Tuesday, 9 February 2016

Usury is Theft which uses Debt as an Excuse for Stealing

To many, usury seems like not only a foreign concept, but a fantastical one. They think that usury is a concept from another planet, and exists only in a fantasy world conjured only by the imagination. However, nothing can be further from the truth. Usury is far from being a fantastical imagination of the mind. It dominates the world financial markets, and is right in our midst. The New York Times reported on the 23 December 2015:

Clifford Cain Jr., a retired electrician in Baltimore, was used to living on a tight budget, carefully apportioning his Social Security and pension benefits to cover his rent and medication for multiple sclerosis.

So Mr. Cain was puzzled when he suddenly could not make ends meet. Months later, he discovered why: A debt collector had garnished his bank account after suing him for about $4,500 the company said he owed on an old debt.

Mr. Cain said he never knew the lawsuit had been brought against him until the money was gone. Neither did other Baltimore residents who were among the hundreds of people sued by the collector, Midland Funding, a unit of the Encore Capital Group, in Maryland State Court. Some of them said they did not even owe any money, or their debt had long expired and was not legally collectible, according to a review of court records.

Indeed, the modern economic system is run on debt and makes profits of usury. It feeds on debt, through the use of usury. Without debt, which is gained through usury, it could not survive. The history of usury has been a very dismal one, which is just simply evidence of how legalistic the human heart is, seeking to use the law, whether Moral Law of God, or earthly law, to obtain what it desires to the greatest extent to which it is legally justified, rather than seeking to love God and others selflessly.

Legalism of the human heart

There have been times in history where usury was banned for whole nations, such as in Medieval Europe, the glory days of Medieval Christendom. However, even in these times where societies were generally more righteous in that they respected principles of true morality, people still did seek to read exceptions into the Moral Law and earthly law against usury. Indeed, much of the history of usury was concerned with what charges relating to loan amounted to usury, and whether such exceptions should be regarded as right.

This is precisely a manifestation of the legalism of the human heart, which loves only to do wrong, but only seeks to do what is right only so that it can escape punishment for breaking Law, whether it is the Moral Law or earthly law. It is full of double-mindedness, seeking to do right, but yet not seeking to do right, for it is full of impurity and self-preservation, wanting only to do right so that rewards, praise or a lack of condemnation can result for oneself.

It is capable of worshipping God for His grace and mercy when regenerate, and loves to do so, but yet despising the very idea of showing grace and mercy to others. This is manifests in blessing God for His absolutely undeserved grace He has shown to oneself, and cursing others as James 3:9-11 describes:

Therewith bless we God, even the Father; and therewith curse we men, which are made after the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceedeth blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not so to be. Doth a fountain send forth at the same place sweet water and bitter?

The human heart is capable of worshipping God for His love, grace and mercy, but yet finds it hard to accept His justice, wrath, anger and righteousness, which itself is an indictment of the human heart, testifying of its vile double-mindedness. The human heart forgives only sparingly and conditionally, only when it is profitable for oneself, rather than because forgiveness is love and to truly love is to fulfil the Law (Romans 13:10).

Much of the interpretation of what the Bible says about usury by the modern Church is based on such legalism, which is a manifestation of its righteousness. Its lukewarmness towards usury is what makes its stance on usury all the more perverse, disgusting and abominable. It does not mind usury, but would support a ban where it is good for oneself and supports permission of it where it is good for oneself.  This is no different from the stance of the vile, wicked modern world on usury which speaks about regulation of usury, concerning what is a “good” rate of interest for people, rather than whether it is even morally right to charge interest on a loan.  It may seem unbelieveable that a Church, that is a true Church has the same stance on a moral issue with the world. However, it does.

Even conservative orthodox evangelical theologians harshly and severely rebuke those who claim that usury is a sin, for being legalistic, extreme or misguided. The days of trusting conservative orthodox evangelical theologians and pastors are over. They are long over.  No theologian or even pastor in the modern Church can be truly trusted for his interpretation of the Bible. Many of these theologians and pastors are not as godly as they appear. It is all too easy for one to be deceived by looks for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the LORD looketh on the heart (1 Samuel 16:7).

