4/9/20 – by Dave Palcsak and Eric C. Wheeler

These are perilous times indeed. How do we – as members of the body of Christ – react to our current worldly predicament? The Apostle Paul wrote: “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God” (Rom. 13:1). But Acts 5:29 also tells us, “We must obey God rather than men”. Obviously, our goal is to obey both of these Scriptures concurrently. There came a time for Peter and the apostles, as well many others, when that became impossible. We have to accept the fact that as Christians the same may eventually be true for us. We may very well one day be faced with that same decision: Obey God or obey man.

The New Testament assures us that we are all members of the same body (I Cor. 12:12). Different members have different functions just as a kneecap doesn’t do what the nose does. We are all on the same team – for Jesus said, “Whoever is not against us is for us” (Mark 9:40). But as Scripture also reminds us, at any given time, we are not all at the same place faith-wise or experience-wise, and we have to allow for those differences (see Rom. 14:1-23; 15:1-7; I Cor. 8:7-13).

If your measure of faith demands that you remain quarantined in your house out of love for your neighbor and respect for the law, that’s great. On the other hand, if your measure of faith requires that you adhere to the biblical admonition “to not forsake the assembling of yourselves together in fellowship” (Heb. 10:25); and that you visit the sick to heal them both spiritually and physically, then that’s great too! But the important thing is, as the Apostle Paul says – we are NOT to judge one another in what our own individual consciences and faith allow; and that we don’t put a stumbling block before a brother or sister who is less mature in their faith (Rom. 14:1-23; 15:1-7; I Cor. 8:7-13); because “whatsoever is not of faith is sin” (Rom. 14:23).

However, we know from God’s Word that a time is coming when so-called brothers and sisters will kill believers claiming that it is in society’s and the Lord’s best interest (John 16:2). As of today, the quarantine restrictions currently placed on corporate worship are understandable to pretty much everyone. What if that changes? What if the mandate escalates? What if the state orders believers to quit assembling altogether? Then what do you do? If you feel compelled to obey the state on that directive, no problem. But here’s what you must NOT do: turn on your brothers and sisters who are following His Word literally. The Bible teaches the principle that “those who keep the camp receive the same reward as those who go to battle” (I Sam. 30:24). Both are on the same team – therefore those who keep the camp must not betray those going to battle, and vice versa.

“God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind” (II Tim. 1:7). Psalm 91 reassures us that as Christians we don’t need to fear the pestilences that come upon the earth (Psa. 91:2-6). And God has promised us that in Him no weapon formed against us shall prosper (Isa. 54:17). We understand, however, that not everyone is at the same place in their faith walk; and that these Scriptures might stretch some brothers and sisters in their ever-growing faith. Regardless of where we are in our walk with Christ, the Scriptures are clear that we simply cannot allow fear to drive a wedge between brothers and sisters. Jesus warned us that in the coming days the love of many would grow cold, and that many would become offended and will betray one another. And that if it were possible, even the very elect would be deceived (Matt. 24:10-24).

The Bible assures us that in Christ whether we live or die, we are the Lord’s (Rom. 14:8). And it even goes further to say that it is actually FAR BETTER to depart and be with the Lord than to be here (Phil. 1:23). We Christians need to firmly believe that our home is not of this realm because “if in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable” (I Cor. 15:19). Christ is risen! He is alive and very much at work. We shouldn’t let society or others therefore dictate our faith in Him. We must stand on the Word of God. Everything else just gets in the way. Do not be self-reliant, be God-reliant! This is a hard message but please take it as encouragement. The times we are living in are scary, but we must be spiritually prepared for battle (see Eph. 6:10-18).

If you toss a frog into boiling water, he will immediately jump out. If you put him in a warm pot, he will relax and before you know it – barbecued frog legs are on the dinner plate! Satan is very crafty. The water isn’t boiling; but brothers and sisters, we do see the pot on the stove slowly heating up!


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