A Law Abiding Citizen – Acts 25

by Pastor John Fredericksen

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It has been my lot in life to minister to a number of believers, who have a clear testimony of salvation and who also have strong anti-government sentiments. They speak often of governmental conspiracies. One of these believers specified that NASA knowingly causes huge weather swings, including droughts and hurricanes, by launching the space shuttle. These saints are vocal in criticism of the corruption and over-reaching hand of government. Their extreme response has often been to refuse to pay any income tax, apply for a driver’s license, or otherwise recognize any authority of the government in their lives.

When the Apostle Paul defended himself against false accusations during questioning by Festus, he said, “Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all” (Acts 25:8). Paul specified these things because, to strengthen their efforts to kill the apostle of grace, Jews who opposed his preaching of the Lord Jesus Christ frequently accused Paul of promoting an insurrection against Roman tyranny. In this text, and elsewhere, he strongly and specifically denied ever doing anything of this sort. In fact, even though there were terrible injustices, such as the common practice of slavery, oppressive taxation, and cruel Roman treatment, Paul never spoke out against these social issues. Instead, Paul stayed focused on spiritual ministry, and he actually taught believers to demonstrate respectful compliance to those in authority. He told the believers at Rome, “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…Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake…” (Romans 13:1-6). Peter also followed the same principle, writing, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme, or unto governors… For so is the will of God…” (I Peter 2:13-15 – see also vss. 16-17).

For the sake of the testimony of the Lord Jesus Christ, every believer should earnestly seek to be a law-abiding citizen. Regardless of any frustration with government officials, we need to be very measured in our criticisms. We represent Christ to a lost world and to other believers. How we do so will either enhance our ability to have spiritual ministry, or it will effectively neutralize it. Be conscious of this as your go through this day and be careful to exalt Christ.

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Start each day with short, devotional articles taken from the book Daily Transformation by Pastor John Fredericksen. As Pastor Fredericksen writes in the introduction:

"We welcome you, as you journey with us..., to not only learn information, but to benefit from examples of faith and failure, and seek to apply God’s Word to every day life. Together, let’s transition from only studying theories of doctrine, to applying God’s truths in a practical way every day. May God use these studies to help you find daily transformation."