Do Christians have to respect their government bodies as they make clear announcements?
The short response is that Christians are commanded by God to follow government orders unless they are contradictory to whatever instructions God has given us in His Word. Romans 13:1-5 states that:
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Notice these things about Romans 13:1-5:
Christians are ordered to be subject to the higher powers.
The explanation the Apostle Paul gives this order is that God is essentially responsible for the creation of governments.
Christians should follow the government, not only because they are scared of repercussions, but because of their conscience.
Are there exceptions to this? Here are a few strong biblical exceptions. You may disobey the government directive:
If you are ordered by your government to kill someone (Exodus 1:15-21).
If the government has ordered you to indulge in fake religion (Daniel 3).
If the government has told you not to pray (Daniel 6).
When you are told by your government to avoid spreading the Gospel (Acts 4:17-20; 5:27-29; 5:40-42).
In other words, if a political official instructs you to do anything opposite to what God has already commanded in His Name, not only do you have permission, but you have a duty to disobey.
However, in the absence of such instances, where the authority that God has put over you command you to do something that does not violate the Word of God, adherence to such authority is necessary.
Let us, however, admit that some complicated decisions will still confront us, that is, circumstances where it is not immediately apparent what God may expect of us. For example, in the first days after the Shelter-in-Place Order was issued, some Christians struggled to balance the Bible’s insistence that Christians come together for worship (Hebrews 10:24-25) against the Bible’s strong theme of the protection of life. Most Christians finally found merit in forsaking corporate worship (temporarily) for the sake of saving as many lives as possible.
Many Christians — even experienced Christians who are happy to adhere to God’s will — may fail to balance the relative importance of small-scale acts of kindness.
The main point of this article, however, is to remind those of us who are Christians of what the Bible tells and examples of civil disobedience. Unless we have biblically-derived justification for doing anything contradictory to what the government has instructed, we should always attempt to do what is right, even if doing so makes us uneasy or seems to be unwise.
Every Sunday morning, Christians around the nation had to adapt to a new reality. Instead of stepping out of bed and heading to church, people are now singing into the live stream as they’re eating pancakes in their pajamas. As a result of the staggering rise in the COVID-19 pandemic, recent social distance laws have restricted large gatherings — meaning reduced church services.
Opposing the recently enacted legislation will lead to problems. Christians are called to be model people, obeying the laws of the land as long as this does not result in going against the laws of Heaven. Churches should set a peaceful precedent by following the laws of government and preserving harmony. Not only does this express respect for the government, but it is also a way to help our neighbors by keeping them safe.
Loving your neighbor
Matthew 22:39: “Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.”
Social isolation regulations have been set to protect public health. According to the World Health Organisation, more than one million cases have been reported worldwide since 5 April. That number is increasing every day. So far, the social distancing has proven to be very successful.
Our love for others should be our greatest motivation to remain socially distant. Loving your neighbor saves them, not endangering their wellbeing by exposing them to this lethal virus. It’s important to help our friends and family escape the virus by preventing it on their own. Churches may strive to protect their flock, so they must abide by the rules of social distance.
Respect your governmental representatives
Some could argue that it is curbing religious rights, regulate all meetings, and reduce our ability to pray together is a bad thing done by the government. However, these rules are not going to last long. Right now, their goal is to save your life.
Churches set a precedent to their community and the world around them. In Romans, Paul advises believers to respect the nation.
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” he writes in Romans 13:1.
God has chosen each jurisdiction that we have — both the state and the federal government. Churches must support and honor governing authority, for it sets a God-honoured example for the world to see.
Loving the Church
It’s important to note what the Church truly is a community of believers. And if we cannot physically join together, we should bind their hearts in search of the Lord. Yeah, God is infinite. Christians don’t have to be in Church to praise God; they can do it just as well in their houses! Remember — it’s just a season. After these rules have been lifted, it is necessary to join the congregation.
It’s nice to see people tuning in to different church services on Instagram, posting photos of their TV screens or computers as they serve the Lord at home. Too many churches have found alternatives to live streaming sites, to attract more people than ever before with the Faith. God acts in miraculous forms during the pandemic of COVID-19. Although this might seems to be one of the most painful seasons of your life, don’t neglect the importance of upholding safety standards and continuing to worship God.
