In Part One, we discovered the central fact about corruption, namely, that it lies within each human being by virtue of the reality of original sin. Thus, efforts to control and bridle this global “beast” will not succeed if we merely rely upon policy, economic, or legal solutions; rather, we must find a way to control the problem within each of us. Part Two aims to not only demonstrate the full impact of personal corruption, but also the ultimate hope for controlling and bridling it.
What are some ways that this deep vein of corruption and sin affects us? I have suggested there are four ways that all start with the English letter “D:” derangement, deception, diminishment, and, lastly, distortion.
Derangement leads us to turn in upon ourselves, not outward to others, as a great Christian writer, St Augustine described. Our sinfully corrupt hearts become so obsessed with our own satisfactions that we begin to act like we never thought we would: selfish, demanding, whining.
Perhaps you think to yourself: “Oh, I am not that way at all, for I am so concerned for others and to make them feel good.” But, I wonder about the secret ways we pretend to be loyal to our group when in fact we are very selfish. I have seen myself practice this deception, so that others think me kind when in fact I am very selfish. This second “D” is a very subtle, but important form of personal corruption.
Another way that sin reveals itself is through the way it diminishes our capacities to be fully human: taking responsibility for our world, exercising wise creativity, and working to be productive so that we can benefit our community. The Hebrew and Greek words that are translated “corrupt” imply great loss through rottenness or spoilage. You may not be aware of it now, but we all lose something when sinful corruption rues our lives, no matter how secretly.
Finally, distortion, the fourth “D.” We do not see as clearly as we ought, but we see a distorted picture of reality. Think how corruption distorts reality: the price of things is not what it should be because someone has taken a secret payoff from a contractor who elevated the price of a road for example. In turn, the actual product or service is distorted because of corruption. When I travel in many places in the world where corruption is extremely prevalent, an asphalt road may only have one inch of asphalt, which is completely inadequate and which breaks down very quickly.
Sin works inside us in the same way: We do not see the world as we ought because sin distorts our mental vision.
I have to tell you that the research is clear: The nations that were founded on the Biblical idea of human sinfulness as inner corruption and that were bridled by the Cross of Christ stand out for their relative lack of corruption. Out of the 180 nations around the world that are measured on the Corruption Perceptions Index, 8 out of 10 of the least corrupt are historically Protestant. The US is the 22nd least corrupt country, which means we are no longer Puritans, but compared to most nations, we live in paradise.
Can you imagine the common feature among 5 out of 10 of the most corrupt? Islam. But you see, Islam has no teaching about original sin, and, likewise, no teaching about a Savior who can save the worst sinner. I will come back to this later, but, first, let me share with you some of what I discovered in biblical teaching about corruption.
When it comes to leadership, James Kouzes and Barry Posner have collected data since the 1980s on what people look for in a leader. Four characteristics consistently rank well above the rest: honesty, forward-looking, inspiring, and competence. Honesty ranks number one by a significant margin. As Kouzes and Posner put it, “If people are going to follow someone willingly, whether it be into battle or into the boardroom, they first want to assure themselves that the person is worthy of their trust.” (Credits to Ray Pennings for this.)
I have studied many other sacred texts, but only in the Bible do I find repeated warnings against bribery and corruption. Why is that? Deuteronomy 10:17 gives the answer: “For the LORD your God is the God of gods and Lord of lords. He is the great God, the mighty and awesome God, who shows no partiality and cannot be bribed” (NLT).
What I discovered in my research is that bribing gods and goddesses has been, throughout history, especially in premodern cultures, the way to get things done. Bribe the spirits, and they will give you what you want. Our concept of the magic genie comes directly from this.
But, the God who made every human being cannot be made somebody’s genie in the bottle. He doesn’t say, “Pay me, and then I will do good things for you!”
Rather, He has a different solution for our problem. Instead of us paying Him, He chose to pay for our corruption at great cost to Him, by dying on behalf of sinful human beings.
The God who cannot be bribed is the very same God who went out of his way to serve humanity, including each of us in this room, by dying for us. Only a God who cannot be bribed would give His life away for someone who wants to bribe Him. By refusing to be bribed, God relinquished the basis upon which today’s leaders build and keep power. “For the Son of Man came not to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Mk. 10:45). Unlike the animistic spirits, the Hindu gods, or the police officers in nations around the world, the God of Jesus Christ does not impoverish you in order to serve you. Rather, II Corinthians 8:9 says that “though Jesus was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.”
But, why did He die? He died for the innate corruption in each of us, the corrupt inner predisposition that gives birth to public corruption when society makes it possible. II Corinthians 5:19-21 reads this way:
For God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself, no longer counting people’s sins against them. And he gave us this wonderful message of reconciliation…For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.
Because He died on the Cross, Jesus is not only willing to forgive us of the sin of corruption, but he also reconciles us to those whom we may have taken advantage of. But, not only does He forgive us and reconcile us, He also regenerates us, making us alive in a new way so that righteousness compels us to seek the truth over corrupt wealth. In other words, the Cross is how a person can be made new with new ambitions and goals that include disavowing corruption. Our inner corruption is replaced by spiritual health and wholeness.
