Monday, February 27, 2017

Obeying the Laws of your Country

The Authority of Scriptures Should be our Measure

“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (Romans 13:1-2).

Message from the LORD

This message was given to Charis on the early hours of 25 February 2017. "In this vision, I was walking with somebody when the Lord started giving us this message. I heard the Lord saying with the message being repeated several times over, “You must obey the law of the Country, but if it contradicts the law of the Lord than you don’t have to follow it. For even I was persecuted and got into trouble for following God’s law and commands (John 8:40; 19:8-11).

This message is very important for the body of believers! The Church does not operate without being influenced by the laws of a country. The reality is that we are operating in a legal and political environment and as a body, we need to know how to respond to the threats posed by these realities. As a ministry, since we became aware of these developments we turned to the Lord in prayer and this led the Lord to give us the message above. Currently, there are some sweeping recommendations which could become law soon here in South Africa if it is passed. Some of these recommendations could adversely affect the work of the Church in this Country. We therefore appeal to you to pray for the body of believers here in South Africa and all around the world. Let it be known, this message is not only for the the local body, but for all Christians the world over. In order to guide you in prayer, you may read some of these recommendation right here .

Notice, where the word ‘law’ appears in this article, it has no reference to the Mosaic Law unless so indicated scripturally. The law we are referring to here is a reference to the normal laws passed by countries governing authorities. As we know, this is not a new message, and our aim is simply to reminder the brethren to obey the laws of the Country as the above scriptural reference commands a point the LORD emphasized recently. Also, since there are numerous articles elsewhere on this subject, we don’t intend producing a drawn-out article on this matter. Now scripturally, the Lord is a God of peace and order, and it displeases Him when people behave lawlessly (1 Corinthians 14:33; 2 Peter 2:9-10). God in His Sovereignty, has given people autonomy and the ability to make rules and to govern their own activities (Exodus 18:21). However such self-rule should be exercised to the benefit of all in society and within the sphere of Godly living (1 Samuel 8:19-20).

Socially, the aim of law in human society is to encourage social unity and to strike a balance against extreme behavior by some which could prejudice and adversely affect the interest of others. Without going into a deeper historical overview, the law of the earlier times only served the elite and those in power. In other words, its interpretation favored those who presented a strong and persuasive counter argument (Luke 23:13-25) which led to the acquittal of the guilty and the conviction of the innocent.

In our times, though, we have seen the formation of democratic systems of government almost anywhere around the world. The democratic system of government is a government which has been elected by the people for their common good. People want to be governed by those who will represent and protect their interest which leads to laws as a guarantee of saving guarding such interest (1 Samuel 8:19-20). I don’t want to sound all legal and political here, however, if rules of law which are meant to encourage an acceptable behavior is applied across all of society then it promotes justice and equality amongst its legal subjects (Zechariah 8:16).

While a country’s laws are there to serve as a deterrent and to control human behavior fundamentally, it does not always agree with the tenets of our Christian faith. This article is NOT meant to encourage civil disobedience amongst Christians, in fact, the Lord Himself said, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's; and to God the things that are God's" (Matthew 22:21 NKJV). As Christians, we are duly commanded to obey the governing authorities and to be submissive (Romans 13:7). Modern law and more specifically in democratic states, no religion is favored above the other to maintain the principle of ‘equality.' Therefore, Church and state operate independently from each other. However, in some instances, there is some government interference which is evident through some regulations to control relations among church bodies and its members.

A Christian’s Response Against Unjust Laws

Throughout Church history, countless Christians risked their lives to preserve their faith and relationship with God (Acts 12:1-2; Revelations 2:13). The price the Lord paid for our salvation is regarded worth more than this life (2 Corinthians 6:20). Additionally, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword…”? (Romans 8:35-39). Truly, this is a love that cannot be extinguished, it embraces and rides every storm of displeasure this life could offer.

Biblically, when a Christian is confronted by a choice that involves compromising his or her faith then, "We must obey God rather than any human authority” (Acts 5:29 NLT). Without going into too much detail, when Pharaoh commanded the Hebrew midwives to kill all the Jewish male boys, they put their feared for God first other than Pharaoh’s decree (Exodus 1:17). Also, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego defied the Kings order to bow down to the image he set up (Daniel 3:16-19). Additionally, the prophet Daniel would not allow the King's decree to interfere with his relationship with God, so he risked death to maintain his faith and love for God (Daniel 6:11-16). Furthermore, the Lord Jesus Himself was subject to human authorities (Matthew 17:27), but He stood firm on the message He proclaimed, defying death He made the good confession (Luke 22:69-70; 1 Timothy 6:13).

Finally, let us lead obedient lives as Christians without being ashamed of our faith while we discern “…what God's will is--his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2 NIV).

In conclusion, don't miss this opportunity, we would like to extend an invitation to anyone who does not know the Lord Jesus Christ yet, or of you are not born again, to pray our suggested prayer on this link Prayer of Sincere Repentance by faith and come follow the Lord (Matthew 4:19). You may also contact us for any questions or comments about this article or our ministry.

Faithfully Yours in Christ

Brother Glenn