Saturday, January 26, 2013

Do Christians have to obey the laws of the land?

Question of the Week - copy of e-mail from GotQuestions.org

Question: "Do Christians have to obey the laws of the land?"

Answer: 
Romans 13:1-7 states, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”

This passage makes it abundantly clear that we are to obey the government God places over us. God created government to establish order, punish evil, and promote justice (Genesis 9:6; 1 Corinthians 14:33; Romans 12:8). We are to obey the government in everything—paying taxes, obeying rules and laws, and showing respect. If we do not, we are ultimately showing disrespect towards God, for He is the One who placed that government over us. When the apostle Paul wrote to the Romans, he was under the government of Rome during the reign of Nero, perhaps the most evil of all the Roman emperors. Paul still recognized the Roman government’s rule over him. How can we do any less?

The next question is “Is there a time when we should intentionally disobey the laws of the land?” The answer to that question may be found in Acts 5:27-29, “Having brought the apostles, they made them appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. 'We gave you strict orders not to teach in this Name,' he said. 'Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man's blood.' Peter and the other apostles replied: ‘We must obey God rather than men!'“ From this, it is clear that as long as the law of the land does not contradict the law of God, we are bound to obey the law of the land. As soon as the law of the land contradicts God's command, we are to disobey the law of the land and obey God's law. However, even in that instance, we are to accept the government’s authority over us. This is demonstrated by the fact that Peter and John did not protest being flogged, but instead rejoiced that they suffered for obeying God (Acts 5:40-42).

Tuesday, January 22, 2013

A New Name Is Written in Heaven

Recently a friend of mine from work came to me with a praise report that I want to share with you.  He told me that he was so excited because of what had happened.  His 29-year old niece was driving one day and started feeling terrible.  She managed to get to her mother's house and was transported to the hospital.  The young lady had suffered several heart attacks and had come close to death.

When my friend heard this he rushed to the hospital as he was concerned that she might die before getting a chance to hear about the saving grace of Jesus as he knew she was not saved.  He went to the hospital and told her why he was there and she agreed to let him witness to her.  He led her in the prayer of salvation and she accepted Jesus as her Lord and savior.

I am so excited because my Brother boldly proclaimed the saving grace of Jesus to his niece and that day "A New Name Is Written in Heaven".

I love praise reports like this one.  If you have a praise report that you would like for me to share please send me an e-mail at mywelldone@me.com

How should a Christian view gun control?

Can you find anywhere in the Bible where Jesus ever debated politics with anyone?  Jesus is more concerned with more important things as His shoulders bear the government of all of creation, the earth the heavens, and the universes beyond.  I also do not like to get into political debates, but the issue of gun control is being made such a big deal right now.

Here is an e-mail I received from GotQuestions.org that I think is worth reading:

Question: "How should a Christian view gun control?"

Answer: 
The recent shootings across the United States have caused much heartache. The senseless and tragic incidents have also renewed the intensity of discussion regarding American gun laws. Politicians, sportsmen, and theologians have all weighed in on the issue of gun control. Guns are readily available in the U.S., and ownership is protected by the Constitution. How should a Christian view gun control? What does the Bible have to say that would apply to gun control?

The Bible was written long before the invention of any type of gun, so the phrase “gun control” will not be found in Scripture. However, the Bible records many accounts of wars, battles, and the use of weapons. Warfare is presented as an inevitable part of living in a fallen world (Mark 13:7; James 4:1), and weaponry is a necessary part of warfare. Weapons in the Bible were also used for personal protection. In some parts of Israel, robbers were common (see Luke 10:30), and many people carried weapons when they traveled. Carrying a weapon for self-defense is never condemned in the Bible. In fact, it was mentioned in a positive light by Jesus Himself on one occasion (Luke 22:35-38).

Christians are called to submit to governing authorities, and they are to obey the laws of the land (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17). This would have to apply to gun laws, too. If American gun laws change, American Christians should submit to these changes and work through democratic means toward any desired alternatives. The Bible does not forbid the possession of weapons, and neither does it command such possession. Laws may come and go, but the goal of the believer in Jesus Christ remains the same: to glorify the Lord (1 Corinthians 10:31).

Another biblical principle to consider is that “all who draw the sword will die by the sword” (Matthew 26:52). Jesus said this to Peter when Peter tried to mount an imprudent “defense” of Jesus against the mob that had come to arrest Him. Peter’s actions were not only futile against such a “large crowd armed with swords and clubs” (verse 47), but his rash behavior also belied Jesus’ submissive attitude (verse 50) and worked against the fulfillment of Scripture (verse 54). There is “a time for war and a time for peace” (Ecclesiastes 3:8), and Peter confused the two.

Christianity supports personal freedom. Romans 14:1-4 indicates that, when Scripture does not clearly address a particular issue, there is freedom for individual choice. America has historically embraced the concept of personal freedom that resonates with this principle, and the founding documents guarantee wide freedoms regarding firearms. Some point to Matthew 5:9, in which Jesus pronounces a blessing on the peacemakers, and apply it to the issue of gun control. The idea is that guns are antithetical to peace. This may be more of a philosophical or political idea than a theological one, however. There is nothing theologically, or even logically, that links guns to a lack of peace; sometimes, guns help maintain civil peace.

