By Ben Zornes
We are all born with an inner Marxist. This is as much to say, we are born in sin. We are born with a depraved desire to have what isn’t ours, and be discontented with and ungrateful for what is ours. Marxism pits the “have-nots” against the “haves”. It is unfair that billionaires have all that moolah, and thus the underclass should undertake a revolution where all that green is spread around.
The problem is that the lust of our heart will never be satisfied. Lust gives birth to death. Envy is a snake that eats its own tail. And this is precisely why, when God was establishing His covenant with Israel, He carved into stone tablets the prohibition against coveting. It is rather plain when someone has broken the other nine commandments. There’s a dead body, an illegitimate child, an idol, a dishonored parent, a verifiably false testimony. With covetousness, however, there is no measurement to tell whether or not the command has been broken.
This gets at the fact, as Jesus pointed out, that the Ten Commandments were never merely about external conformity to the laws, but rather an inward obedience and conformity to God’s righteousness. It is true that an unregenerate sinner is able to not murder someone; that is no remarkable feat. What is remarkable is when God changes our heart so that rather than seething with murderous hatred towards our brother, we seek to be reconciled, and seek his blessing.
The prohibition against covetousness is a razor blade of conviction. Every man who has ever lived has always found himself faced with the temptation to complain about his neighbor’s greener grass. The neighbors have a nicer car, a better looking spouse, a more lucrative job, nicer kids, easier circumstances, and the sun just shines a bit brighter on them. At the heart of this sin is ingratitude. It isn’t thankful for the blessings which God has freely showered upon them. Furthermore, and perhaps even worse, it refuses to see the hardships, the trials, the peculiar difficulties as coming from the Father’s hand, and thus refuses to “give thanks in all circumstances” (1 Thes. 5:18).
When a culture is given over to envy and coveting, it is ten seconds before all the inner Marxists join together to act upon the covetousness that has been brewing in each individual. Ingratitude for the blessings God has given, will grow into conniving ways to take the blessings God has given others for oneself. One theologian, Wilhelmus á Brakel, described this covetousness as the “trickery whereby you seek to make the belongings of your neighbor your own.”
We must remember than when a society’s inner-Marxists all come together in a fit of ungrateful covetousness, they will begin demanding ever more extravagant ways of obtaining their neighbor’s oxen. The calls by many progressive politicians and protestors for “medicaid for all” are actually an overflow of a collective covetousness. It is the embodiment of all our envious lusts. We think we deserve a good life. We think we deserve comfort. We think we deserve stress free living. We think we deserve the profits of labor, without the labor.
“Medicaid for all” is a ponzi scheme which is the sort of trickery á Brakel was describing, which seeks to get your neighbor’s things for yourself. Notice when they are pressed on how to pay for such expensive programs, proponents of “medicaid for all” must always resort to taxation. The worrying thing about the increasing demands to expand medicaid is that, on the whole, whether politicians are successful or not, they at least try to enact the sort of legislation they campaign on. Trump is working hard on the wall he promised. Obama campaigned on making sure all Americans had healthcare, and we got Obamacare. Bush campaigned on education reform and we ended up with the “No Child Left Behind act” and the new math of common-core.
Thus, we really shouldn’t sleep on the fact that leading 2020 presidential contenders are pushing for a massive expansion to an already well-nigh bankrupt model. They may not get exactly what they make campaign promises for, but they will more than likely try their darndest to get something like it passed.
The underlying problem is that God’s law reveals that covetousness, whether in the individual or in the whole culture, is a breaking of His law. You cannot break God’s law and expect to avoid the consequences. When a relationship is tainted by coveting, the relationship quickly deteriorates and is destroyed by jealousy, enmity, rivalry, and envy. Covetousness cripples healthy relationships, whether between individuals or on the wider scale of the entire society.
Part of the project of progressivism is that it wants to confess there is no God but the state. It believes that there is no limit to mankind’s (or as they might prefer to say, humankind’s) potential. They are convinced they are to fulfill our destiny of creating a utopia. Nature is just chaos, because Darwin. This means that we must fight and claw to keep back the chaos of the meaningless cosmos. This framework means that the health needs of the individual are an evidence of a cruel cosmos, not the result of the Providence of God.
A wise man knows that he doesn’t know what the future holds, but that God works all things together for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose (Rom. 8:28). The trials of health we all face are not the events of random colliding atoms; they are the hand-chosen circumstances of a loving Father, either calling unrepentant sinners to repentance, or calling saints to endurance.
The Proverbs are replete with wisdom for all of life’s circumstances, “The thoughts of the diligent tend only to plenteousness; but of every one that is hasty only to want (Pro. 21:5).” When we know that we don’t know what the future holds, and that it is outside our control, it should cause us to apply ourselves to diligence. Medicaid for all promises a hasty solution to health trials, but it is not the solution of godly diligence. After all, another Proverb teaches us that “Wealth gotten by vanity shall be diminished: but he that gathereth by labour shall increase (Pro 13:11).” God calls us to obtain our wealth by labor. A government which confiscates the wealth of those who have labored for it, and grants it through a whole tangled web of welfare programs is creating a society which is full of people who are “wealthy” by means of vanity. We already have food stamps, disability income (often used by able-bodied men to avoid work), and such pipe-dreams as Medicare. All of this is illusory wealth. It is the sort of wealth that a covetous heart lusts after. But God has made the world in such a way so that the wealth that is acquired by covetousness will eventually dissipate.
Our society’s inner-marxist hates the 10th commandment. Yet, the political mouthpieces for this envy, in their rebellion against God, fail to realize that breaking God’s law always brings upon the individual and society the just wrath of a holy God. God hates covetousness, envy, lust. We must not covet our neighbor’s diligent provision for their own health trials, nor should we scheme to take it from him and make it our own. Breaking God’s law is never a recommended course of action.