Submission To The Authorities

1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.
Romans 13:1 (NLT)

In this article, I will look a topic, which many Christians are aware of but rarely take seriously. What does it suppose to mean? We shall study in detail.

The first part of the verse refers specifically on our submission to governing authorities. In short, it refers to governments. Please note that it does not say we should submit only to “Christian” governments. This verse was written when the writer was living in an empire ruled by non-Christians. This is relevant to the world we live in today because today there is no such thing as “Christian Governments” anymore. We can have Christians serving as presidents, prime ministers, ministers, lawmakers and civil servants but we do not have any “Christian Government”.

What can you expect from a government that is not Christian? They do not obey the rules of the Bible. God still expects us to submit to them.

In this article, I am going to analyze this issue into different subtopics with emphasis in Singapore system. In case some may wonder why would I choose Singapore, the answer is I live there. So, I know more about Singapore that other places.

Election
Submission to the government does not mean we must always vote for the same group. As citizens, we are free to vote for whoever we want. However, we must respect the results. The group that won the election is the authority placed by God even if they are not the ones you voted for.

Taxes
This is quite straightforward. Unless you are living in a country that does not collect tax, you have to pay tax. Being Christians do not exempt us from taxes. God expects us to pay tax and report our income truthfully despite the risk of having to pay more tax. We are not to resort to evade our tax obligations through illegal means.

However, this does not mean we cannot try to reduce our tax burdens through legal means. Governments usually offer tax reductions or breaks under specific conditions. We can choose to take advantage of them.

In short, pay your tax. If you want to pay lesser, do it legally.

Homosexuality
This issue was used to be very hot in Singapore. A few months ago, we have a group of women from a church ganging up to take over a secular NGO on the charge that this NGO had been promoting homosexual lifestyles. The deeds of these women had caused an outrage throughout Singapore and disgrace to all the Christians here. Many Christians like myself had spoken up to condemn their evil act. I thank God that these women were defeated.

The above is an example on how Christians can go out of line to impose their church teachings and doctrines to the country. Please note that in Singapore, Christians only make up to about 15% of the population. We can all understand that 15% do not have the right to impose their doctrines to the rest of 85%.

As Christians, we are aware that the Bible says homosexuality is a sin. At the same time, we should also realize that the Bible is not the law of the country. There is no secular system that says it is wrong to be a homosexual. In other words, Christians have no right to force others to accept our definition of right and wrong.

If there are churches out there that say God wants them to prevent this country from getting more tolerant to the homosexuals, I suggest these churches to remind their “God” that Christians only make up to 15% of the population and our legal system does not come from the Bible.

Being submissive to the government means acknowledging the fact that the government is not obligated to obey God.

Evangelism
Evangelism is an obligation for Christians according to the Second Layer Gospel. Many churches manipulate their members with guilt in order to get them to evangelize. I am familiar with their dirty tricks. I am glad God has set me free from them.

Having said that, there is nothing wrong with Christians doing evangelism but it must be done legally. Evangelism must not be done through immoral means. In Singapore, there is no law against evangelism. However, we also value our religious harmony. People of various religions and belief systems have been living peacefully for generations in this country. We even have Jews and Arabs here living peacefully.

So, the last thing we want is to have religious riots due to some idiotic Christians spreading their “good news” by insulting others’ religions. We have a case where a Christian couple was charged for posting tracts that insult Islam and said Catholics are not Christians. When they testified in court they even had the audacity to say they were doing their Christian duty. They even tried to use Christians’ tolerance to the movie “Da Vinci Code” as their license to insult others. As a Christian, I find their attitude to be sickening. I am glad the judge decided to punish them severely as a warning to other irresponsible Christians.

Submission to the government includes preserving religious harmony. The simplest guide is to do to others what you want others to do to you. Do you want others to insult your God? Do you want others to disqualify you from being a Christian? If you don’t, extend the same courtesy to others. God wants us to live in peace with our neighbors regardless of their religious affiliation.

It is never the will of God to start a religious riot.

Abortions
Many Christians will agree that abortion is killing unborn children. It is therefore wrong. If you ask me, I can also say the same. However, the situation can be very different for women who are facing difficulties like being victims of rape. Abortions were also performed to save the mother’s life. So, I will not be quick to condemn those who had chosen this option.

In Singapore, the law allows abortions under strict conditions out of mercy to women like rape victims. Some Christians groups have voice their disagreement to this policy but they are wise in not starting a holy crusade against it. Otherwise, they will be punished severely.

So, is this policy right or wrong? In my opinion, this is the best a secular government can do. A blanket ban on abortion is never a solution. As a society consists of imperfect people, we have to contend with practicality even if it involve some abortions.

By the way, whatever our policy in abortion, it has nothing to do with earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, plagues, terrorism or any form of disasters. I mention this because many irresponsible Christians had used abortions as the reason for disasters. Each time a disaster happens, there will be some idiots declaring that it is God’s judgement on the nation due to the abortion policy. It takes real idiots to believe in them.

Stem cell research.
This is another rallying point for the crusaders. The problem here is, the research uses fertilized human egg cells and kill them afterwards. If you define a fertilized egg as a human being then stem cell research is basically murder. Is that so?

Let me show you the scientific truth in this matter. Stem cell research does uses fertilized human egg cells but the researchers do not make those cells. Those cells come from the process of “fertilization”, a medical process to create pregnancy to women who could not get pregnant naturally. The by-product is the creation of redundant fertilized egg cells that will be destroyed.

