Fear God

I Peter 2:17. “Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.”

Sometimes it’s really, really hard to “honor the king.” Here in America, we don’t have a king who has absolute authority over everyone and everything. We don’t have a king at all, never have. So that means we don’t have to concern ourselves with that part of this verse. Right?

Well, we may wish it were so. When we disagree with our government, though, we are still to do so without that cloak of malice we talked about yesterday. We have, on paper, the right to freely speak out about our ideas and beliefs. That is a precious freedom, hard-won at the cost of blood and sacrifice on the parts of those who laid the foundations for this “new” idea of a people who choose their own government. It was a radical idea in the 1700’s, and still is in many parts of the world.

So how do we disagree with the authority that we, the people (or at least some of the people) have put into place? How do we react to the steady encroachment of government into our private lives? What do we do when pastors are jailed for standing on the Word of God as their ultimate authority? Must we sit in silent endurance while the America we love falls to the ideas of Marxism?

I do not have one easy answer for that question. We used to be a nation that upheld the laws which we created. When the leaders abrogate those laws, what are we to do? Sit meekly in silence while we lose our precious freedoms?

Again, no easy, simple answers. What I do know is that God said we are to honor all men, including whoever is in the position of highest authority. So we need to look at what honor means in this context.

The Greek word here is timao. It is defined as (1)to estimate, to fix the value; to fix the value of something belonging to oneself. (2). to honorto have in honor, to revere, venerate.

One of the best things the writers of our Constitution provided for us was the every-four-years election of a new President. No one man is President (king?) for life. So we must be wise in our selections, always looking for the one who will best support the Constitution in all of its parts. When we err and put someone in the office who wants to ignore and/or rewrite the Constitution, then we do have options to remove that person when it becomes necessary.

The issue, then, is how we speak of/to government that is stepping out of its lane. And as much as it goes against the grain, we need to use respect toward that person or body of people, no matter how radical they are, no matter how opposite to our founding principles they are. No matter how deep the evil may be, we are to honor all people. Name-calling, for instance, should not characterize the way we speak of anyone, including government.

In particular, we are to love the brotherhood of believers wherever we find them. This is an absolute imperative, with no room for argument. We are not to disparage other believers, even when they follow practices we think are unbiblical. We can point out such practices, but we must do so in Christian humility and respect. Sometimes, there will be a parting of the ways with other believers, but there is no room in this verse for ugly words and behaviors when we do so.

It is important that we always keep in mind that the author of all earthly confusion is Satan, not God. Where there is strife, there is evil at work. For believers to descend to satanic strife is certainly not what God intended. It was not the way He desired His children to bring honor to His Name.

To fear God is to always, always speak and behave in such a manner as to bring honor to Him. We are His ambassadors; we are His witnesses. What others see in us is what they will assume represents God.

We must choose our words and actions with care.

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