Grace For Your Day August 21

Every year, the last Sunday in October is set aside as “Reformation Sunday.” It is a day when Protestant churches all across the world remember the five solas of the Reformation.

Sola Scriptura (Scripture Alone)
Solus Christus (Christ Alone)
Sola Fide (Faith Alone)
Sola Gratia (Grace Alone)
Soli Deo Gloria (Glory to God Alone)

These terms are important because they help to identify what the Reformation was all about and that is a true recovery of the Gospel. For 1,000 years, the Catholic Church had taught that salvation was about grace plus works until men like Martin Luther and John Calvin came along and refuted it.

However, this was not the only issue that the Reformers wrestled with during this period of time because they also battled with the subject of the relationship between the church and state. They encapsulated this issue with two other Latin phrases:

Corpus Christi (the Body of Christ)
Corpus Christianum (the Body of Christendom)

The question those phrases were meant to address is this: Is the church and state supposed to be one? Should we be bringing people into the Body of Christ when they are saved or should we place them into the Body of Christendom? In other words, now that the Reformation has occurred, the Reformers wanted to know if the church in Germany and Switzerland should take over the government. Should it make it a point to carry on the Roman Catholic tradition of combining the ecclesiastical and civil powers? For many of them, the answer was “yes” which is something that they erred in. Unfortunately, that was an area where they failed to bring people back to the Bible.

All of this is to say that the church has been wrestling with the issue of how it relates to the state for a long, long time. Ever since the early days of the Bible, believers have been struggling with issue like: How do I respond to a sinful government? Is it okay for me to disobey? What is disobedience supposed to look like? How does it relate to passages like Romans 13:1 and First Peter 2:11-15 that tell me to submit?

While those questions are not easy to answer, fortunately, the Word of God does address them because it gives us plenty of examples of how people interacted with their political leaders. Many of them submitted and humbly followed their guidance but others chose not to for various reasons. A few examples of those who chose to disobey would include:

- The Hebrew midwives (Exodus 1:17)
- Moses’ parents when they hid him as a baby (Exodus 2:1-4)
- Moses when he led the people of Israel out of Egypt even when the armies of Egypt came after them (Exodus 14)
- Rahab when she refused to tell the king of Jericho where the spies were (Joshua 2)
- Jonathan when he defied the command of his father Saul after a battle (1 Samuel 14::24-46)
- Obadiah when he hid the prophets of the Lord (1 Kings 18:3-4)
- Jehosheba when she saved Joash from the slaughter of Queen Athaliah (2 Kings 11:1-3)
- Mordecai when he refused to bow down to Haman (Esther 3:1-6)
- Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego in refusing to bow before the statue of King Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3)
- Daniel when he refused to cease praying (Daniel 6)
- The wise men when they refused to tell Herod where Jesus was born (Matthew 2:1-12)
- Jesus when He refused to keep the Pharisees’ traditions concerning what was “not lawful to do on a Sabbath” (Matthew 12:1-7)
- John the Baptist when he confronted King Herod for marrying Herodias, the wife of his brother Philip (Mark 6:14-29)
- Peter and John when they continued to speak about what they had seen and heard about Jesus (Acts 4:19-20)
- Paul and Silas when they were arrested in Philippi (Acts 16:14-40)

I mention this because it is the purpose of our next sermon series to look at these examples and find out what we can learn from them.

This week, we are going to begin a new series entitled “The Christian & Civil Disobedience.” It is something that needs no introduction because it seems like everyone has been wondering about how the church should respond to the government lately. In light of recent events, many Christians are wondering whether they should disobey or not since they have done so much to break our trust.

The good news is that this question is dealt with in the Bible as we will see in the weeks to come. It is not left unanswered because Second Timothy 3:16-17 says:

All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.

This means that the Bible can equip us for any challenge that we face including the challenge of interacting with a secular government so we do not have to be dismayed over this subject. All we need to do is open up the Word of God and study what it says which is what we will do starting on Sunday morning at 9:30 on 46024 Riverside Drive in Chilliwack. If you cannot make it, the sermon will be recorded and placed on our YouTube channel.

– Jeremy Cagle