There is no middle ground regarding sin

To fear God is to hate evil. Proverbs 8:13 makes this very clear: The fear of the LORD is to hate evil: pride, and arrogancy, and the evil way, and the froward mouth, do I hate. The Bible also makes it clear that a person cannot be neutral towards evil. He will either hate evil or love evil. There is no middle ground, no matter how one might want to make it out to be, as many in the modern Church would like to think.  This is because to fear God is to hate evil and a person is either for God or against God. Jesus said: “He that is not with me is against me; and he that gathereth not with me scattereth abroad” (Matthew 12:30).  To fear and love God is to hate evil, and hate God is to not hate evil, and therefore love evil.

There is no such thing as neutrality about Jesus.  A person may be neutral in the sense that he is not politically or culturally biased. However, he is not, nor can be neutral about Jesus. Likewise, he cannot be neutral about evil. What people love to call ‘neutral’ regarding matters of good and evil is really lukewarmness. Such people are neither hot nor cold, which is how Jesus described those who are neither antagonistically against Christ, nor zealous for Christ. Rather, they are only seeking Christ for the good He gives, and yet wanting the ‘good’ the world gives; its comfort, friendship, and security. They were smug and proud behind their wealth, thinking they are wealthy and secure, when they were actually wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked: “Because thou sayest, I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing; and knowest not that thou art wretched, and miserable, and poor, and blind, and naked” (Revelation 3:17).

It its pride and desire for independence, the human heart seeks to be good without God. To claim that one can be good without God is a blasphemous statement, deserving of all wrath. It is to say that when God said that “there is none who is good, no not one” (Romans 3:11), He was lying. That is precisely what that statement means. You may think you do not seek to be good without God and you acknowledge that, however, believing that one can be good without God is much more subtle than simply declaring this blasphemous statement to the world like those vile atheists do.

As long as you think you even have authority to claim that something which offends you makes it evil, wrong or a sin, you are no different from those seeking to be independent of God, thinking one is good without Him. To even think you can set a standard of good or evil in any sense, including in making a claim that what offends you makes it wrong, is exactly what it is.

This thinking manifests in those professing Christians who think that what offends them makes it wrong, and that people who offend them are sinning against them. Such thinking is typical of many professing Christians in the west, manifesting in their staunch belief that while the Scripture is true, it is not a sufficient guide in teaching the Christian how to rebuke, correct, evangelise, teach, preach, pray or expose evil.

Such people are by their actions denying 2 Timothy 3:16: “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness”. In denying this by their actions, they demonstrate a lack of faith in the Scriptures, that is not only true, but sufficient in and of itself. The problem is precisely because human thinking can inform one is how to do these things which can only ever be done by God, and of God. That is, done only by God and of God, and no one else, not you, a pastor, a missionary, preacher, evangelist or whoever you are.

It is this pride and independence from God which manifests in legalistic thinking, thinking that one can be good as long as one simply obeys the ‘rules’ of the Law of God which are not rules at all, but really a declaration of what a righteous person is. The Law of God is the Law of God because it is of the Law of Love, that which is of His very Nature. It is a reflection of His Nature, and not simply a list of ‘rules’ which He just takes pleasure in imposing on humanity.  The Law of God hinges on the Law of Love which is why love is the fulfilment of the Law (Romans 13:10).

Legalistic thinking is so subtle that one might not even realise one thinks as such. You may say that you affirm the doctrines of grace, and so therefore can never be legalistic. This claim is to argue that as long as one believes in grace, one can never be legalistic. This claim fails to acknowledge that legalism is from the heart, and not eradicated just by belief in grace. A person may have all the right and good doctrine, but still be a legalist. This manifests in many orthodox evangelical theologians in their views on usury, and also of many in the modern Church. They dogmatically hold onto Deuteronomy 23:19-20 to justify usury against those who they do not count as their brothers, while hating only usury charged against them or those they count as their brothers.

