GOSPEL COUNTER-CULTURE

Scripture Reading: I Samuel 24:16-22

“He (Saul) said to David, ‘You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid the good, whereas I have repaid you evil. And you have declared this day how you have dealt with me, in that you did not kill me when the Lord put me into your hands. For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe? So may the Lord reward you with good for what you have done to me this day.'” (I Samuel 24:17-19)

The gospel creates a counter-culture that is the reverse of the culture of the world. Saul was amazed that David didn’t kill him — “For if a man finds his enemy, will he let him go away safe?” Saul could not understand why David didn’t kill him. In Saul’s culture, if a man finds his enemy, he puts an end to him. That is the culture of the world. One seeks revenge and does harm to his enemy.

But the gospel creates a culture that is different from that of the culture of the world. These are the words of Jesus — “You have heard that it was said, ‘an eye for an due and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I say to you, Do not resist the one who is evil. But if anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to him the other also. And if anyone would sue you and take your tunic, let him have your cloak as well. And if anyone forces you to go a mile, go with him two miles. Give to the one who begs from you, and do not refuse the one who would borrow from you” (Matthew 5:38-42). The gospel creates a counter-culture that the world does not understand and one that we cannot operate in without the power of the Holy Spirit.

David acted in a counter-culture way. Even though Jesus had not spoken these words yet, David acted with a gospel driven focus. Remember that the Spirit of God had come upon him and given him a new ability — “You have heard it said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy,’ but I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. For He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? And if you greet only your brothers, what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same?” (Matthew 6:43-47).

David was gospel driven and Spirit led, and Saul noticed the difference — “You are more righteous than I, for you have repaid me good, whereas I have repaid you evil.” It is only by the power of the Holy Spirit that we can apply the counter-culture of the gospel to our lives.

O Holy Spirit, I read these words of Jesus and know that it is impossible to obey them without Your power and presence in my life. I could never do these things in my own strength. You change me from the inside out and You give me the desire and ability to obey. Fill me fresh today and allow me to live my life in line with the truths of the gospel.

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