When people believe they have rights… they can’t get past the “big questions”

Following on from yesterday’s post… I tried to argue that even though humans rights are good (for human relationships), they do not apply to our relationship to God. And this is such an important idea, because if you don’t get this… if you think that humans do have some sort of right before God… then you’re going to get stuck on all the issues that commonly come up…

This about the big questions that non-Christians usually ask: What about suffering? What about sex before/outside/different-to marriage? What about predestination? They all start with an assumption that God should defer to my rights as a human being.

  • What about suffering?
    You do not have a right to a life without suffering. If God has determined to allow you to suffer, you have no legal, moral, or existential foot to stand on and appeal the decision. It’s got nothing to do with what you want. God is not being unfair, he’s being God.
    In fact, if you understand this, you’ll see that the better question to ask is, “Why God do you allow us to continue living, when you have every right to annihilate us all?!”
  • What about my desires/satisfaction as a person?
    You do not have a right to a life where you get a fairy-tale ending. We do not have a right to demand that God bend his will and allow us our fleeting whims. The idea that “Everyone has a right to love someone and be loved by someone” is false. They are not rights, they are undeserved gifts – with the emphasis on the undeserved.
  • What about my choice in predestination?
    You do not have a right to choose. Yes, you should have a right to choose some things when it comes to human relationships. But you do not have a right to expect that should take your desires into account when he determines what to do with you in eternity. In fact, the very fact that God uses our choice to achieve his will should make us gasp in amazement.

See, we really need to keep reminding ourselves how fragile our relationship is with God. It is entirely by his grace. Every year, month, day, second, heart-beat and nano-zap. All at his whim, nothing because of our rights.

With that in mind… read this:

Heb 6:16-19
People swear by someone greater than themselves, and the oath confirms what is said and puts an end to all argument. Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, he confirmed it with an oath. God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged. We have this hope as an anchor for the soul, firm and secure. 

God binds himself to us silly little humans, so that we have a right to take hold of the hope of salvation and forgiveness in Christ. Amazing!

Don’t let people buy Satan’s lie… Keep reminding them they have no rights.

One of the growing ideas in our society is the concept that “I have rights”. I have a right to free speech, I have a right to equal treatment, I even have rights when I’ve been arrested (to remain silent) and I have rights when I’m convicted of a horrendous crime (food, shelter, etc.)!

But these are rights that human authorities have established for how humans should treat each other (and I’m glad they have). But the trouble is when this pattern of thinking get’s applied to God and how God treats us. Most people live under the vague assumption that they have rights when it comes to God. They (unconsciously) expect that God should treat them according to some set of eternal bill of rights that stands between divine beings and humans. Satan really has done an amazing job!

The reality is that you have no rights before God. You have no rights before your creator. This is true not only because he’s your creator and sustainer, but also because you’ve rejected him and his ways. You’ve abandoned the God of the universe and hated him in your heart and actions. We’ve all relinquished any chance of having rights before God in our sin.