Explore the Bible Study and Video: Citizens

4:47 PM

How would you describe your view of local government? What do you value most about your local government? These are two questions asked this week in the Explore the Bible Study and Video: Citizens.

We live in unprecedented times in the United States due to the COVID-19 virus. These times have fueled the debates regarding how much the government should be involved in the personal lives of its citizens. We have observed protests at state capitols as well as shop owners refusing to close because of the quarantine. We have seen legal battles regarding government overreach with varied outcomes depending upon what part of the country in which you live.  We have all heard the news reports regarding some government officials forcing businesses and even churches to comply with government mandates by using threats and strong-arm tactics.

We should understand that we live in a broken world and we have been conditioned by this broken world to focus on the bad, but there are good things going on as well. Yes, we have all heard the stories of some governmental entities crossing the line; yet we have also observed good governmental leaders trying to do what’s best. Many government officials in the local, state, and national arenas are trying to make the best decisions for safety, while honoring personal rights and religious freedom. This is a difficult season for all due to what we are facing.  There are as many opinions regarding how far the government should go with policy and making laws as there are people in this country. Equally, there have been discussions regarding how people should respond, especially those who proclaim to be followers of Christ.

Twice in Romans 12, Paul emphasized that we should do good and avoid evil (verses 9 & 21). This statement was a part of Paul’s challenge for us to present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God; this is your true worship. (Romans 12:1, CSB) We discovered in last week's session that being a living sacrifice means we sacrifice our natural responses for godly responses. This takes daily effort as we continuously strive to be transformed by the Holy Spirit into  people who are holy and pleasing to God (12:2).

The way in which we respond to governing authorities is one of the most difficult areas of transformation for a believer. Our natural response to governmental authorities or governmental decisions that we believe are wrong might not align with how a believer should respond. This is what Paul wants to address in chapter 13.

We will see by Paul’s words that our challenges are nothing new. We live in a much freer society than did the people during Paul’s time. So, imagine their struggles as believers. Imagine trying to live your faith in a society that was controlled by evil Roman rulers. During the period in which Paul was writing, one of the vilest and most ruthless leaders ever to rule Rome was in power. His name was Nero Claudius Caesar Augustus Germanicus, also known simply as Nero.

The ideas give you a "script" for teaching online or sharing via email. They also include a long article on the topic, "When is Civil disobedience Allowed for a Christian?" that you could incorporate into your study.

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Consider sharing this link with your group if you are unable to meet online, or share it with your church members who aren't connected to a group. I have incorporated what I consider to be an excellent overview regarding how to respond to the government as a believer. The title of the video is, "When is Civil Disobedience Allowed for a Christian?" from gotquestions.org - https://www.gotquestions.org/civil-disobedience.html

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