Fresh COVID-19 regulations have shut down temples, but not Nature.
Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently. 1peter 1:22
Don’t fear or panic
Importantly, do not worry. Although there are also false prophets who declare this virus as God’s verdict against any darkness, they think plagues humanity. It is important during this period that we remember that God is still supreme. He’s in charge. Nothing that is going on is a disappointment to him. Nor is it something that, for whatever reason, he has not allowed to happen. A cause that can only be revealed to himself.
Irrespective of what can happen to those around me, to my family, or myself, God is in charge, and you can definitely trust Him to achieve His perfect will despite whatever may come. This does not imply that you will not possibly feel pain or sorrow, but, as Paul said, “For the which cause I also suffer these things: nevertheless I am not ashamed: for I know whom I have believed, and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him against that day” (2 Timothy 1:12), and with that understanding, as Christians, we can be assured that he can take care of us.
Please show respect for our representatives of the government. It seems like many, even believers, love attacking our government and those who represent it. Today, some people are weeping that the government is responding too slowly or not forcefully enough to this crisis. Others are screaming out that the government is moving beyond its reasonable boundaries, demanding more and more control over regular people.
However, during this time, we should be in submission to our governments. Second, because Scripture instructs us to be in obedience to them (Romans 13:1), but just as significant, that the only known way to prevent this epidemic from spreading is to prevent us at a distance from each other. When we get together, we’re just making it grow even further, and we’re putting further people at risk who are vulnerable to this epidemic.
So, follow the directives of the relevant government. Keep your distance onboard. Clean your hands a lot. If necessary, stay at home. For those around you, be an inspiration.
Keep in touch often with your friends, family, and the Church.
One of the problems that many now face is being separated from others. If you are an introvert, this might seem less of a big deal. Yet extended separation can be very difficult for most people. Look for ways to keep in touch throughout this period. Nothing will substitute face to face communication and physical interaction, but we all live in a very connected world today. We can text, email, speak on the phone, make video calls, attend interactive worship services, read the Bible, and more. Of course, not everyone can do all that, but most of us can do at least some of it. So, take advantage of the technologies available.
Hang in contact with other people in the usual family and social circle. Have an attempt to get in touch with them and see how they’re going and inspire them. Look particularly at anyone who may be all alone. Get out to the older widows of your Church who live alone. They may be difficult to communicate with, but they need your contact.
Seek opportunities to help others
As usual, Christians should be open to chances to support those in need. It may be more daunting to assist with social distance and loneliness principles, but do not fail to help when the opportunity occurs. Some are highly prone to coronavirus, most likely among your neighbors. Perhaps you should do their shopping for them. Or theoretically help them protect the exterior of their house and grounds.
Take the chance to grow your own spirituality
You might find it difficult if you’re among the many who find yourself spending more time at home than you’re used to. If you are in that role, take advantage of the chance to invest more time in personal growth. You can read a novel. Explore an area you find fascinating to explore. Share time with your family. There are a variety of things you can do in your newly discovered spare time.
Perhaps the most important thing you can do is take advantage of the ability to develop spiritually. Christians also say that life is too busy to devote a lot of time to learning the Scriptures and praying. Although, if you are one of those “stuck at home,” this is an excellent time to engage in your spiritual life. Pray, learn more about Christ through the Bible, Meditate on what you’re reading. Seek the face of the Lord and His will for the sake of your soul. Don’t let this time go to waste, above all.
Rejoice and Offer Thanks to God
We all know that the loss of life and suffering caused by COVID-19 is devastating. Before it finishes its course, it would have certainly reached everyone in the world to one degree or another. As Christians, our answer does not need to portray the turmoil and distress that those around us are displaying.
We have a dream which transcends this world and our circumstances. We should rejoice, not in the horrific events happening around us, but in God who would use them to serve his role in our lives and this world.
In this season of night, be a sun. Let your light shine in such a way that it glorifies Heaven, leading others to find their hope and fullness in the one that completely transcends the hardships of this world.
“Rejoice evermore. Pray without ceasing. In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you. Quench not the Spirit” (1 Thessalonians 5:16-19).