Saturday, May 17, 2014

The Word Remains Forever: Day 18

I Peter 2:13-17 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
In this world, God has established what we call two “realms” within which he operates. The church is the first realm, and the government is the second. Both are instituted by God himself. But both have very different purposes. The church exists to proclaim the forgiveness of sins for Christ’s sake. It calls sinners to repentance and announces their redemption by the grace of God. This is what God is doing in the church.

But, because we live in a world of sin where people live in constant denial of God’s authority, God has established the government as well. It is there, not to grant forgiveness to sinners, but to keep sinners in check. It exists to threaten punishments to lawbreakers and to bestow rewards on those who are just and upstanding citizens (Romans 13:1-7).

Martin Luther described the work God does in the church as His right hand at work, and the work He does through the state as His left hand. But, it is the same God who is over both. Thus, as Christians, we can find great joy living in both realms! As we rejoice for our life in the church where God ceaselessly forgives our sins with His Word and sacraments, we freely go out into the world to love our neighbors by working for a better society. You might say we do all this in God’s hands.

Father, you have ordered this society with great wisdom and direction. Forgive me for not appreciating the place you have called me to live. I thank you for your provision over our nation. Bless our president and all our leaders. Teach them your will, O Lord. AMEN!

*The symbol on the top of this devotional stands for “Verbum Domini Manet in Aeternum.” It is a Latin phrase which means “The Word of the Lord endures forever.” This phrase, based on I Peter 1:24-25, served as the battle cry of the Lutheran reformers as it reminded them that God’s Word alone was sufficient to teach them God’s will. The symbol was on flags, banners, uniforms, and even swords as a sign of unity among those who suffered for confessing their faith in Christ alone. *

Pastor Bob


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