The Legalistic Approach towards understanding the Law of God

Many in the modern Church have a legalistic understanding of the Law of GOd. This is by no means to say that it is wrong to pursue the Law of God. Rather, it is to claim that people use the Law of God as only a set of ‘rules’ to live by without seeking to pursue the Law out of Love. The Law of God is a manifestation of Love. All the Laws of God are not ‘rules’, but declarations of what is righteous, which is a manifestation of selfless love. This is exactly what those who are truly righteous will not find the Law of God burdensome:

 By this we know that we love the children of God, when we love God, and keep his commandments.  For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments: and his commandments are not grievous. For whatsoever is born of God overcometh the world: and this is the victory that overcometh the world, even our faith (1 John 5:2-4).

The Laws of God are descriptions of what is right and wrong, which is determined on the basis of selfless love. Sin is the failure to love and glorify God, and therefore the hatred of God.  It is this failure to love and glorify God from which all other sins come. Romans 1:18-32 describes this:

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who hold the truth in unrighteousness; Because that which may be known of God is manifest in them; for God hath shewed it unto them. For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:  Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened.

Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the uncorruptible God into an image made like to corruptible man, and to birds, and fourfooted beasts, and creeping things.Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves: Who changed the truth of God into a lie, and worshipped and served the creature more than the Creator, who is blessed for ever. Amen.

 For this cause God gave them up unto vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: And likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another; men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompence of their error which was meet.  And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; Being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, Backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, Without understanding, covenant breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful: Who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.

Romans 1:18-32 makes it clear that is it the failure to glorify God which is the root of all sins. The sins listed in Romans 1:26-32 come about because of this failure to glorify God. It is not homosexuality, murder, adultery or paedophilia that are the ultimate worst sins. Rather, it is the failure to glorify God, which is the hatred of God. Hating God is so vile a sin that truly deserves death, it is the worst most vile abominable sin.

That Christians so often fail to see this, let alone the unsaved, simply testifies to the love of self, and hatred of God which is only too natural to the flesh. If one still thinks that sin can be defined in relation to humanity, in any way, one fails to see sin for what it truly is, for sin is defined by what offends God and God alone. It is defined by no one else. To claim that sin can be defined by humans, either in that sin is defined entirely by humans, or that both God and humans define it, itself is to declare that humans can have any part in defining truth. This belief is absolutely blasphemous as it is to deny that God and God alone is Sovereign, that no human has any right in any way to define what is right or wrong:

And all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing: and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven, and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou? (Daniel 4:35).

 Thou wilt say then unto me, Why doth he yet find fault? For who hath resisted his will?  Nay but, O man, who art thou that repliest against God? Shall the thing formed say to him that formed it, Why hast thou made me thus? Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour? (Romans 9:19-21).

People make legalistic interpretations of the Law of God because they seek to justify their own sins, by using the cover of the Law. The Law of God, to the legalistic person, is used by him to justify his own sins. He does not love the Law of God, but hates it, as he uses it only for his own self-interest which is to justify his own self-righteousness, because he knows he only sins. It is because of this that he loves to point out the sins of others to appease his own flesh which loves to feel good about how sinful others are so that he can justify himself. Such a person has no moral authority to declare the Law of God because:

But unto the wicked God saith, What hast thou to do to declare my statutes, or that thou shouldest take my covenant in thy mouth?  Seeing thou hatest instruction, and casteth my words behind thee.  When thou sawest a thief, then thou consentedst with him, and hast been partaker with adulterers. Thou givest thy mouth to evil, and thy tongue frameth deceit.Thou sittest and speakest against thy brother; thou slanderest thine own mother's son (Psalm 50:16-20).

It is all too easy to think that legalism means to put on a “religious” guise while being full of hard-heartedness like the Pharisees. However, nothing could be further from the truth. Legalism manifests in all kinds of ways, whether it be the secular liberal who thinks that the use of politically correct words or non-offensive words is a rule to be adhered to, rather than being concerned with a manner of spirit, or the religious person who is strict with dietary laws, but is hard-hearted, unjust and merciless.  

Legalism cares only about doing what which the flesh can do in one’s own flesh, to justify one’s own self-proclaimed goodness, all while being devoid of love. As such, it neglects the weightier matters of the law, which are that of justice, mercy and faithfulness. Jesus made it clear: “Woe unto you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cummin, and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy, and faith: these ought ye to have done, and not to leave the other undone” (Matthew 23:23).

