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Living Free

Living Free

Words of Faith 1-30-2020

Dr. Jeffrey D. Hoy © 2020

Jeff.Hoy@faithfellowshipweb.com

Faith Fellowship Church - Melbourne, FL

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1 Peter 2

      [13] Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, [14] or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. [15] For it is God's will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. [16] Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover‑up for evil; live as servants of God. [17] Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king.

 

        This is a tough one.  We are called by God to be submitted to the government instituted among us.  This is not as difficult if we live in a democracy that actually defends religious freedom and is relatively free from corruption.  But what about when the government is evil?

        Certainly, not every government authority expresses the values of God.  Yet, God has allowed even evil governments to play a role in His history.   Babylon was used to punish Judah, and Persia was used later to set her free.   But are we really to be in submission to a government when it requires us to do evil?

       The Bible is not unambiguous.  Some insight is found in knowing that you can submit to the government and resist evil at the same time if you are willing to pay the price.  The best example is Daniel.  When King Nebuchadnezzar banned prayer for the Jews exiled in Babylon, Daniel continued to pray, but he was also willing to accept the consequences of that action.  He was submitted to the law of the land even though he refused to obey it.  The result was an opportunity for God to be glorified in a mighty way.

       Civil disobedience, when it is willing to accept the consequence attached to that disobedience, is an act of submission to both the authority of God and the authority of a government.  Such actions actually create opportunities for God to miraculously intervene or for a witness to be given.  Sometimes governments change this way.  But be careful.  The price can also be high. Even death. The Greek root word for witness is martyr.

         Peter suggests here that we submit to governmental authority, even if it is not holy, because our testimony of doing good, even in the midst of evil, will glorify God even if it does not change things.  When the first Christian martyr submitted to the consequence of proclaiming the Gospel, he looked up to heaven and saw Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father.  It is the only place in Scripture where Jesus is described as anything but SEATED at the right hand (Acts 7).  Apparently, when the faithful give such testimony, it draws a stunning response from our Lord.

          Peter is clear that our freedom does not come from any government anyway.  Our freedom from the power of sin and death is much more significant than any government issue.  Our freedom is completely independent of our earthly circumstances.

          The truth is that being under authority may be one of the most difficult disciplines.  It will try us.  It will challenge us.  It will sometimes turn our lives inside out.  But in such places of pressure, truth will be heard, and God will be glorified.

 

         Lord, teach me the discipline of submission.  Give me the grace to submit to the government You have allowed to be in place.  Give me the wisdom to know when I should submit through prayerful disobedience.  Give me the witness to make Your truth known. In the name of Jesus. Amen.

 

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The Words of Faith devotion is published five days a week by E-mail, and our website, and our church app, excluding Federal holidays. Please feel free to forward this devotion to a friend who might be blessed by this devotion. Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture is quoted from the New International Version (R) of The Holy Bible. Copyright (c) 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society. Used by permission of Zondervan Publishing House. All rights reserved. Words of Faith (c) 1997, 2010 Jeffrey D. Hoy. All rights reserved. Permission is granted to forward this copyrighted material or use portions of it with appropriate notation of the source for non-profit purposes.  

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