Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

2688 North Park Drive
Lafayette, CO 80026
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July 20 – Bearing Witness To God’s Love In Our Politics

“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.”  1 Peter. 2:13-17

Devotional Thought For The Day

There are two types of ignorant people. The first are those who do not know the difference between right and wrong, who can’t even see the benefit of doing what is good – and as long as they remain in this darkness there is little benefit in discussing much of anything with them.  They are like beasts who only respond to discipline, punishment, and pain.  Then there are those who are unable to grasp the reality that everyone of us is in great need of forgiveness and mercy from God. These self-righteous fools think that by their own goodness they are able to do what is right and avoid what is evil, and that God’s forgiveness and mercy is “soft,” granting license and encouragement to people to engage in evil. They are ignorant of the power of God’s gracious forgiveness, mercy, and love to change the hearts and minds of people, so that behavior is changed for the better from the inside out, from the heart.

Because of the ongoing influence of our sinful nature and the wicked principles and dynamics at work all around us in the world, even those who know God’s love, who love Him, and who desire to live good and decent lives in service to God – as His servants, need encouragement to continue devoting themselves to what is good and right. That is, we continue to need encouragement to actualize in our living the goodness, love, kindness, and mercy we have received from God. This is necessary, not only because God commands it, not only because it is good, not only because of the work of God’s Spirit in our hearts, but also for the sake of bearing witness to others – to “put to silence the ignorance of foolish people” who deny the power of God’s love and His kingdom.

One of the most important ways in which God’s people, those who serve Him, are to do this is in our civic lives – being subject to all those in government, honoring all, not just God and the brotherhood, but everyone, including the “emperor.”  The emperor, of course, is the one in the highest office in the land.  This does not mean that we agree with everything the “emperor” says and does – the Roman rulers were filled with darkness and evil.  Nor does it mean that we are subject to the emperor or governors when they legislate and command us to engage in evil, things contrary to God’s good and gracious will.  In such circumstances “we must obey God rather than men.” [Acts 5:29]  Even in such instances, however, we are still instructed to “honor the emperor” – and all others who are in positions of authority.

We do all of this as “people who are free.” We are children of God and He is the true King of the Universe, and so we are cosmic princes and princesses. But we do not use our freedom as grounds for engaging in evil, especially not the evil of rebellion against and dishonoring of those who are in authority. This may be difficult within the current culture of our political process – but children of God should stand out all the more in the honorable way in which we participate in politics, the honor and respect that we afford all people, especially those in positions of authority.  To do otherwise is to buttress the ignorance of those who deny God and the power of His goodness and love. Surely we do not want to do this!

So let us live as true servants of God, subject to authorities and giving them proper honor and deference.  Yes, we are careful not to agree with, abet, or participate in their evils, but we are also careful to grant them the honor befitting them due to their office. If we do this, perhaps some will recognize the goodness and nobility produced by God’s Spirit within us – and inquire about the love of God which gives us constant and certain hope. This surely is God’s will.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, You were unjustly condemned and executed by those in authority, who sorely abused their offices, yet You remained submissive and obedient in Your freedom. Help us to be discerning of Your wisdom and will, and to truly be Your servants in all that we do – that others may come to see the superiority and power of Your great love for us. Help our leaders to understand and to fulfill their duty, to “punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.” Amen.