You may say that you are not like the Pharisees because you do not think sacrifices are more important than justice, mercy and faithfulness. However, the question is not limited to whether you think sacrifices are more important than the weightier matters of the law. The real question is whether you think some mere set of human-made rules, such as politically correct, non-offensive speech, cultural sensitivity, which is often falsely equated to ‘gentleness’ and ‘kindness’ to justify fear of man, or holding a ‘conservative’ political and social outlook, is more important than, or replaces justice, mercy and faithfulness, which are that which truly matter. Believing in non-offensive speech, cultural sensitivity (as opposed to Biblical sensitivity), and conservatism are just human-made rules which have no value whatsoever. It is bondage to such human-made rules, which profits such people nothing.

Belief in Rights at a subtle Manifestation of Legalism

Legalism manifests in very subtle ways. One of the key ways it manifests in is belief in one’s own “rights”, of which there is truly no such thing as a human having rights in the eyes of God. It is indeed a stronghold of satan and his demons. He seeks to make Christians confuse legalism and seeking to obey the Law of God so that he can mix truth with error and error with truth. He then uses confused Christians to stir up conflict, by seeking to imposing false, perverted, fleshly standards of ‘gentleness’ and ‘kindness’ on those Christians who are lawfully using the Law of God to effectively stop them using it in speaking about sin in any context, whether it be evangelism or exposing systematic evil. The confusion that results leads to frustration and bondage.

Such unbiblical aversion to use of the Law of God is extremely dangerous spiritually and morally. Some have even been forced to cut themselves off from such unbiblical, whinging, hypersensitive, easily offended nagging people, that is, people who literally nag like a contentious wife in Proverbs 25:24, against those who use the Law of God in evangelism or exposing evil. These nagging people need to read what 1 Timothy 1:8 says: “We know that the law is good, if a man use it lawfully”. I, for one, can testify to this need to cut oneself off from such hypersensitive, easy offended, unteachable, unbiblical, people-fearing, people-pleasing people.

Belief in one’s rights is a manifestation of the human heart. No true Christian will believe in his or her so-called “rights”. The Bible makes it very clear that there is no such thing as a “right” for people. Nowhere does it ever speak about human “rights” and that God has given humanity its “rights”. Nowhere does it ever speak about us humans having a “right” to life. The Bible is very clear that we do not deserve anything at all, and that God is totally, absolutely, always and perfectly justified in throwing all humans in Hell, not creating us in the first place, and to kill us all, because God is Absolutely and totally Sovereign in All things in the earth, in all times and all circumstances.  

That God gives us breath is not to give any person any of his or her so-called “rights”. It is by grace and grace alone that you can even exist, let alone have a single breath. All other things that you want, that is, want, is beyond question as to whether you have a “right” to it. You deserve no “rights” nor even have any “rights” in the eyes of God.  

For if God gave you “rights”, that is, that which you have a just and rightful claim to, He would not be God. Why? Firstly, “rights” confers sovereignty on a person, to make a rightful claim to something, independent of all others.  Humans being as so depraved, vile, disgusting, abominable, evil, deserving of all death and Damnation that no human is capable of being just. Since all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), no human is capable of being right in one’s mind and heart. All claims he makes are corrupted by wrong evil motives and a manner of spirit hostile to God (Romans 8:7-8). He is not only utterly depraved, but he is disgusting, vile, abominable, despicable, evil, proud, deserving of all of God’s wrath, deserving of absolutely nothing but death and death alone. When Adam and Eve were banished from the Garden of Eden, an angel guarded the Tree of Life (Genesis 3:23-24). This signifies that neither of them deserved to live at all since they sinned, and thus, had no rightful claim to even a single breath. Sin spread to the whole world (Romans 5:12), and so each person is condemned to death since birth as he is born in sin (Psalm 51:5). He does not even deserve to be conceived.

