Bible Ballistics: Render Unto Caesar?? Pt. 2, Vol 4 #21
Since I wrote the article for Friday’s BBs post, a lot has happened. As most of you know, we live in Oklahoma and we had ‘terror’ almost in our backyard. Some may not have heard, but a woman was beheaded by an apparently self-avowed Muslim man in Moore, OK at their workplace!! We must realize that our time is short and we must be ‘about my Father’s business’. I feel even more compelled to finish these thoughts on “Render to Caesar” than I was on Friday.
If you missed that article you can request it by e-mail, check it out on one of the links bibleballistics.org and/or facebook.com/bibleballistics. Please check it out and it will put you in context. We talked about Mark 12:17 where Jesus told those of His day and culture (including the zealots and the religious leaders), to ‘render to Caesar’ and ‘to God’ the appropriate ‘allegiance’. If we claim to serve God, then we need to understand what HE has called us to be. Even more importantly we need to understand that He hasn’t just ‘called’ us to these things, He has enabled us to ‘be’ doing them only through HIS power, which comes through Jesus’ ‘atonement’ for our sin, and HIS indwelling Holy Spirit.
We also looked at part of a passage in 1 Peter 2, which we will springboard from today. This letter was sent to a group of believers that were being persecuted for their faith. This passage doesn’t call them to hold rallies, to gather like-minded people to help them protest or any such political activity (although each of those activities may be appropriate in individual times and circumstances—please understand that I am not calling people to avoid civic activity but to see what route should be the believers banner and standard of first response) but it calls them to a different mind-set. Let’s examine it.
1 Peter 2:19-25, “ For this is thankworthy, if a man for conscience toward God endure grief, suffering wrongfully. 20 For what glory is it, if, when ye be buffeted for your faults, ye shall take it patiently: but if, when ye do well, and suffer for it, ye take it patiently, this is acceptable with God. 21 For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow His steps: 22 Who did no sin, neither was guile found in his mouth: 23 Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously: 24 Who his own self bare our sins in his own body on the tree, that we, being dead to sins, should live unto righteousness, by whose strips ye are healed. 25 For ye were as sheep going astray; but are now returned unto the Shepherd and Bishop of your soul.”
First and foremost we see in this passage that our Lord Jesus left us an example of ‘behavior’ during times of suffering, persecution and/or political upheaval. Peter tells us here that we are to be people of righteous character and not to suffer as ‘wrong doers’. He calls us to take suffering ‘patiently’—ouch!! Patience is a much missing virtue in the life of most Americans, especially believers. We are accustomed to ‘instant’ juice, grits, coffee, everything!!! We forget that God in His Word calls us to maintain our faith by patient endurance (See James 1:1-6).
Peter goes on to tell us that Christ Jesus left us the ultimate example of patient endurance for righteousness. Think for just a minute with me—Jesus is the perfect, sinless, holy Son of God. He thought right, spoke right, did right, and went right!! Yet when the time came for Him to suffer ‘wrongfully’, HE did it. He was suffering for crimes that He had not committed, but I did, I have and still do!! Yet He went that road to Calvary just as Peter describes for us here.
Suffered FOR US (not His own sin)–
did not sin (ever or while the suffering was taking place)
no guile was in Him (no cunning to escape it)
reviled not again (didn’t give tit for tat!!)
threatened not (and HE had the might, the right and the power to not only threaten but to escape this torture).
BUT instead, HE:
“committed himself to him that judgeth righteously”
He bore the suffering to purchase our salvation that we could have life through His death, burial and resurrection. He healed our sin-sick souls and gave us new ‘birth’!! That we could live for Him by “being dead to sins,” we “should live unto righteousness”!!!! Being ‘born again’ to new life in HIM!! His strips heal from the disease of SIN!!! I may suffer in the body but my soul is healed forever by HIS blood!!!
I am now empowered to endure the ‘wrongful’ accusations and persecution, the slander, slight and mistreatment: knowing that my GOD has equipped me to do that in HIS power and strength and TO PLEASE AND GLORIFY HIM!! (See verse 21 & 22 above).
So am I saying that we are not to stand for God in the public arena? NO!! I am saying that we are to rely on and be in allegiance to God first and be prepared to suffer for Him. But living in a free (relatively speaking) and democratic society we have a privilege, opportunity and obligation to stand for righteous causes publicly but in a godly way.
In God’s timing!!
In God’s way!! (Righteously and in holiness)
In obedience to His call on me personally!!
In an appropriate fashion!!
Galatians 5:22-26, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, 23 Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law. 24 And they that are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit. 26 Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one another, envying one another.”
I must say that much of what I see and hear from professing Christians, especially in public venues, is a far cry from these 9 values. What is my measuring stick of appropriate words, books, entertainment, posts, and comments??? We will give an account of every word!!
Another good reason that we should have a different measuring stick from the world is addressed by our Lord in Matthew 5. I call this the “BE–attitudes”, supernatural ability to live and respond to the world supernaturally!!
