Wednesday, January 6, 2021

Must I Submit To Those I Disagree With?

Many Christians have a major problem with the following passage:

"Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor." (Romans 13: 1-7)

It's amazing that Paul would even write this to the Christians at Rome! Paul and the Jewish believers were under the heavy, oppressive tyranny of the Roman government when he wrote this. Look at all God did through the early church which in a matter of about 300 years caused Rome to be declared a Christian nation! Even Paul appealed to Caesar, the Emperor, which was actually God's plan to get him to Rome to preach the gospel of Jesus. However.....there is a bottom line that we must ALL ALWAYS keep in keen focus...

"And when they had summoned them (Peter & John), they commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, "Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard." (Acts 4:18-20) (Underline added.) Later when Peter and John had been arrested and brought before the council, "When they had brought them, they stood them before the Council. The high priest questioned them, saying, "We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man's blood upon us." But Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:27-29) (Underline added.)

The Holy Spirit never said we should disobey our authorities simply because we disagree with them politically, socially, morally, or theologically. What He DID say is that when we are told we cannot preach about Jesus, or in His name, or when we are told we must deny or denounce our God, or we MUST serve other gods, we stand on the bottom line. We must obey God...not man. 

Many people can be won to Jesus in the days ahead simply by living for Jesus and declaring His Word boldly..especially due to the circumstances. But many will be turned away from Jesus by those who in the name of Christianity criticize, judge, accuse, belittle, and speak evil of those whom God has placed over us. The worst possible witness for a so called Christian is to act like they are not a Christian. In the days ahead, let's hold fast to the Word, the truth. Let's truly live for Jesus, no matter the circumstances. My convictions are proven in the Word of God. I believe we will face challenges ahead. But as I like to say, Jesus will move mightily in the midst of and in spite of the challenges!

It's very easy to support those in leadership we agree with. It's much more challenging to support those we disagree with. But when all is said and done, it is not about support or lack thereof, it is about obeying God's Word. It is also NOT about being a Liberal or a Conservative. However it IS ALL about being a true follower of Jesus.

One thing is for certain. When one is an avid follower of Jesus, lives will be impacted. Conservatism won't save one soul. Neither will Liberalism. Only Jesus! And let's remember, being a conservative doesn't make one a Christian. And being a Liberal does not necessarily make one a non-Christian. Knowing Jesus, and having a growing relationship with Him makes anyone a Christian.

Paul said, "Or do you think lightly of the riches of His kindness and tolerance and patience, not knowing that the kindness of God leads you to repentance?" (Rom. 2:1-4) (Underline added.) It's not we commandeering the judgment of God to blast those in leadership who we disagree with. But it's us as pure vessels of God's kindness through which HE leads folks to call out to Him for salvation. I am so ready to be that vessel in these latest of the last days!

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