One may acknowledge that God is absolutely Sovereign. However, the question is whether one truly knows what God being absolutely and totally Sovereign means. This means that He is not only right in all His ways. Anything He does it right because He is God, including killing babies in the Flood (See Genesis 5-7) and the babies in Egypt whose homes were not marked by lamb’s blood (Exodus 11:5; 12:29). In all that God does, He is doing it for Him, and His glory, not for us. When God gave His only begotten Son Jesus Christ to die for the sins of the whole world, it was for God to vindicate His character and for that alone. It was not for us, so as to serve us filthy, pathetic rags of human beings at all. It was not for us at all, in any way. It was for Him and Him alone, to vindicate His character, holiness, righteousness, justice, wrath, love and mercy alone. God loves people, not for their sake, but for His sake and His sake alone. He forgives our sins, not for our sake, but His and His alone. Isaiah 43:25 makes it very clear:  I, even I, am he that blotteth out thy transgressions for Mine own sake, and will not remember thy sins” (Isaiah 43:25).

It is this belief that humans have “rights”, a manifestation of respect for persons which God is not (Romans 2:11) that is the problem of the modern world, or any society which believes in “rights”-based approaches to dealing with social problems. It is a snare which the devil loves, for it stirs up strife, as it feeds the bitter envy and selfish ambition of the flesh. Such is worldly wisdom as indicated by James 3:13-17:

Who is a wise man and endued with knowledge among you? let him shew out of a good conversation his works with meekness of wisdom. But if ye have bitter envying and strife in your hearts, glory not, and lie not against the truth. This wisdom descendeth not from above, but is earthly, sensual, devilish. For where envying and strife is, there is confusion and every evil work.  But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy.

It is very clear from James 3:13-17 that worldly wisdom is earthly, sensual and demonic, feeding on envy and strife, manifesting in confusion and every evil work. Godly wisdom in the other hand hates all envy and strife, manifesting in purity, peace, gentleness, mercifulness and submission, full of good works, without partiality or hypocrisy. Godly wisdom does not seek for its “rights”, or believe in “rights” for oneself, or for others, which is to justify belief in “rights” for oneself. Rather, godly wisdom abhors the idea of “rights” itself, recognising it for what it truly is: evil, vile, abominable, disgusting, wicked, self-centred, fleshly, Hell-deserving, wrath-deserving, full of envy and strife, and respect for persons.

However, the whole idea of “rights” has infiltrated the modern western Church. Even many orthodox, conservative evangelical Christians in the west accept the doctrine of “rights” as legitimate. They do not even question it, committing spiritual adultery with the world in endorsing the doctrine of “rights”. Proverbs 25:26 which says “A righteous man falling down before the wicked is as a troubled fountain, and a corrupt spring” perfectly describes the modern western Church. It far too often compromises with the world in all manner of things, seeking to make it more “respectable” or less “offensive” to the world, out of its fear of people. It is this double-mindedness of the modern Western Church in seeking both the approval of the world, and seeking the favour of God. Its seeking of the approval of the world is not that which manifests in seeking to act like the world. Rather it is very subtle of seeking to be “culturally sensitive”, instead of Biblically sensitive, somewhat “respectable” to the world, or less “offensive”, as if what the world thinks matters.

The idea that what the world thinks matters is disgusting, vile, people-fearing doctrine. It is a doctrine of demons, from the pit of Hell, embraced by people-fearing modern western Christians. Such a doctrine is vile, abominable, evil and disgusting that is far more vile that most western Christians think. Proverbs 29:25 makes it clear that “The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe”. Fear of man is contrasted with trust in God, as indicated by the conjunction ‘but’. Fear of man is a manifestation of a lack of trust in God, which is a vile, abominable sin in and of itself.

The Church must reject worldly doctrines on usury and return to Biblical teaching on usury. The Bible does teach on usury, which is part of the Moral Law of the Old Testament. As such, it most definitely applies today. Never ever fear of being called ‘anti-semitic’ because you are against usury. Being against usury is to be against sin. Never ever ever ever let the fear of people ensnare you.

O Church, wake up, repent of support usury, rise up and fight the sin of usury by bringing the Gospel of Jesus Christ, in conflict with the sin of usury.