Living In A Fallen World
Sovereign Lord, assure me today that Your knowing, caring hand is at the helm of my life, and of the world.
Read Romans 13:1-14
Scripture taken from the Holy Bible, NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION. Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 International Bible Society. All rights reserved throughout the world. Used by permission of International Bible Society.
“He upholds the cause of the oppressed and gives food to the hungry” (Psa. 146:7). Building God’s kingdom means doing God’s work.
The 20th century produced some appalling tyrannies. How do we handle this passage in the light of all that deliberately inflicted suffering? Was Dietrich Bonhoeffer right to support the attempt to assassinate Hitler? How do we apply this teaching to 21st century democracies? Trying to relate the Bible to politics today is complex, and formulating simplistic views buttressed by a few proof texts is no help at all. That civil authority, of whatever shape, is ultimately derived from God is a basic teaching of the OT and is reaffirmed in the NT writings. It is the gift of God that human life is social, involving family, kin, local and wider communities, which have and need orderly and just laws and patterns of governance run by some for the benefit of all. However, all of these social and civil authorities are flawed. The Christians of the Roman Empire had no political power; if called upon to act against God’s laws they could simply say no and endure the consequences. But in democracies we have the right and the duty to participate and sometimes peacefully oppose.
Love fulfills the Law—Paul once more refers back to Jesus who summed up the Law quoting Leviticus 19:18 (Matt. 22:39). Loving your neighbor includes paying taxes, honoring authority, keeping the law, voting and contributing to political debate. We do this “understanding the present time” (11), the time between the resurrection and the day when Jesus comes again. Because “God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ” and “has committed to us the message of reconciliation” (2 Cor. 5:19), we are active in our world, bringing God’s transforming love into every part of our lives, home, school, work, politics. He works through his church to bring the transformation that began with the resurrection.
Many Christians avoid contact with politics, or simply conform. Do you have a church group willing to work through political and social issues to help you respond biblically?
Lord, enable me to be a good and faithful servant of Yours in the world. Help me not to curse the darkness but light candles of hope and help.
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