Qualifications of elders and bishops; Christian citizenship; Paul's appeal for Onesimus.
Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To Speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men (Titus 3:1-2).
Under inspiration of God, the apostle Peter emphasized the Christians' responsibility to be law-abiding citizens (I Pet. 2:13-14). We must remember in everything we do that we represent Christ. Those who blatantly ignore laws and break them look no different than all those in the world around us. We, as believers, are the Church. We are Christians. Now then we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God did beseech you by us: we pray you in Christ's stead, be ye reconciled to God (II Cor. 5:20). People get their opinion of a nation from meeting its ambassadors. That is why it is so important that we behave in a way that represents the kingdom of God well. We need to follow the laws of the land as close to the letter as possible.
Does this Scripture mean that we should submit passively to corrupt government and be unfaithful to God's Word if evil forces demand it? Of course not! We represent Christ first and foremost. The believer should never turn to sin because the world commands it. For even hereunto were ye called: because Christ also suffered for us, leaving us an example, that ye should follow his steps (I Pet. 2:21).
When Peter and the other apostles were commanded by religious authorities not to tell others that Jesus was the Messiah — Savior of the world, they responded as faithful Christians saying We ought to obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29). They took a stand against those who would have them deny Christ. They would not be silenced about their Lord and Savior. Even in the face of government opposition, they still spoke the truth about who Christ was.
These Christians did not respond with force or violence, but they declared the truth, for which they were often put in prison. Some were even killed for their loyalty to Christ. But the early Christians did not react with hatred toward those who attempted to silence them. It is Satan who instigates violence and rioting. We are to always continue showing the love of Christ in all we do. This is what makes us different. We are instructed by Christ to love those around us, even if we are being persecuted. Christ set the example heading towards His death on the cross. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots (Luke 23:34).
For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men (I Pet. 2:15).
Thought for the Day: God's people should joyfully submit to “thus saith the Lord.”
For Titus 1:2: See Num. 23:19.
Titus 1:14 Jewish fables, myths; 2:10 purloining, stealing, even small things; Philemon 1:8 enjoin thee that which is convenient, order you to do that which is proper; 1:12 mine own bowels, out of my very heart.
Pray for Staff: Chris Robison • Government Officials: Sen. Max Baucus (MT), Sen. John Kerry (MA), and Rep. Mike Simpson (ID) • Country: Ireland (3.7 million) off the coast of western Europe • Major languages: English and Irish (Gaelic) • Religious freedom • 92% Catholic; 3.7% Anglican; 1% Other Protestant; .2% Muslim; .1% Jewish; 2% Other; 1% None • Prayer Suggestion: Pray when distressed and afflicted (Jon. 2:2).
Memory Verse for the Week: Luke 1:37