Pray For The Authorities

1 I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them.
2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.
1 Timothy 2:1-2 (NLT)

The above passage tells us that it is a good practice to pray for others. It does not mean that we cannot pray for ourselves. We can do that. In fact, God encourages us to pray for ourselves. At the same time, there is no loss for us when we pray for others. We can afford it. When we have the mentality of abundance, we will no longer be limited to meeting our own needs alone. We will look beyond our own needs to meeting the needs of others.

In short we can afford to help others through our prayers. In addition, praying for others will help to strengthen our mentality of abundance. It will only result in us getting richer. So, interceding for others costs nothing and yet able to benefit us in a huge way.

In Verse 2, we are told to pray for those in authority like the government. Please note that, Timothy was not living in a democratic country when he read this verse. Human rights did not exist at that time. By comparison with today’s democratic countries, Timothy must have lived under a very oppressive system. However, that did not stop Paul from advising him to pray for the government.

So, in today’s context, we should pray for our own governments regardless of whether it is good or bad. Even if you live in places like North Korea, Somalia or Zimbabwe God expects you to pray for those in power in your country. The question is why should we do that? The second part of Verse 2 tells us the reason. We are to pray for those in authorities so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

Let me explain further on what it means. No governments can be perfectly evil. There is always some good in it. Put it this way. A good government is better than a bad government. However, a bad government is better than no government. No matter how bad your government appears to be, it is still preferable than living in total anarchy.

When you are living in anarchy, you can never live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity. Anyone can break into your house and take anything you have. How are you going to live in peace? How are you going to get rich?

The best example I can think of is Iraq. Saddam Hussein is a bad leader. His government is corrupt and oppressive. One day, President Bush decided to invade Iraq to liberate the Iraqis from their oppression. Maybe he was hoping to have access to Iraqi oil as a reward. However, he made a fatal mistake. He did not install a replacement government immediately after he removed Saddam Hussein. The entire Iraq was thrown into anarchy. The previous regime was bad but at least it was able to maintain order some order in the country. After the American “liberation” there was no order at all. The situation became worse than before. This gave rise to local warlords who took advantage to fill in the power vacuum. The result is today’s version of chaotic Iraq.

The moral of this story is, be thankful for any type of government for their existence because it is still better than anarchy. This also tells is why God has not removed all the bad governments in this world. Their sudden removal without replacement will throw many countries into anarchy. There will be more suffering to the people. So, God is being merciful here.

Does this mean the situation will never change? The answer is no. There is something we believers can do and it is called prayers or intercession. We can change the situation by praying for our governments. Whatever they lack of, pray for God to bless them with. If you have a government that lacks compassion, pray for God to give them compassion. If they lack wisdom in managing the country, pray for God to give them wisdom. This is what our God wants us to do to them.

Having said that, it does not mean that we cannot vote for an alternative during election. When you vote, vote for the person you want but once the election is over, the person who wins will become the legitimate government in your country. Your role is to pray for this person.

This is what God wants us to do. When we obey, we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.

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Are The 10 Commandments Still Relevant For Christians Today?

8 We know that the law is good when used correctly.
9 For the law was not intended for people who do what is right. It is for people who are lawless and rebellious, who are ungodly and sinful, who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy, who kill their father or mother or commit other murders.
10 The law is for people who are sexually immoral, or who practice homosexuality, or are slave traders, liars, promise breakers, or who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching
11 that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.
1 Timothy 1:8-11(NLT)

Let me begin by specifying that the term “law” in the above passage refers to the Moses’ Law in which the famous 10 Commandments are a part of it. The above passage answers the question on whether Christians are still compelled to obey Moses’ Law like the 10 Commandments. If you are to ask any theologian whether Christians are supposed to obey the 10 Commandments, their theological answer is an absolute yes. According to the theologians, the 10 Commandments are relevant and applicable for Christians today.

Are they correct? The Bible tells us otherwise. The above passage tells us that the law is not for Christians today. Let us begin analyzing from Verse 8 to get the full message from it.

Verse 8 tells us that the law is basically good. We can say that everything from God is good. However that is not enough. Having a good thing is not enough. We need to learn how to use them correctly. A knife is a good tool but it can also be used to kill. Likewise, for the law. The law is not meant for everyone. Verse 9 tells us more about this.

The first part of Verse 9 tells us that the law was not intended for people who do what is right. Do you know what is right? I do and so do all the Christians who truly read the Bible. So, if you consider yourself as one of the Christians who read the Bible, you are one of us who know what is right. As such, the law is not intended for you. However, if you still insist on obeying it, you have committed blasphemy. Blasphemy is a sin.

Whom was the law intended for? The answer is recorded from the second part of Verse 9 to Verse 11. Let me list down the rightful recipients for the law. Here is the checklist:

1. lawless
2. rebellious.
3. ungodly
4. sinful
5. those who consider nothing sacred and defile what is holy
6. who kill their father or mother or commit other murders.
7. sexually immoral
8. who practise homosexuality
9. slave traders
10. liars
11. promise breakers
12. who do anything else that contradicts the wholesome teaching that comes from the glorious Good News entrusted to me by our blessed God.

If you are still wondering whether you should obey the law, go through the above checklist and see if you fit in any of them. If you find an item that fits you, then the law is for you. Otherwise, you are not allowed to obey the law.

Why is that so? To put it simply, the law like the 10 Commandments was never meant to a part of God’s plan for us. I don’t think you can find the law in heaven. I do not think there is any law in heaven that forbids the angels from killing each other. Why is that so? I am sure it is not a common practice for angels to kill one another. So, the law that forbids killing is irrelevant for angels because it is not their nature to kill. Having a law that forbids angels from killing each other is like having a law that forbids cats from barking.

Wherever you are right now, I am sure there is a national law that forbids murder and I choose to believe that you are not planning to murder anyone right now. My question to you is why not? Does your intention in not murdering comes from your fear of the law or is it due to the fact that you have no intention to murder in the first place?

The law that forbids murder is useless to those who have no intention to commit murder. It is only applicable to those who have the desire to commit murder. So, if you do not have the intention to kill anyone, you do not have to obey the law that says “no murder”. This law is irrelevant to you.

The same goes to God’s law. This is why God has list down the rightful recipients for his law. Only those who fit at least one item in that list are qualified to obey the law. So, when the theologians say they are obliged to obey the 10 Commandments, they must be right because they must have met the requirements in the list.

As for us Christians, the law is definitely not for us because we do not fit the requirements in the list. However, if you are a Christians and insist on obeying the law, you will have to do something to fit into at least one item in the list.

What is your choice?