Saturday, August 20, 2011

Romans 13:1-7

1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

In following Jesus Christ the counter culture aspects of the gospel can be taken to extremes they were never intended. Yes Jesus was a revolutionary but He never rejected the very institutions God ordained to rule mankind in the interim. When Jesus commanded His disciples “whoever compels you to go with him one mile go two” Matt. 5:41 He was referring to a despised Roman law which could compel people to carry a Roman soldiers armor for a full mile. Yet Jesus did not say refuse them but rather go the extra mile and in that we see the revolutionary style Jesus taught and exemplified. For anyone can be obstinate towards those they dislike but it takes real courage to take up ones cross and follow Christ (Matt. 5:44-47). Similarly when questioned about paying the Temple Tax, (Matt. 17:24-27) or commanding obedience to the Pharisees who sat in Moses seat (Matt. 23:1-3) or even Pontius Pilate to whom Jesus said, “you could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given from above” (John 19:10-11). Jesus did not take up arms or promote the same amongst His followers (Matthew 26:52). Rebellion is not a theme or a practice taught in the gospels or in the Biblical Apostles Epistles (Titus 3:1; Hebrews 13:17; 1 Peter 2:13-14).
Now if there is a cause for “militancy” in following Jesus Christ it is to love God above all else, love others as oneself, and keep Christ’s commandments. For in that the reality of ones faith is made known (1 John 5:2-3). Therefore as God’s children we are called to a revolutionary life of faith so that others may believe. For Christ’s disciples have always suffered martyrdom (even at the hands of the state) but we must not suffer for inciting sedition and strife since the church collectively and disciple individually is called to live in peace (Heb. 12:14). Nonetheless if the state though a God derived entity takes on the role of a “god” (Rev. 13) compelling its citizens to submit to them as such then my first and finial duty is to the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Any notion that I can somehow partake in the states agenda when it conflicts with Christ’s is non-starter because I am first and foremost bound to obey God not man (Acts 5:29). Thus in obeying God I find that Jesus Christ is honored; the church is edified and society (even a hostile society) stands the better for it. Therefore if you want to be a true revolutionary invite Jesus Christ into your heart and then let Him guide your new life. If you let Him, He just might make a revolution out of you.

Scripture Quotations
The Holy Bible, New King James Version, (Nashville, Tennessee: Thomas Nelson, Inc.) 1982.

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