Sociology is the science which deals with the laws and principles that control our relation to the neighbor.
The Bible is no text book on sociology, but Scripture certainly enunciates the laws and principles according to which we must conduct ourselves towards the neighbor, whether in the sphere of marriage, economics, politics or labor and industry.
I would first like to emphasize again that Scripture addresses itself, not to a mankind in general, but to the saints, as they are principally redeemed in Christ and now walk in sanctification.
Then there are principles which underlie this sanctification-process in the midst of this world.
First of all we have the Second Table of the Law, inseparably joined to the first table.
It comes to them concerning whom God says: “I am the Lord your God who brought you out of the land of Egypt out of the house of bondage”. Whatever kind of sociology they have in Egypt, however they may conduct themselves in Egypt, you have been delivered out of that bondage and you are become my own private and personal property.
“For the grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared”. It teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly righteously and godly in this present world.
Thus also the Second Table of the Law comes to us as those who are principally redeemed out of the bondage of sin, and now shall live in the world as saints of the most high God.
And as redeemed saints our lives must move in the direction of sanctification. We are not justified by the deeds of the Law, but we most certainly attain sanctification in the way of the obedience of the Law. Hence then, when Scripture deals with matters which pertain to our social life, its primary purpose is to instruct and to guide the saints concerning their sanctification while they sojourn in this world.
If then we love God, we shall love our neighbor.
Your neighbor is the person with whom you come into constant contact.
You may not hate him, nor do him evil, but you must do him good all the days of your life here in this world. If he do you evil you may not take revenge, if he curses, you must bless, if he smites you on one cheek you must turn to him the other also. You must seek his welfare, not his downfall.
Such is our sanctification.
If, however, you complain that such conduct on your part would not improve your social or economic situation, Scripture would teach you its sociology by telling you that it is not interested very much in those matters, it IS interested in your sanctification.
To love, always to love, for God’s sake to love. Never to hate. Never to take revenge, never to take up arms against a neighbor in order to trample him under your feet. Always to seek your neighbors welfare, even at the expense of your own. A conduct in which greatness is measured in terms of service and unselfishness.
A very other-worldly system of sociology. In terms of dollars and cents it will bring you little success.
Perhaps you would rather go back to Egypt. In Egypt, in the bondage of corruption, man and wife quarrel, they get a divorce and they seek other mates. There they engage in class struggles, they take part in strikes. . . .all calculated to improve their social and economic position. Therein, if someone strikes you on your cheek, you hit back with both fists, there, in Egypt, they think only in terms of own advantage, and, with Cain, they kill the man that gets in their way. Perhaps you prefer Egypt and her sociology.
But no, we are delivered from Egypt.
Delivered by the love of God.
And we begin to practice love toward our neighbor.
Reformed sociology begins with love.
In Egypt success is measured in terms of how much power you can wield and how much influence you can bring to bear.
But to us who are redeemed out of Egypt comes the word that the Meek shall inherit the earth.
Nothing seems more ridiculous than meekness, especially in today’s economic unrest, will get us anywhere. And it will not, if your goal is to get as much of this world’s goods as you can. If our purpose is merely the things of this world, or if it is merely economic improvement we seek, I doubt whether meekness will prove of any advantage. Rather it will make you seem foolish, and your very conduct is liable to invite abuse.
Perhaps you want to go back to Egypt again for your lessons in sociology. There they have a social science of their own. The man with the biggest mouth, with the most muscle and the most power on his side wins. Their pride and selfishness motivate man’s conduct.
But no, we have been delivered. We are redeemed. We are saints.
Blessed are the meek.
And cursed are you when you are not meek.
God’s precepts on sociology do not form a book alongside of many other books. God curses every science and philosophy which man imagines, but He blesses them who walk in His ways.
The grace of God that bringeth salvation hath appeared. It teaches us to deny ungodliness and worldly lusts and to live soberly, righteously and godly m this present world.
In Egypt they are ungodly. Their so-called culture and refinement is ungodly. Their social relationships are based upon ungodliness. What care they about God, about what God says or what God thinks of their conduct. Their philosophy is that there is no God.
Shall our social conduct be controlled by the philosophy that there is no God?
No, we have been delivered out of the house of bondage. We not only know that God is, we not only reverence and fear Him for what He is, but we also find it our enjoyment to do those things which are well pleasing unto God. That is godliness.
Our Lord, Who went before us out of Egypt (because God called His Son out of Egypt), Himself said repeatedly that He did ALWAYS those things which were pleasing to His Father. That is genuine godliness.
If we should come to the world with this Social Science and read to her a few of these first lessons, what would she do? The question has been answered. Look, yonder stands the cross of our Lord. He was crucified because He was godly. He was the ONE Person Who was godly, perfectly godly. And because He was godly He was universally rejected of men. The world hath no place for godliness. Which makes it all the more necessary that we teach this godliness in social relationships. And not only must we read them a few lessons of it, we must practice it.
FRIENDS OF CHRIST
Christ stood in the midst of this world. He said, “I came not of myself, my Father sent me”, and again, “I seek not my own glory but the honor of Him that sent Me”, and “I speak not of myself, what My Father commanded me, that speak I”, and, “I came not to do my own will but the will of Him that sent Me”.
Christ most perfectly represented the Cause of God in this world. He sought no other causes. Never, never was He interested in parties or cliques, movements or enterprises of men. (He sought not a little cause of His own. He ever championed the Cause of God.
So much so that He was “hated without a cause”.
Wherever you see Him, whenever you hear Him He was busy with, as He said, “I do always those things which please the Father”.
In championing the cause of the Father He was willing to lose everything. Because He perfectly represented the Cause of God He was hated, despised, spit upon and buffeted.
His sociology certainly was that He was in this world with no other purpose that to represent and to champion the Cause of His Father.
And why are we here?
If we are here only to seek our own benefit, to bring as much into our pockets as we can, to suck as much enjoyment out of life as ever possible, we are carnal. We live in Egypt. There everyone seeks himself and his own petty cause. Therefore their social life is full of greed, envy and murder, and therefore they claw at each other’s throats.
But we have been redeemed through Christ, and having been brought into His Covenant, we realize that our primary calling in this world is not to have a little cause of our own, which we will press to the limit if that seems to become necessary, but that we represent the Cause of God over against this world which denies Him. And pressing that Cause, we be ready to give up all our own causes, if that become necessary.
Difficult lessons? Yes. Yet “His yoke is easy. . .”
(To be continued).