Stem cell researchers simply “borrowed” these cells for research. The end result or the destiny of these cells does not change. If you want to call them humans, then the truth is these humans were bound to die with or without stem cell research. They will either going to be killed by the nurse in the fertilization process or by the lab assistant in the stem cell laboratory.

In short, banning stem cell research will not result in lesser killings. Therefore, stem cell research can hardly qualifies as a sin. I am glad that the Singapore Government has the common sense to continue with it despite the protest of some scientifically-challenged Christians.

At the same time, stem cell research is also unrelated to earthquakes, typhoons, tsunamis, volcanic eruptions, plagues, terrorism or any form of disasters.

Conclusion.
The above is not exhaustive. Regardless of whether we are Christians, we still live in this world and share this world with billions others. The era of Christians Governments are over. We live in world where governments are not Christians and therefore not obligated to obey what the Bible says.

The simplest guide is do to others what you want others to do to you. This is the truth we must always remember.

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The Word Of God Is Sharper Than The Sharpest Two-Edged Sword

12 For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest two-edged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.
Hebrews 4:12 (NLT)

In the above verse, we see how the Word of God describes itself. In this article, I shall look deep into these verses to discover the engineering properties of God’s word.

Verse 12 begins by describing the word of God is alive and powerful. In other words, it is not dead. It is alive and kicking. What does it mean? Surely, it cannot refer to the written word of God, which is the Bible. The Bible consists of paper and ink. In digital form it is nothing more than some electrons. Whatever the form, the written Bible is dead and inanimate. How can it be alive and powerful?

The truth is, Verse 12 refers to the word of God that are in our hearts. The words in the Bible are dead. They can only be alive and powerful when we read them and store them in our hearts through meditation and confession. Through meditation and confession, we develop faith. Faith is the tool that makes the word of God alive and powerful in our lives. This is how we make the word of God works in our lives. The truth that the word of God is alive and powerful is useless to us, unless we know how to utilize this power. Let me give you an example.

Consider the verse below.

9 You know the generous grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Though he was rich, yet for your sakes he became poor, so that by his poverty he could make you rich.
2 Corinthians 8:9 (NLT)

The above verse tells us that at the Cross, Jesus died poor to make us rich. This means all Christians must be rich. Yet, many Christians are still poor. Why is that so? 2 Corinthians 8:9 is an inanimate verse. By itself it can do nothing to help us. Our role as Christians is to plant it deeply into our hearts, develop our faith in it and use our faith to make it work out itself in our lives.

To make it simple, we have to believe this verse is true even if there are many poor Christians in this world. Jesus chose to become poor at the Cross to make us rich. In fact, this is the only verse in the Bible that speaks of Jesus’ poverty. Other parts of the Bible describe Jesus as being rich. Jesus never had to work for wages. He never begged nor manipulated his followers for money like what the theological preachers are doing today. He even had a disciple to carry his wallet from him. On the day he was arrested, the clothes he wore was so expensive that even the Roman soldiers had to draw lots for it.

Yet, Jesus chose to be poor at the Cross for us to live rich on earth. This tells us how committed Jesus was in wanting Christians to be rich. So, are you going to honor him by desiring to be rich? If you do, you should let 2 Corinthians 8:9 to seep deep into your heart and make it a part of you.

In doing so, you are effectively releasing the word of God that is alive and powerful in you. You will surely be rich.

Heretics like theologians and doctrine worshippers will do anything to rob us of our faith in order to stop the word of God from working to its potential. However, as long as we put our trust in God and not on the heretics, they can never stop us from receiving God’s best in our lives. He who is in us is greater than he who is in the world.

This is how we make the living and powerful word of God to work for us. As I have mentioned in my previous writings, God gave us his word to be our tool for our prosperity. Our role as believers is to take this tool and use it to receive what we want. This is the basis of Christian life.

The second part of Hebrews 4:12 tells us that the word of God is so sharp that it can separate our spirits and souls thus exposes our innermost thoughts and desires. This means there is absolutely no need to be politically correct to God.

What are your desires? What makes you truly happy? Do you want a lot of money? Do you want to fly in your own personal supersonic jet? Do you want your own personal island? Do you want your children to be successful? Do you want your marriage to be happy? If you are single, do you want to have the life partner of your dreams?

Whatever your desires are, God knows about them. Tell him directly and ask him to help you to achieve them. You do not need to sugar coat them to make it politically correct. God is not impressed with such hypocrisy.

Let me share a personal testimony in this issue. When I shared in this blog that I want to be rich to help the poor, a doctrine worshipper wrote in to cast doubt on my sincerity. The idea is, I may end up getting rich to live like a king instead of helping the poor. I rebuked this heretic by declaring that I am not ashamed in wanting to live like a king. God knows my heart. Therefore he must also be aware that I want to live like a king. However that does not mean I cannot have any desire to help the poor.

So, when I say I want to be rich to help the poor, I am not trying to con God into making me rich. God has already made it clear in the Bible that he wants me to be rich. I love to be rich. When I have a lot of money I can do anything I want. I can live like a king in a luxurious palace, take up PhD in engineering and learn Jeet Kune Do. I can also fulfill my desire to help the poor.

I am not using helping the poor as a cover to be rich. I desire to be rich. Period.

In conclusion, be honest with God. Stop wasting time being politically correct. Tell God what you desire and ask him to help you.