Romans 13:1-4a ESV
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good.
I believe that we are to be subject to our governmental authorities, and to the law of the land, in most cases. But, there are biblical exceptions to this rule. If any human authority over us requires that we deny Jesus Christ as Lord of our lives, if they require that we compromise our faith with the world, and if they require that we disobey our Lord and his Word, then we obey God, not man (Dan. 3; Dan. 6; Acts 4-5; Rev. 13; Rev. 18:1-8).
I have faced this several times in institutional (state) churches. In one church they wanted our college ministry to change our central message from the cross of Christ, and from our need to be crucified with Christ to sin (Gal. 2:20), to something more socially acceptable and inviting to the world. At another church they required me to lie as a prerequisite to a meeting with the elders. When I would not lie, they put me on church discipline. And, at another church I was told that I had to let the pastor be God’s voice to me.
What we have to realize, too, is that there are many liars and deceivers out there dressed as wolves in sheep’s clothing. And, their goal is to deceive us, to trick us, and to get us to deny our Lord and to disobey the Word of God. So, we need to be aware of their tactics, which are of Satan, so that we do not fall prey to their deceptions, perhaps even thinking we are obeying God.
For, Satan tries to get us to doubt God, to doubt God’s word and his voice to us, and to doubt our relationship with Jesus Christ. He likes to try to make us feel weak and helpless and to convince us of such in order to get us to not obey the Lord. He likes to try to make us question our dependency on Jesus Christ and to even suggest we are listening to him instead of to Christ. And, he will try to get us to doubt God’s promises to us, too.
Satan will say some things that are true, but he will mix lies in with it and will twist and distort the truth. Thus, he will try to show us that belief in Jesus Christ and the true gospel, which removes idolatry from people’s lives, is “legalistic,” and that he can provide a church and faith that is “fun” and free from the guilt of sin, but not free from slavery to sin.
Satan will try to get us to compromise our beliefs and convictions by trying to shame us into a compromise. And, he will try to convince us to bring ourselves back under the slavery of sin and of men, when Jesus Christ came to set us free. Thus, he will try to convince you that he hears from God and his followers will even pretend to be believers in Christ.
And, he tries to tell us not to put our trust in the Lord Jesus but to put our trust in man. He preys on our weaknesses and tries to convince us that we are helpless and that we need him. The voice of Satan tells us not to trust in the words of the Lord but to trust in the words of man instead, and to let men give us the counsel and direction we need and to let man be our gods.
So, know his tricks, so that you don’t fall prey to them, convinced as you may be that either you are obeying God or that your lifestyle has God’s approval. Know what the Word of God teaches. And, daily put on that armor of God (Eph. 6:10-20) with which to fight off Satan’s evil schemes against you so that you don’t fall into any of his traps and end up on the wrong side.
Romans 13:8-10 ESV
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Jesus is the fulfillment of the law. Jesus is God, and God is love, so love is the fulfillment of the law. If we love God and we love other people as God loves us, thus we have obeyed the law. But, this love is not human love. This love means to prefer what God prefers, which is what is holy, pure, honest, faithful, righteous, godly and upright.
Loving God and loving others, though, is not optional for the believer in Jesus Christ. It is our duty, our obligation both to love God and to love others as Christ loves us and gave himself up for us. And, to love God is to obey him in doing what he says, and it is to love one another.
But, if we live sinful lifestyles, and it is our practice to commit adultery, to murder (hate), to slander others, to cheat, lie to and steal from others, etc., then we are neither loving God nor other people. For, love does no wrong to a neighbor (any other human being), and love does not walk in disobedience to Christ’s commands, either.
Romans 13:11-14 ESV
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
There are many people, even many who profess faith in Jesus Christ, though, who are spiritually asleep, who need to be awakened (revived). For, they have been convinced that they can profess faith in Jesus Christ, but live however they want, and still have the promise of heaven when they die.
So, there is not much of a distinction at all between those who profess faith in Jesus Christ and those who don’t, at least here in America. For, so many who profess faith in Jesus Christ live not much differently from those who don’t. They watch the same raunchy TV shows and movies, play the same evil video games, are addicted to the same pornography, and live for self-pleasure and not for the glory of God.
When they gather together for “Christian fellowship,” oftentimes the name of Jesus is not even mentioned, nor is the Bible referenced, nor is there any talk about the Christian faith and practice. Too many times the gatherings of Christians and the gatherings of non-Christians are indistinguishable. For, so many Christian gatherings are all centered around entertainment, too.
Yet, the time of our Lord’s return is drawing nearer, when our salvation will be complete. And, the signs are everywhere that we are definitely living in these last days before the return of our Lord. Revelation 13 is definitely being fulfilled in our day and time. The beast is definitely rising, and is conquering peoples, nations and Christians throughout the world.
So, it is definitely time for those who profess the name of Jesus to be alerted to the times in which we now live, and of the shortness of time we have left on this earth, and of the urgency for us to be walking in holiness and getting out the truth of the gospel to as many as possible before Jesus comes back to judge and to take us to be with him forever.
So, if you are regularly giving in to sinful practices, you need to cast those off. Sexual immorality, immorality of any kind, and lying, stealing, and cheating, etc. should not have any part in your life whatsoever! We are not to be those who have no self-control, and whose lives are out of control, because we are following after the flesh rather than after our Lord.
Not only that, but we should be those who make no provision for the flesh at all. This means that we not only stop doing what we know is wrong to do, but we also cut out of our lives all avenues which lead us into those sins, too. Such as, if porn addiction is your regular downfall, and you have not been able to bring that under the control of the Holy Spirit, then you need to be willing to cut out of your life all private access to internet devices.
If gluttony is your downfall, then you have to stop buying the food that leads you to over eat, or you have to avoid certain stores which you know carry the foods which tempt you most, or you have to find another way to drive from home to work so that you don’t keep going past a certain candy or donut shop or whatever.
We have to get serious about sin, in other words, and not keep playing with fire, or we will keep getting burned.
Broken and Contrite
An Original Work / May 13, 2012
I come before You, Lord, my Savior,
With humble heart and crushed in spirit.
I bow before You, I implore You,
Heal my broken heart, I pray.
Love You, Jesus, Lord, my master,
You are the King of my heart.
Lord, purify my heart within me;
Sanctify me, whole within.
Oh, Lord, I long to obey fully
The words You’ve spoken through Your Spirit.
I pray You give me grace and mercy,
Strength and wisdom to obey.
Father God, my heart’s desire,
Won’t You set my heart on fire?
Lord, cleanse my heart of all that hinders
My walk with You, now I pray.
Oh, Jesus, Savior, full of mercy,
My heart cries out for understanding.
I want to follow You in all ways,
Never straying from Your truth.
Holy Spirit, come in power,
Fill me with Your love today.
Lord, mold and make me;
Your hands formed me;
Live Your life through me, I pray.
Monday, April 15, 2019