“Oh, that’s Nice”

I often heard this polite blather when my mom bragged about her son the pastor. “Nice.” (i.e. But you better stay out of my face!) “I am happy for you.” (i.e. Glad you can be so easily fooled by that religious mumbo jumbo!) The great Jewish scholar Gamaliel gave this kind of lukewarm response; conceding that maybe there might be some truth to the claims of the Nazarene (Acts 5.33-39). He seems sophisticated, but the empty tomb just a stroll away shouts out his stupidity! People who think Jesus is merely nice are spewed out of His mouth. Tepidity will lead to terror. Gamaliel’s most famous student was hot with rage, proudly killing Christ-followers. And it was Saul of Tarsus, not his truth-avoiding teacher, who met the One he tried to destroy. Keep praying for your Gospel-angry friends! Their rage might just be prelude to their repentance.

2 R. 13’s in Tension

I had a Communist government official remind me Romans 13 commands Christians to obey the authorities. I replied that he was absolutely right and I endeavored to do so. What I wondered, but was afraid to ask, was if he was familiar with what Scripture says about government in Revelation 13 - some strong words for communists, capitalists, socialists - all those in authority. The grim truth is that Jesus and His Apostles – who commanded Christ-followers to respectfully obey civil authorities – were all unjustly executed by those authorities. God instituted government to promote order and peace. But the prince of this world has been allowed to use this divine tool for his godless agenda. No matter our passport, corruption, oppression, injustice, and even tyranny are sad realities in all our homelands. “…thy kingdom come, thy will be done, on earth as it is in heaven…”!

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