Monday, October 14, 2013

Grace & Politics

While I could start off by saying there has been a lot of politics in the news today, the truth of the matter is that politics are always a hot-issue button. But what does the Bible say about our role a born-again believers within the realm of politics?

Titus 3:1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,

We see from Paul's words to Titus that we are subject to the office AND the person in the office. Not just to be respectful of the office, but obedient to the office AND person. Even if the person holding the office makes it difficult, we are to obey the office.

At the writing of this letter, Nero was in charge of the Roman Empire and Western World. The following info on Nero can be found here:

Nero (Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus; 15 December 37 – 9 June 68) was Roman Emperor from 54 to 68, and the last in the Julio-Claudian dynasty. Nero was adopted by his great-uncle Claudius to become his heir and successor, and succeeded to the throne in 54 following Claudius' death. In 64 AD, most of Rome was destroyed in the Great Fire of Rome, which many Romans believed Nero himself had started in order to clear land for his planned palatial complex, the Domus AureaHe is infamously known as the Emperor who "fiddled while Rome burned"[7] and as an early persecutor of Christians. He was known for having captured Christians to burn them in his garden at night for a source of light. This view is based on the writings of Tacitus, Suetonius, and Cassius Dio, the main surviving sources for Nero's reign.
It has been said that no one embodied the very spirit of antichrist more than Nero. So if Christians were expected to be subject and obedient  unto good works towards Nero, what would be expected of us today? Peter said that it was better to obey God than man (Acts 5:29), but what was the context? (Acts 5:17-32). They were charged with not preaching that Jesus was the Messiah and that it was the Jews who killed the Son of God. This charge was for all times and in all places. So, when government arrest us and tries to make us completely stop the preaching of the Gospel - we must stand against it. Or, when the government makes a law that would force us to do something contrary to the clear teaching of Scripture, we must stand against it (EX: Daniel, refusing to pray to King Darius, lions’ den). But lets be honest: has that happened to us today, here in America?

How did Jesus react to the government during His earthly ministry? We see one of the ways in Mark 12:13-17. Consider this - do you think Jesus agreed with everything Caesar did with the tax money? Yet, He said to give to Caesar anyway. Why? Because he would be the one accountable for how it was spent;  we are accountable for not obeying the laws and not paying the tax.

How did Paul react to the government during his ministry? Paul, even after being arrested and jailed on multiple occasions, never called for a change in government. Instead of getting caught up in political dealings, Paul focused on his calling as a missionary and evangelist to a lost and dying world in need of Jesus. The persecution he faced from governments was his cross that he bore. His goal was to not know anything, except for Jesus and Him crucified. But lets be honest: more people know Christians by their politics and their faith.
So then, what is our duty to government?
  1. Pray - 1 Tim. 2:1-2.
  2. Obey - this is what we see in the text of Titus 3:1.
  3. Here in America, we also have a third duty - make our voice count when it comes time to vote.
But as we vote, we realize our hope and strength is not found in government and ballotsAnd once we make our voice heard at election - we move on serving the Lord no matter the election outcome.
Why is obeying those who have the rule over us so important?

Romans 13:1–2  — 1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

So, before you forward that email, or share that Facebook picture, or tweet your disgust of our current politicians, remember Romans 13:2 and think, "When I complain, say spiteful and mean-spiritied things, and rebel, I am really doing so against God."

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