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Posts Tagged ‘human-rights’

… He was not worried about claiming His rights …

Philippians 2:6

 

Jack Webb was a no nonsense TV detective on Dragnet.  I do not remember a single episode from the series (I was too young), but I do remember these words:

“You have the right to remain silent.  Anything you say or do may be used against you in a court of law.  You have the right to consult an attorney.”

 

These words form the core of what is know as your Miranda Rights, which since 1966 every police officer must recite before interrogating anyone.

 

Personal Rights have become an overarching issue in American society.  We talk about civil rights, the right to life, consumer rights, gun rights, the right to free speech, the right to the free exercise of religion etc.  

 

The Bill of Rights, which forms the first 10 Amendments of the  US Constitution were written to protect the natural rights of liberty and personal freedom in America.  

 

If someone seeks to limit or take away our rights, we become feisty and angry.  We might go so far as to hire a lawyer, file a lawsuit, and contact the media.   

 

What rights are you willing to give up for the benefit of others?  Before you answer, reconsider Philippians 2:6.

 

Jesus gave up His rights as God, comfortably enthroned in heaven with the freedom to demand that we worship, serve, and obey Him!

 

Why did Jesus give up His rights? 

… to live and die for the forgiveness of your sins.

 

What did Jesus gain in giving up His rights?

… rejection, ridicule, humiliation, whipping, suffering, and a public crucifixion.

 

Jesus knew what He was getting Himself into when He gave up His rights, but this did not stop Him.  Absolutely not.  In John 15:13 Jesus said: 

“There is no greater love than to give up your life for the ones you love!” 

 

And Paul tells us to think like Jesus.

 

I wonder what our world would be like, if we all thought and lived like Jesus?

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Fear God and honor the king! (1)

Fearing God is the easier of the two parts of this command.  

Honor the king!  I am having a problem with this one, especially as the narcissistic stalemate in Washington DC, continues to rule on the basis of self-interest, money, and power.

Our leaders have abandoned the form of government advocated by Abraham Lincoln in his Gettysburg Address, “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people!”

Paul’s statement that all sin and fall short of the glory of God (2) is hard to dispute when examining the current political culture of the United States.

Christians have historically struggled with Jesus’ teaching “Give to Caesar what is his and give to God what is His.” (3)

Martin Luther, the leader of the Protestant Reformation, has provided the best explanation of what Jesus meant:

The secular government doesn’t extend any further than external and physical matters. God can tolerate secular government because it doesn’t concern itself with sin, good works, or spiritual matters. Instead, it handles other matters, such as guarding cities, building bridges, collecting tolls and taxes, providing protection, defending the land and the people, and punishing criminals. 

So Christians should obey government officials as long as these officials don’t command them to do something against their consciences.

If an emperor or prince were to ask me about my faith, I surely would tell him, not because of his governmental authority, but because I should confess my faith publicly. 

If, however, he ordered me to believe this or that, I would say, “Sir, take care of the secular government. You have no authority intruding on God’s kingdom. I will not obey you. You cannot tolerate anyone intruding on your domain. If someone oversteps their boundary without your permission, you shoot them. Do you think that God should tolerate your desire to push him off his throne and seat yourself in his place?” (4)

As the people of God we need to pray and work to keep the civil government from meddling in the affairs of God.

As you celebrate our nation’s independence today, established primarily to protect religious liberties, pray for our leaders, more and more of them believe everything belongs to Caesar.

As fear of God is replaced by expanding honor for the king our great nation grows weaker.

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  1. 1 Peter 2:17 .
  2. Romans 3:23.
  3. Matthew 22:21.
  4. Luther, Martin; Galvin, James C. (2009-05-19). Faith Alone: A Daily Devotional (p. 185). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

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