Inherit the Earth (9)

The third principle of a Biblical covenant is the principle of ethics-dominion. For a man to begin to exercise dominion under God, he must be able to present himself as a living sacrifice before God (Romans 12:1). He must be allowed to offer himself and his talents before God and men. In short, he should be allowed to enter any market and offer his goods or services to consumers.

 It’s easy to misinterpret Paul’s words. He isn’t talking about how to get into heaven. He is talking about what to do on earth before you arrive at heaven’s gate. Paul didn’t say to work your way into heaven, or to make your own works the basis of your salvation. What he said was to work out the salvation which is yours with fear and trembling. He assumes that you already have received your salvation by grace through faith in the atoning work of Jesus Christ at Calvary.[1]

Every person has assets. When God made Adam and Eve, they didn’t have clothes, but they had assets in terms of health, mobility and intellectual capacity. They didn’t know much, but God made it His task to teach them.

One of the most important things Christians should do is submit all their talents and abilities (their assets) to God. We all tend to find out over time what we are good at, what we like doing, and what people will pay us the most to do. And when we have determined these things, we should go to work to serve the community as well as we can, earning as much as we can, doing the things we enjoy the most. As the saying goes, “stick to your knitting.”

The market place speaks to us. Where we can earn the most money, is generally what we should be doing with ourselves for a living.  I have little ability in artistic work, or in carpentry. Why should I try to be an artist or a carpenter? But, I do have some intellectual ability, and seem to be able to write, so this is generally what I stick to.

The fact that God has made all people different, attests to the fact that He expects us all to be doing different things. Yes, there are thousands of artists and carpenters, but within art and carpentry there are realms of specialisation which individuals gravitate to, because that’s what they like. In all probability, this is God’s plan for them. With their work and output, they buy money.

The extremely successful comedian Bob Hope (1903-2003), when asked why he had cut short a fishing vacation, said “Fish don’t clap.” He’d clearly found his calling.

The ability to trade freely with one’s assets is an aspect of the free-market, which itself is Biblical in origin. To restrict buying and selling is really a form of warfare against an individual or nation. To say to an individual, “you can’t engage in that form of work here,” only penalises them for gravitating to that occupation God has created them for. Thus it is counter-productive and evil.

To say to a foreign manufacturer, “you can’t bring those goods into this country,” is only penalising them for producing and doing what they are good at, which is what God has given them to do. This too is evil, and a violation of the free-market.

To say to a foreign manufacturer, “you’ll have to pay 20% of the value of those goods to our government, to bring them into this country,” penalises that manufacturer, and also penalises the local consumer, who presumably has to pay 20% more for that product. Thus, it is a tax on the local people who want to buy that product, and stifles the flow of money and goods into the exporting nation. It may lead to the nation of origin imposing its own set of tariffs.

Thus in every way, tariffs are short-sighted and counter-productive, and never a good idea. But open borders to trade say to people, “Yes, you can come in here. You can work, buy and sell and do whatever you want. We want you.” And in the long-run that’s what proves to be a boon and a blessing to everyone.

 

 Conclusion:

1. People are responsible for their actions.

2. Christians should avoid slavery.

3. Each person knows his own skills and needs best- certainly better than bureaucrats do.

4. Western civilization was built in terms of self-responsibility.

5. The basis of profit in a competitive free market is service to the consumer.

6. A free market allows each seller to make any offer to consumers.

7. A free market allows each buyer to make any offer to producers.

8. Every buyer is also a seller, and every seller is also a buyer.

9. Sellers compete against sellers, while buyers compete against buyers.

10. The free market is a giant auction.

11. If I want sellers to compete to serve me as a consumer, I must allow sellers to compete against me as a producer.

12. Free trade means free trade for everyone, regardless of his geographical location.

13. A tariff is a tax.

14. An import barrier is at the same time an export barrier.

15. The worldwide division of labour increases everyone’s opportunities,

meaning everyone’s wealth.[2]


[1] Gary North, “Inherit the Earth,” 1987, p.99.

[2] ibid, p.110.