Blessed are the
Poor in Spirit (those who rely on God’s Spirit)
Mourners (those who grieve over SIN-all sin)
Meek (those who submit to God’s control)
Hungry (for & seek first His Kingdom-see 6:33)
Merciful (extend care and forgiveness as received)
Pure in Heart (let God tune their heart to His)
Peacemakers (those who share the gospel so others can have peace with God –see Romans 5:1)
Persecuted for HIS sake (those who follow Him to Calvary—see Galatians 2:20)
Reviled for His sake (and respond as HE did).
Are we ready to follow Him to Calvary, no matter the cost? Peter boasted of His ability to do that, but he failed in the flesh. But even greater is the restoration that Jesus gave to Peter, and after the indwelling of the Holy Spirit came—He did do just that!!!
Without getting too far afield I would like us to understand that God established governments/nations. You can go back to Genesis 10-11 and see the beginnings of nations. We also see in Romans 13 that we are called to be subject to those powers (governments) over us as that which is established by God, for order. I would suggest that you read this entire chapter, but for our purposes here, I’ll only quote verse 7.
Romans 13:7, “Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”
Let me simply state that there are times when individuals and peoples have valid grievances and causes for ‘civil disobedience’; mainly when the laws or orders come in direct conflict to the Word of God, or are blatantly unjust. Without getting to deep into a tough subject, suffice it to say, that unless I personally or a group to which I belong (i.e.. Church) is commanded to directly disobey the commands of scripture; I am to submit to the governing authorities. But even in cases of ‘civil disobedience’, we are still expected by God to fulfill and exhibit the ‘fruit of the Sprit’ in all our ways.
As Israel of old was punished for their sin and refusal to obey God, America stands on the brink of God’s judgment. I’d like to share just a few scriptures for thought along with the others that we have looked at, as we close for today. I know this has been a bit lengthy but I feel urgently compelled to call us to return to our ‘first love’.
Isaiah 59:2, “But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear.“
Colossians 1:27, “To whom God would make known what is the riches of the glory of this mystery among the Gentiles; which is Christ in you, the hope of glory:“ (Not America the hope of glory, or fill in the blank)
1 Corinthians 15:58, “Therefore, my beloved brethren, be ye steadfast, unmovable, always abounding in the work of the Lord, forasmuch as ye know that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.” HIS WORK!!
1 Corinthians 1:31, “That according as it is written, He that glorieth, let him glory in the Lord.” (Not plans or programs)
Matthew 26:52, “Then said Jesus unto him, Put up again thy sword into his place: for all they that take the sword shall perish with the sword.” (Or as often paraphrased, ”they that live by the sword will die by the sword”-worthy of more time than we have left here, try replacing sword with ‘gun’?)
And as a final note to close on, Jesus gave a most stern warning to the church of Ephesus, that if they didn’t return to their first love—JESUS himself—he would remove them from service. To me, the sternest of all the warnings to the 5 churches that he rebuked, of the 7 mentioned. May it touch your heart?
Revelation 2:5, “Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.”
We, the church of Jesus Christ (especially in America) need to examine ourselves, repent and “do the first works…” or we will have our ‘candlestick’ removed. Strong words I know, but the message that God gave me to share with you. Please take these things before the Lord. May we all look to HIM, hear His counsel, repent as appropriate and PRAY, PRAY, PRAY for our beloved nation, for the entire world, and for one another!!!!
I pray that we are ready, as believers in America to return to the preaching of the gospel. To once again be willing to preach that ‘all have sinned’, that ‘the wages of sin is death’, and that ‘the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord’? Are we ready to stand and preach, teach and truly obey Christ’s command to “teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost; 20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you”? (Ro 3:23, Ro 6:23, Matt 28:19-20) Are we truly ready to stop relying on our plans, programs, gimmicks, and tricks to make Jesus palatable to the world? May God have mercy on us and bring us to our knees that with Paul we may truly proclaim:
1 Corinthians 2:2, “For I determined not to know any thing among you, save Jesus Christ, and him crucified.” (How many things do I/we preach? Comfort, Entertainment, Prosperity, Fun…..?)
Galatians 6:14, “ But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world.”
Galatians 6:7-9, “Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap. 8 For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. 9 And let us not be weary in well doing: for in due season we shall reap, if we faint not.”
Please hear my heart!! I believe God is calling us to once again return to dependence on HIS Gospel, HIS cross, His salvation and wait for HIM to bring conviction, repentance and belief into the hearts and lives of people. Perhaps, if we will once again preach ‘CHRIST AND HIM CRUCIFIED’, trust God, and ‘sow to the Spirit’, God would please grant us to once again ‘reap life everlasting’. May our churches once again be filled with those who have truly been converted, those who long to “know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being made conformable unto His death.”? (Phil 3:10) Oh, dear Father may it even now be so, as you flame the fires of conviction, revive your people—‘that the world may know’—(Whether they are in the church or outside of it!)
“He that hath the Son hath life; and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life.”
Would you prayerfully read through Romans 8 and 1 Cor. 3, and let God speak to you through them and this article? God bless you as you seek HIS face! You are Beloved!!!
Render unto__________________????? It’s your choice!!