We live in turbulent times. To say that life is “no longer normal” would probably be a gross understatement. This would be especially true for the overwhelming majority of those of us who live in the west.
Yet, for those who are true believers, we find ourselves in a quandary. Government officials give mandates but many wonder if we are called to obey God first or follow ALL the dictates of human government.
Romans 13 is often used as a blanket statement to make the decree that any and all opposition to government is ultimately a sin against God. If we stand for what is right, then some would seek to condemn such behavior as being ungodly. I have heard from more than one individual that “no matter what the government decrees, we are to obey with the exception of sharing the gospel.”
Recently, Todd Friel of Wretched Radio broadcasted a video in which he made his position very clear and that he believed there were no exceptions.
For the record, “Truth in Grace” does NOT agree with Friel. I do not agree with Friel. More importantly, the Bible does not line up with Friel’s interpretation.
Yes, this is about much more than the wearing of a facemask.
But, what is right? At what point do we take a stand against forms of tyranny?
Down through the centuries of church history, persecution for the sake of Jesus Christ has always been a part of the church. During times of intense persecution, the Church has always grown stronger.
However, the Church (even in the New Testament) never simply stood at the door of their houses and waiting for the soldiers of Caesar to take them to the Coliseum. Husbands NEVER just stood by while their wives and daughters were ravaged. They had a higher command from Christ to protect their families.
Believers around the world are constantly in violation of government mandates when they 1) refuse to accept an abortion under a one-child mandate, 2) continue to teach children of the Bible when the government says those under 18 are not permitted in worship services, 3) when they seek to protect the lives of others (think Christians protecting Jews under the Nazi regime), and 4) when they still meet for worship although the government mandates they cannot meet.
These are but a very small collection of times when we ought to obey God rather than man. Yes, we recognize that this world is not our home, but even the Lord Jesus Christ is recorded saying, in at least three of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), that persecution is coming and that those who understand are to FLEE!
Some may have you believe that if the government becomes tyrannical and orders all Christians to show up for extermination in an interment camp that we are to willing, obediently, and without reservation simply turn ourselves in for the grand event.
This is NOT Biblical!! And absolutely no part of true church history shows such a thing taking place. Yes, Peter gives advice for when we go through suffering, but there is NOT one single mandate in Scripture that commands true believers to simply give up for the government to kill us.
All our brothers and sisters who have suffered persecution are suffering for the sake of Jesus Christ. They are living their lives in such a way as to bring honor and glory to the Lamb who was slain. If they live, they live as to the Lord. If they die, they die as to the Lord.
As an example, the wearing of a mask is not the real issue. The real issue is how far the government goes in taking away freedoms to worship and obey God.
What do we obey and what do we disobey?
The simple answer is found in Dr. John MacArthur’s message shared below.
“We disobey the government when the government tells you to do what God forbids you to do, or mandates that you stop doing what God commands you to do.”
If believers are commanded not to sing, praise, and worship – we disobey!
If pastors are told what they can and cannot preach – we disobey!
If believers are told that we cannot meet – we disobey!
If we are to undergo persecution, let it be for the sake of Jesus Christ and not for mere issues that do not matter in the light of eternity.