Be a great citizen of America but do so especially because of the desire to be a faithful Christian. In just a few days a major election will be held in this country. A wide array of reasons might be given as to why many consider the stakes to be particularly so high in this election. As important as the nation and politics are, Christians believe in a Sovereign King and a heavenly citizenship which transcend this world and that our values, words and actions here on earth are to reflect a higher, nobler and more eternal standard (Philippians 1:27; 3:20-21).
In the last blog, it was observed from 1 Timothy 2:1-7 how and why the people of God relate to “all” – especially to governmental leaders. This text speaks of praying for all (2:1-2), God desiring that all have the opportunity to be saved (3-4), Jesus dying for all (5-6) and the gospel being intended for all (vs. 7). There are some implications from this text well worth noting.
Christians Must Think Like Both Citizens of Heaven and as Missionaries on Earth (Colossians 3:1-2; Matthew 5:13-16). We have a primary obligation to honor God but we also think as missionaries here in order to reach people for God. The balance required can’t be emphasized enough. True godliness properly loves and honors God while expressing genuine concern for all. Just as missionaries to foreign countries immerse themselves in a culture and language in order to interact with and reach others, so should the people of God here. The whole context of 1 Timothy (and the New Testament) supports this implication.
Christians Lack Soundness to the Degree We Fail to Pray and to Care for All. The way we relate to others is a reflection of our overall spiritual health (or lack of it). 1 Timothy is something of a “church manual” on godliness and sound doctrine (cf. 1:3, 10; 3:15; 6:3-5). We will never look on the face of another human being who does not matter to God. How well we convey that matters to God! Do we truly honor the heart of God in our hearts as we deal with people?
Christians Must Take Care Not to Hinder the Gospel or to Besmirch the Church Jesus Purchased (cf. 1 Corinthians 9:12; Acts 20:28). It is especially worth considering that 1 Timothy is concerned about the reputation God’s people exhibit in a community (cf. 3:7; 5:14; 6:1). Are you a better American than a Christian? Does your sense of patriotism speak louder than your faith in Jesus? It’s not just what we say and do; it’s how we say and do it. 1 Timothy 2:2-3 uses three pairs of words that really give the rationale we should desire: (1) “peaceful and quiet,” (2) “godly and dignified” and (3) “good and pleasing to God.”
Christians Need to Be On the “Same Page” as God. 1 Timothy 2:1-7 begins with the words “first of all” or “of primary importance.” The matters discussed in 1 Timothy 2:1-7 are not matters of little or no consequence. If our faith in God does not properly display itself by the way we pray for and show concern to all people, doesn’t it undermine everything we really believe about God? We show our fellowship with God by the way we value and respond to others whether they are Christians or not.
In closing, allow me to take some liberties with Romans 8:37-39. “No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor elections, nor Republicans nor Democrats, nor Supreme Court Justices, nor COVID-19, nor societal ills, nor economic difficulties, nor height nor depth nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.”