In This World, But Not Of It

In Matthew 17, tax collectors came to collect from Jesus and His disciples. They cornered Peter and asked him if Jesus complied with the rule. Peter answered, “Of course.” Then, he and the Lord had a discussion about the legality of the levy and their duty to pay up. Long story short, Jesus instructed Peter in the matter this way: “We don’t have to pay this tax, but let’s not give offense to them. Go to the sea, cast a hook and reel it in. You will have a fish with a coin in its mouth. Take that coin and pay the tax for me and you.”

This story says something about Jesus and His relation to the authorities of His time on earth.

He wanted to give no offense in this case. However, we also know that Jesus did things on the Sabbath that the Jewish leaders forbid with their ordinances. There’s no firm line drawn by Him about these things.

Of Another Kingdom

We are all wrestling with some things that the authorities are asking of us just now. To some, these mandates smack of tyranny and injustice. Some go so far as to see these rules as a precursor of the Beast government described in the book of Revelation. For sure, some of what’s happening is definitely anti-church and anti-Christianity.

Conspiracy theories are breeding faster than rabbits. And some are chasing after them and perpetuating them.

Our present citizenship as Christians is of a temporary order. We serve the King of kings and He Himself said that His Kingdom is not of this world. Click To Tweet

Let’s be clear:  God blessed America with people who crafted a significant Constitution. Is it perfect? Are those who interpret it perfect? No, and no. But as a governing document it is remarkable and valuable, recognized for its content and strength. Really if you read it carefully the sentences take seriously the depravity of man and his disposition to the abuse of power.

We should not be surprised at what is happening, vis a vis our leaders and their orders. Power is seductive. That being said, our present citizenship as Christians is of a temporary order. We serve the King of kings and He Himself said that His Kingdom is not of this world.

We should be under no illusions; this world is not our home, and neither should we make ourselves feel at home in this cosmic system. It is a great danger to attempt and expect and effect political solutions to spiritual matters.

Key to Justice and Action

America has a spiritual pandemic. Disease has set in among God’s people, resulting in confusion and loveless-ness. As church goers and church leaders, we must examine the impediments in our own eyes first before we cast judgments on the blindness of others.

Do we love one another? Do others witness this love among us? Do we love our neighbors?

Jesus said this:  “I came not to bring peace to this world, but a sword. …” He also told us to turn the cheek, go the extra mile, give the shirt off our back, and love our enemies and pray for those who despitefully use us.

Prayer, it’s practice is the key to justice and action. It makes its appeal to the One who made all things and who holds all things together.

Of course, the world is rife with pirates and predators. Sin does abound. Discern it. Avoid it. Seek His path which keeps us from temptation. And know this:  He shall deliver us from evil.

Grace must abound ever more.

His faithfulness is great. His mercies are new. Every. Single. Morning.

Let’s not give offense unnecessarily. Let’s live to speak words given by the Spirit. Let’s assemble and not apologize for doing so. Let’s believe the best about our leaders knowing that all promotions on earth come from above. It is He who raises kings and puts them down. We must trust His sovereign purposes and draw near to Him.

He shall triumph.

 

Steve Andrulonis
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