Debates over whether to control guns or how much to control them depend largely on political and philosophical arguments, not moral ones. This is not to say that there is no moral component to the issue. Obviously, the gun itself is amoral, an object that can be used for good or for evil. More important is the morality of the person wielding the gun, and that is too often the missing consideration in the gun control argument. The fact that some sinners use guns to commit sin does not mean guns are the problem. Sin is the problem, and that’s a moral and spiritual issue. Since the very beginning of humanity, people have been killing other people, with and without weapons (see Genesis 4). Taking a certain weapon out of circulation might make murder more difficult but by no means impossible.

As far as the Bible is concerned, the use of guns is a matter of personal conviction. There is nothing unspiritual about owning a gun or knowing how to use one. There is nothing wrong with protecting oneself or loved ones, even if it involves the use of weapons. We need not pretend there is never a need for guns, but pointing a gun at a person should always be a last resort. We should seek to neutralize threats without violence whenever possible.

So, how should a Christian view gun control? With the authority God has entrusted to it, the government has the right to allow or disallow gun ownership to whatever degree it deems right. We, as citizens, are called to submit to whatever gun control laws the government institutes. This is not, however, a statement on the wisdom of gun control. There are good reasons to allow law-abiding citizens to own guns. Ultimately, guns are not the problem. Sinful people are the problem.

Recommended Resource: Politics - According to the Bible: A Comprehensive Resource for Understanding Modern Political Issues in Light of Scripture by Wayne Grudem.

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Submit to Your Master's Will

One of my readers sent me an e-mail after reading the "Career Opportunity" article on this BLOG.  This person has not give me permission to share the questions asked at this time, however, I have included a portion of my reply as follows:

"Thank you very much for sharing your response to the article "Career Opportunities".  I think perhaps it was not an accident that you stumbled across my BLOG.  God has a way of drawing us to others because He has a way of delivering message for you through other people.

The answers you seek will be found in the study of His words and the secret key to find those answers is the key Mary gave us when she gave the servants instructions before Jesus preformed His first miracle of turning the water into wine.  She said, "Do whatever He tell you to do!"  Jesus also said, "Whoever hears these sayings of mine and does them ..."  Jesus also is telling you to do whatever He tells you to do.

Jesus talks to us through the reading of the scriptures and He also talks to us through the Holy Spirit.  When we listen to what the Holy Spirit is saying is when we get the answer we need from God.

The other key I think the Lord would have you know is that what you seek is a matter of the heart.  Jesus said, "Where your heart is there also will be your treasure."  Where is your treasure?  What you value is where your treasure is.  

One thing that may help you is by knowing that you were once a slave to sin sentenced to death.  Jesus paid the full price for you and delivered you out from the slavery of sin and death.  He laid down His life for you by purchasing your redemption through His dying in our place.  We were bought with a price and now we are His slaves, He is our Lord and Master.  We are not our own to do as we please.  Because we belong to Him we are to die to our own selfish nature and seek to do whatever His will is.  We are to submit to His Will as we subject to His will and not our will.

We are servants and slaves to Jesus our Lord, but the good news is that we are no longer  slaves and servants to an evil master.   The Romans used to brand their slaves so everyone would know the individual was slave and also the brand would identify who the slave belonged to.  When we are born again the blood of Jesus removes the brand of our former master and and then the Holy Spirit rebrands us with a seal of God that can never be removed.

We are bond servants to God, but Jesus also made us heirs and joint heirs in the Kingdom of God.  He made us royal ambassadors, Kings, and Priests while we are here on earth.  He made us to have dominion on this earth just as Jesus had dominion in heaven.  We are God's ambassadors on earth to do His will on earth just as it is in heaven.  The Lord's Prayer is an example of how we are to pray and I believe this model prayer is a must to pray everyday.  We are God's partners here on the earth to do His good pleasure.  God seeks people that will understand that and will do His will.  Before He can do anything on earth He must have a willing earth person, a partner, to do His will.  

The secret to the answer to your prayers, your desires, is knowing that it's God will that must be done on earth not just our will or desires.  You mentioned that your desire is to start your own business.  That's a good desire and God loves to grant the desires of our heart, but there must be something happening first before He can grant your desires.  You mentioned you have had some experiences where God has blessed you.  He will bless you even more when you do one more thing.  Jesus said for us to do "His sayings".  The main thing He wants you to do is "Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these other things (desires)  He will provide for you.  You see when we line up with His will it is His job to take care of the rest and He does that freely because He love us and wants to grant the desire of our hearts.  Our hearts just have to be in the right place.

What Jesus is saying here is for you to seek His will above all else, to do His will here on earth, and He will give you the desires of you heart.  Whatever you do seek His will in that situation first.  Whatever you pray about pray that His will will be done in that particular situation.  When we focus our attention to "Submitting to His Will" in all things,  all the other things of life will fall into place.

Lord, our Heavenly Father,  I praise you and give you thanks for allowing me to share my faith with others.  I pray for my readers that you will reveal Your will for there lives.  I pray that You will speak to there hearts and give them Your desires for there lives and to show them the reason You have called them to be Your servant and your ambassador here on earth just as it is in heaven.  Thank you for granting their heart's desires as they seek Your desires first. Amen