In the book of Hebrews Christians are being persecuted. Punishment for following Jesus raised a question for them: Should they lash out at the officials who were hassling them?
Fast forward 2000 years. The legislature passes a law that seems to whittle away our first amendment rights. We are enraged and furious. How dare they do this! We’ll see them in court!
But what if political rights are a privilege and blessing from God, which we then receive with humble thanks? When we consider the whole gospel message, we are reminded that God in Christ gives me privileges that are much more than I deserve.
I am not saying we should passively accept it when our political rights are infringed, and do nothing. Rather, we can petition for redress while yet having a humble attitude rather than an aggrieved one of offended pride and entitlement.
The first amendment says “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; “
What if that were repealed?
Would we be boiling with rage …? and even taking up arms?……or would we see a stunning alternative: that we have better and lasting possessions that are even better than the government allowing us free exercise of religion. Here’s what Paul said:
Sometimes you were publicly exposed to insult and persecution; at other times you stood side by side with those who were so treated. You suffered along with those in prison and joyfully accepted the confiscation of your property, because you knew that you yourselves had better and lasting possessions. (Hebrews 10:33-34)
To joyfully accept having my property taken from me with no payment??? I must admit, that would be ridiculously hard for me! My natural reaction would be to feel super ticked. That shows me something, though. I think am holding to and insisting on my rights tighter than I should, instead of being thankful for them.
Does the Bible directly give us any political rights? I couldn’t find any, but here is the one guaranteed right that I can find in the Bible.
Yet to all who did receive him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God (John 1:12)
So we enjoy our first amendment rights but we hold them loosely. And we hold on very tightly to the privilege of being a child of God!