Good Morning Everyone,
Our theme for this month: “Life on this side of the cross”
Our Bible verse for today: “Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves.” Romans 13:1-2 (CSB)
Our thought for today: “Christians must be good citizens”
As we continue to contend with the impact of the COVID 19 pandemic upon our society, some Christians have struggled with what they consider to be a massive government overreach and intrusion into our personal lives and into the life of the church. Initially, and despite the urgent warnings from experts in infectious disease control, some Christians were skeptical about the danger and severity of the virus, and some churches refused to comply with the pleadings from federal, state, and local officials for churches to suspend all group gatherings. Sadly, their lack of cooperation during a time of national crisis was a bad witness to the observing (and sometimes exasperated) communities.
Fortunately, now that the scope and severity of the pandemic has become obvious to everyone, the doubters have largely been silenced and the churches are gathering online instead of in buildings, but it took far too long to get to that point.
The relation of the church to the government has been a contentious matter of debate for much of the 2000 years of Christian history. However, as Paul makes clear in Romans 13:1-2, government is an institution created and ordained by God to impose good order and discipline upon society, and it is for our benefit. Granted, some civil governments are corrupt, and some of them are evil, and some of them occasionally become too intrusive. But what does that mean for Christians? How should we live in relation to governmental authorities?
I believe the teaching of Scripture is clear that the followers of Jesus should be good citizens of whatever nation we live in. We should obey the laws (even the ones we don’t like and don’t agree with), unless the civil law clearly violates the law of God. In that case we have to take the stand the Apostles took in Acts 5:29 when they boldly declared “We must obey God rather than men.” But aside from that, we should be good, cooperative, law-abiding citizens of whatever land we live in.
Like every other citizen in the USA, Christians are entitled to our theological beliefs as well as our ideological ones, and we are free to advocate for our political causes. But we are not free to break the laws of the land, or to impede the best efforts of the governing authorities who are genuinely working hard and doing their best to lead us through this time of national emergency.
Christians should be good citizens. We should be a blessing to our communities rather than a problem for them. We will think more about this tomorrow.