It is this God who grants access, who grants favor, who serves us efficiently, who makes our lives work. He does freely what in a corrupt society we must pay for. Having given His life for us, He then creates in His followers the desire to grant access, to serve efficiently, to grant favor, and to cooperate with our neighbors. That’s how we love our neighbors as ourselves.
The inner personal transformation that Jesus offers us as the God of the Universe is the way we control the culture of corruption. A culture shaped by the Cross will not foster corruption because corruption is not consistent with God’s character: “He cannot be bribed!”
The brilliant University of California-Berkeley law professor, the late John Noonan, contrasted bribes and gifts this way:
A bribe expresses self-interest; a gift conveys love. A bribe subordinates the recipient to the donor, a gift identifies the donor with the recipient. A gift brings no shame, a bribe must be in secret. A gift may be disclosed, a bribe must be concealed. The size of a gift is irrelevant; the size of a bribe, decisive. A gift does not oblige; a bribe coerces. A gift belongs to the donee; a bribe belongs to those to whom the bribe is accountable.
God comes not expecting our bribe, but He comes with the gift of His Son. And all that remains is for you to accept that gift. When you do, consciously aware that you don’t deserve it because you are inwardly corrupt, then He will forgive you, reconcile you to Him and others, and make you a new person whose desires are to bless others, rather than to steal from them.
David D Y Choi ;
who is repairing used rotten bike from recycling lot,
to go around, due to income lessness status.
Under the Sky,
One should be equal as long as Human Being.
Underprivileged social class,
Before the birth, even after the death,
this underprivileged group should follow the pre-framed given route.
Upon realizing that crossing the given route is limited,
its trial object would be named as ‘Betrayer’ or targeted as ‘Gov. Sanction’.
Extending of this status,
urged and resulted let David create hand written images between # 1 and # 58.
Still, there, no one, no response, no way to get out, its condition is extended.
Its uselessness, barren condition has been extended as usual.
David D Y Choi,
( e-mail ; firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com )
Personal URL : http://www.cdyera.wordpress.com
( at URL, on the bottom site, linked images are available )
As concerning the Word of life, Luke 10 section 25-28 says: On one occasion an expert in the law stood up to test Jesus. "Teacher," he asked, "what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "What is written in the Law?" he replied. "How do you read it?" He answered: " ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" "You have answered correctly," Jesus replied. "Do this and you will live."
Luke 18 section 18-25 says: A certain ruler asked him, "Good teacher, what must I do to inherit eternal life?" "Why do you call me good?" Jesus answered. "No one is good–except God alone. You know the commandments: ‘Do not commit adultery, do not murder, do not steal, do not give false testimony, honor your father and mother.’" "All these I have kept since I was a boy," he said. When Jesus heard this, he said to him, "You still lack one thing. Sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me." When he heard this, he became very sad, because he was a man of great wealth. Jesus looked at him and said, "How hard it is for the rich to enter the kingdom of God! Indeed, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God."
Matthew 5 section 43-48 says: "You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? And if you greet only your brothers, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
In Old Testament, the Jewish people and their ancestors were given the Law to observe. First, What Adam and Eve should observe was that they could not eat the fruits from the tree of wisdom. Then, their son Cain was told that he should not kill. As sins became increased, the laws were also added more. Up to the generation of Moses, the Law in Old Testament was given to Israelites. We know that the Law is good and the Law is used to punish people who commit sins, but people cannot obey the Law because the sinful spirits are in people. Even that we know stealing and giving false testimony are sinful, but greedy and pride spirits in us drive us to do sinful things. So as Old Testament prophesied we need to get rid of our sinful nature from our spirits.
Jeremiah 31 section 31-33 says: "The time is coming," declares the Lord, "when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah. It will not be like the covenant I made with their forefathers when I took them by the hand to lead them out of Egypt, because they broke my covenant, though I was a husband to them," declares the Lord. "This is the covenant I will make with the house of Israel after that time," declares the Lord. "I will put my law in their minds and write it on their hearts. I will be their God, and they will be my people.
Ezekiel 36 section 24-27 says: "’For I will take you out of the nations; I will gather you from all the countries and bring you back into your own land. I will sprinkle clean water on you, and you will be clean; I will cleanse you from all your impurities and from all your idols. I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit in you and move you to follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.
The prophecies are fulfilled when Jesus begins to teach love. The two greatest commandments are " ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’" Love is above the Law and if people have love they are free from the law of sin and death. People who are full of love will not think about stealing or giving false testimony but are merciful and they feed hungry people or give thirsty people something to drink or invite strangers in or clothe people who need clothes. The Law is for people who commit sins. Nobody will say that he will get reward because he does not steal before. But love is the grace we get. And with love we will get eternal life.
Romans 13 section 8-10 says: Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. The commandments, "Do not commit adultery," "Do not murder," "Do not steal," "Do not covet," and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: "Love your neighbor as yourself." Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Luke 17 section 20-21 says: Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, "The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say,’ Here it is,’ or ‘ There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you."
John 4 section 23-24 says: Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth."