James 5:1 (KJV) Go to now, ye rich men, weep and howl for your miseries that shall come upon you.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Christians and Patriotism, Part 2 of 2

We will cut right to the chase in Part 2. It probably wasn't necessary to go into the two different roles God had for Israel and the Church. Still, that's the direction in which the writing went, and it never hurts to look at a historical perspective. Also let me preface this by saying that I have always been a strong supporter of those who join the military and of our flag. My husband served in three branches of the military. I've always considered myself a patriot. However, I would always desire that my obedience to God would trump all other loyalties.

Completely eliminating yesterday's post (Part 1) would in no way alter or change the clear teaching of scripture on this matter. Lately I have read numerous articles and watched DVDs encouraging "Christian patriots" to prepare to go to war against the government, with which I was in enthusiastic sympathy - at first. My primary interest in these writings, etc. was to see how they supported their arguments with God's Word, since that is the first barometer a Christian should be using. It became immediately clear to me that the scriptural backing was almost non-existent. When attempts (and these were few and far between) were made to weave scripture into the arguments it was always misapplied, except insofar as defending one's household from assault. There was a lot of appeal to our long-held patriotism as Americans, but none whatever from scripture.

Romans 13:1-7. 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. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 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. 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.

Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor. (NKJV)

This is the definitive teaching about our relationship to government. Remember that when Paul was writing Rome had the most wicked of rulers, and they ruled with an iron fist.

The only time we are told to disobey the civil authorities is in a case where asked to do something contrary to obedience to God. Peter tells us this in Acts 5:29, after he had been commanded to stop preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus Christ. His response was, "We ought to obey God rather than men." Our example of the apostles was to respectfully give this response and take the punishment meted out, all with a calm and proper attitude in order to gain the respect of the authorities and to act in such a Christlike manner that perhaps some would come to know Jesus Christ. To act with anger and insults, much less weapons, sets no Christlike example, is actually sinful and will bring God's judgment upon us.

Consider our supreme example, Jesus himself, who was subjected to an unlawful trial, refused to defend himself in the face of false witnesses, suffered humiliations of all kinds and eventually submitted to death by crucifixion. He was the suffering servant. We are called to be the same.

Government was instituted by God himself for His own purposes and to accomplish His own plans, which we are not privy to. In fact, we're barely able to figure out what His plan for us might be in any 24-hour period.

We are not even aware of what our own government really stands for, why it was established, and what its ultimate role will be in the final battle. We are deceived, even in this. Anyone who believes that the United States is not included in Bible prophecy does not have all the facts. That is a story for another day. The United States of America is a primary player in the end times scenario going all the way back to the purpose for which it was established - a story which has not been told until very recently. This world, including the U.S., is headed for hell. In light of that, we are even less justified in thwarting God's plan for this nation and for the world.

While many well-intentioned people are working with all their might in the political process, it is not that to which Christians are called. While exercising our legal right to vote and influence government is certainly within our proper role as Christian citizens, it is a futile and useless endeavor to throw all of our energy into something to which we are not called. The mess this country is in is not due to a lack of patriotism or involvement in politics. It is due to spiritual and moral degradation because we have failed to carry out our calling. We have been disobedient to God's Word, just as Israel was, and we are still being deceived, and mightily.

Galations 6:7-8. "Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap. 8 For he who sows to his flesh will of the flesh reap corruption, but he who sows to the Spirit will of the Spirit reap everlasting life."

We have sown to the flesh rather than the Spirit. We need to first admit that fact, then repent, and begin to read and obey God's Word to us.

This nation was conceived in sin to a very large degree, even as to its purpose. It was only by the influence of the true Christians down through these years, and God's grace, that we have been allowed to prosper and survive these 234 years. What we don't know can hurt us. We are a gullible, ignorant and sinful people, blinded by our own greed and our own opinions, which we are certain are the correct ones. They are not. I say it again - due to our spiritual blindness we have been incredibly deceived.

I will address in a later post what we do not know about the U.S., on the off chance that readers are looking for TRUTH rather than blindly and arrogantly insisting that their opinions be confirmed as the correct ones.

Very soon we will be called upon to give accounts for our lives. Do we have our priorities arranged according to God's will? Are we even familiar enough with scripture to make it possible to be obedient? Are we willing to be taught, to listen and learn, to sacrifice our arrogant opinions on the altar of truth?

We are in the battle of our lives. A spiritual battle. That is the battle to which God has called us - NOT a physical battle. ARE WE ENGAGED? I won't write it out again, but I implore you to read Ephesians 6:10-20 and engage in the real battle. It's the only one that counts.

Make sure you're in the right war.

A Royal Warrior