Know Your Bible

VOL. 8                           December 13, 2009                           NO. 49

How Could Our Present Administration Be "Ordained Of God" (Rom. 13:1)? Part 2

What Are The Lessons For Us? -- First, the principles involved in how God works among nations have not ceased. "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people" (Prov. 14:34) is just as true now as it was during the days of Solomon. Righteous dealings among citizens within a society or nation based on God's truth help to promote trust and confidence among individuals, that each will do what he promises. Such provides the foundations of economic growth and stability. When a totalitarian or socialistic regime interferes to the degree that citizens cannot trust their government or each other to do what is right, economically or otherwise, that society is destined to fall eventually. History shows this to be true. What is to stop it now? There are large and bad consequences to a nation given overall to unrighteous behavior.  God's spiritual laws often work hand in hand with His natural laws to bring about His desired results. Is not a present lack of respect for these Divine laws and principles the root of our economic woes, both on Wall Street and Main Street?

      Second, we do not have prophets who tell us that specific sins committed in our country will result in specific punishments brought about by specific leaders and specific nations as prophets did for Israel. Nevertheless, the same principles of unrighteousness that caused Israel and Judah to fall continue to cause other nations to fall. How might God chastise the United States? I don't know specifically because God doesn't tell us specifically. However, from the Scriptures we learn that unrighteous behavior was punished and we see how it was punished. Today, we may not know exactly how a nation might be punished (what leader, nation, religion, or group could inflict chastisement on the United States economically or otherwise), but we know that unrighteous behavior in our country will be punished eventually.

      Third, while there are many good and righteous people in the United States today who will not share in the guilt of the unrighteous, we may well share in the consequences of their unrighteous behavior. When a large number of people in a great country such as the United States turn their backs on God, He can use people, circumstances, and other nations to chastise this country. God stated this principle to Nebuchadnezzar when He told him that the things that were about to happen were "to the intent that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, and gives it to whomsoever He will, and sets up over it the lowest of men" (Dan. 4:17).

      Who knows but that God is using matters covered by the news every day to chastise this country? What are those things? Matters such as injustices (bailing out some corporations but not others), abortion on demand and even its discussion in our presently debated "universal health coverage" bill, ungodly people in high places who do not care for His Word ("the lowest of men"), a growing hostile religion (Islam) and the weakness of political correctness that protects it, a war overseas, skepticism in a tottering economy, and a growing number of people leaning toward dependency on big government for their every need, rather than taking personal responsibility as the Scripture teaches (1 Tim. 5:8; 2 Thess. 3:10) would be a good start! These are only a few national issues that directly counter righteous behavior described in the gospel.

What Can We Do? -- First, trust in God and not our country. Our reliance must be in Him always, not the military or stock market. They can fail but He won't. For everyone, this short life will end and we will stand before God in judgment (Heb. 9:27). Regardless of what happened to us physically or our country, in the last day the most important thing salvaged (saved) will be our souls (Matt. 16:26). Trust in and obedience to God are most important! Trust in allied countries and their own strength rather than God brought both Israel and Judah to their knees as nations and will for any country today.

      Second, pray that more people in our country will obey the gospel. This is our greatest need. Never underestimate what God can and will do in answer to prayers of the righteous (Jas. 5:16-18).

      Third, teach people the gospel so they can believe and obey it.  When people enthrone Jesus Christ as King in their hearts, many of our social problems are eradicated. Righteousness and goodness preserve a society. Sodom would have remained had there been found only ten righteous souls therein (Gen. 18:32). However, while this is true, it is only a by-product of the most important result of gospel obedience -- the salvation of one's soul. Being right with God now and living in heaven with God eternally should be the chief concerns of our very existence (Eccl. 12:13,14).

      Does God use governments of men today to accomplish His rule in their efforts? Yes, indeed, even by the use of evil men and their administrations. How? We are not told specifically. We are shown how it occurred in Israel's history and why; we are assured it continues now.

      Rather than becoming despondent, depressed, and downcast about what goes on in Washington that eventually will affect us physically and economically, rejoice over the opportunity and promise of being saved eternally with God in heaven, and share that same optimism of the gospel with those around us. It is for their good and ours here and most especially in the hereafter.

---Phillip Owens
in The Elgin HIlls Examiner, Vol. 4,
No 11, November, 2009

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Are You A "Pilgrim"?
1 Pet.1:1
    Peter writes with the authority of an "apostle" of Jesus Christ and he writes to the Christians who were scattered. In 1 Pet.1:1, Peter speaks of "pilgrims of the dispersion". He was likely speaking of the Christians who had been scattered since the days when persecution had scattered the church every where (See Acts 8:1ff). Many of these brethren had to leave their homes in order to keep their faith and family together.
    A pilgrim sees himself as on a journey. The houses he happens to stay in are viewed as temporary places to stop on his way to the enduring land he seeks. Many of us in these prosperous United States have come to think of ourselves as permanent residents of our homes. We work and live as if it is all about having and keeping this house. We allow ourselves to become slaves of material things. One day all of this stuff is going to burn up. Our children will need "faith" in God and spiritual directions for living.
    We need to see ourselves as pilgrims, just passing through this world, on our way to the more permanent home prepared for God's people. Do you really view yourself as a "pilgrim"? Is your heart set on going to heaven? Do people you live with KNOW that your heart is set on something greater than this world offers? How can you really be a pilgrim if no one you work with or no one you live with knows that your heart is set on going to heaven? Pilgrims make preparation for their journey. What kind of preparations are you making for heaven?
---Terry W. Benton

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