Israel, like Adam, to enter into God’s rest, we must turn back to Him in obedient faith. The prosperity gospel is a satanic lie, yet true prosperity will only even come through an application of the Gospel. We embrace risk and sacrifice for greater blessing at every step.

If you would like to understand more about the Covenants in the Bible, you can read my Bible Matrix II: The Covenant Key, or Ray Sutton’s That You May Prosper. R. C. Sproul’s Biblical Economics is also a good introductory read.

[1] See The Exorcism of Christ.
[2] See A Bad Investment.
[3] See Out of the Eater and Worship as Commerce.
[4] See Baal’s Stimulus Package.
[5] See When Judaism Jumped the Shark.
[6] See posts under the Postmillennialism tag.

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