All of us are experiencing inflation in the world today. What we paid for a loaf of bread, a gallon of gasoline, or a new car last year has increased by 6.2% [according to the NY Times], the fastest rise in 31 years. And just try shopping for toys for Christmas this year! Approximately 80% of all toys worldwide are made in China, and because the value of the dollar is decreasing, it now takes $24 to purchase a toy that cost $15 last year. I am not schooled in economics, but this much I know ... as long as our government prints new money [to cover their deficit spending], and floods the market with worthless paper notes, the value of that paper is going to drop, and it is going to take more of those paper dollars to buy products than it has before.
Here's a bit of history you will find interesting; from 1878 until June 4, 1963, our money had "Silver Certificate" printed above the image of George Washington. That meant you could take a dollar bill into your local bank and exchange it for a silver dollar. That dollar bill was backed by a silver dollar which had real value. That coin was approximately one ounce of silver, at a value equal to the Silver Certificate. But the price of silver was on the rise, beginning in 1961 and soon an ounce of silver was worth more than that $1 dollar bill, so the government began to regulate the price of silver and discontinued the use of Silver Certificates. Our dollar bills now say, "Federal Reserve Note", and sad to say, the redemption of silver certificates into real coins of value was replaced with the issuance of paper money, which has steadily decreased in worth, with nothing to back up its value. For a far more educated discourse on how our money has lost its value, please read this informative article on CoinWorld.com.
So, while today we might have more money, because workers demand higher wages to pay for the higher prices, the money we have buys less. Consider this: the dollars we earn for hard work have real value - something is exchanged for the monetary note deposited in your bank account. But mixed in with these dollar bills in our economy is all the money simply created by printing presses; the government pushes a button and no value is exchanged for these bills that flood the market. So how does economic understanding of inflation relate to Religious/Spiritual inflation?
Within our Churches and the Body of Christ, there are millions of Believers who use terms like "born again", Spirit-filled"; "Revival"; "Kingdom". Now, I'm sure you will agree with me that these words and terms have real value; especially if you have a sincere and covenant relationship with the Lord and know the value His Word assigns to each. But what happens when those words become a "catch-phrase" or "buzz-word" and are over-used to describe Christian attributes in a vague or ambivalent fashion by millions of Christians with no real understanding to back their words? Let's say you are in a group of 15 Believers and the question is posed, "What does it mean to be born again"? If ten of that group stand up as mature Christians and give a substantial answer that reflects God's Word and His understanding of that term, then being "born again" has great value to the group. But if you have ten people who each give answers that are different, and which rely on their human interpretation without reference to God's Word, then what value can you assign that term?
Can we say that the majority of the Body of Christ is Biblically sound in their understanding of Born Again? Yet nearly everyone will declare that they are. What about Justification and Sanctification? What does Redeemed mean? How would they describe Glory? And does the Body understand how, what, and where the Kingdom of God exists today? I agree that it's nice to hear these words in sermons and podcasts, but are they spoken of in terms of God's Truth with Biblical accuracy? Or have they become slogans with nothing of real value backing them? It is the Holy Spirit of God which backs up the true Biblical value of those words and phrases, giving them real worth because we have received the revelation of what it cost to pay for their existence and usage.
Among the warnings that Timothy gives us in the New Testament is the perilous times that will occur in the Last Days... He says [among the various translations] that people will become "lovers of themselves, boastful, proud, swollen with conceit, heady, high-minded, arrogant, puffed up with pride, and scoffers of God. They will act religious, but they will reject the power that could make them godly" (1 Timothy 3:1-5). In other words, they will value themselves and their ways more than understanding and acting in God's ways. They will weigh their self-worth in the Body and not find themselves wanting; they will be satisfied with measuring themselves by their own standards of faith and knowledge.
But the Bible has a lot to say about weights and measures ... A just balance and scales are the Lord's; all the weights in the bag are His work (Proverbs 16:11) ... A false balance is an abomination to the Lord, but a just weight is His delight (Proverbs 11:1) ... Can I forget the treasures of wickedness in the house of the wicked, and the scant measure that is accursed? Can I tolerate wicked scales and a bag of dishonest weights? (Micah 6:10-11). In other words, I do not believe that God will tolerate an increase in unhealthy, unsound, or flawed representation of His holy precepts. He's not interested in flooding Christianity with a baseless currency of words. It is incumbent upon us as reliable witnesses of His Holiness that we not tolerate the degradation or dilution of His standards and principles. A minimal or barely sufficient understanding of God's commandments will not be adequate. In other words, it will be found scant and cursed, as it says in Micah. Let us not flood the Body of Christ with deficient and weakened teachings that do not give the full and immeasurable quality of God, Himself. Let us be wary of the false prophets and teachers who do not demand full accountability of what it means to call ourselves a follower of Christ.
So, just like the inflation we are facing in our monetary economy, we must be diligent to prevent inflation in our Churches and religious/spiritual organizations. We must back our faith with an understanding that is Biblical; real and tangible; worthy and of substance. The mere use of Biblical terminology does not mean one represents God accurately, just as saying a dollar bill is really worth a dollar. Biblical vocabulary does not guarantee Biblical value. Instead, let us demand more of ourselves and set standards for Biblical understanding, teaching, and leadership that pleases our Father. Let us show the world the true value of faith in Jesus Christ. Let us follow Paul's admonition to the Church at Corinth: If anyone imagines that he knows something, he does not yet know as he ought to know ( I Corinthians 8:2). And Paul addresses the inflated Believer in Galatians 6:3, For if anyone thinks he is something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself. We have far too much inflationary deception in our world as it is ... in regards to our economy, our government, the media, our educational system, the military, the entertainment industry, and our families. We don't need it in our Christianity! Let's guard against spiritual inflation and keep our faith free of inflated influences.
Thanks to Middletown Bible Church for their teaching on Inflation as one of the "Crises of Our Day".
Romans 12:3 For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.