Not the Common Good but the Total Good

W

e (not, really, I am not using the royal “we”) hear too much of the term “common good” thrown around as justification for expansion of government’s powers.

Tell me “common good” no longer. The term reeks of uselessness and ends justifying means. Goodness defined is not from commonality, it is from God alone. So tell me of authority and justice and righteousness, of God’s heart and of His distribution of proper roles, for what is written is not about man but about God:

I know that the Lord will maintain the cause of the afflicted,
and will execute justice for the needy.
Surely the righteous shall give thanks to your name;
the upright shall dwell in your presence. (Ps. 140.12–13)

To leaders the Lord says this:

Open your mouth for the mute,
for the rights of all who are destitute. *
Open your mouth, judge righteously,
defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Pro. 31.8–9)

To everyone, not only the leaders, He commands through the mouth of Moses,

When you have finished paying all the tithe of your produce in the third year, which is the year of tithing, giving it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, so that they may eat within your towns and be filled, then you shall say before the Lord your God, “I have removed the sacred portion out of my house, and moreover, I have given it to the Levite, the sojourner, the fatherless, and the widow, according to all your commandment that you have commanded me. I have not transgressed any of your commandments, nor have I forgotten them. […] I have obeyed the voice of the Lord my God. I have done according to all that you have commanded me.” (Dt. 26.12–14)

And through the mouth of Isaiah He mandates this heart in fasting:

Is not this the fast that I choose:
to loose the bonds of wickedness,
to undo the straps of the yoke,
to let the oppressed * go free,
and to break every yoke?
Is it not to share your bread with the hungry
and bring the homeless poor into your house;
when you see the naked, to cover him,
and not to hide yourself from your own flesh? (Is. 58.6–7)

This is not about the “common good”. The requirement in Mosaic law that a portion of harvested crops be left in the field to be gathered, or gleaned, by the poor (Lev. 19.19) is not about the “common good”. It is about obeying God because of who He is, no matter how unappealing or difficult His commandments, and not failing to live His righteousness by the redemption of His righteousness imputed to us through faith.

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One response to “Not the Common Good but the Total Good

  1. Pingback: The State’s Duty to God (Part I): Accountable and then Authoritative « Cogito, Credo, Petam

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