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  • sonnyholmes

Here's a Bible text that causes some confusion and trepidation in those who interpret it. Being subject to governmental authority raises many questions in a multi-layered government system like ours. At the time the Apostle Paul wrote his epistle to the Romans it was an oppressive, evil empire. He told them to be submissive to it.

Of course, Romans 13: 1-7 isn't about government. No where does the Apostle define good or bad government. The text of these verses is about God's faithfulness and our trust in him. Paul affirms that every existent ruling system functions because God has permitted it. Catch the drift of the text---

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,4 for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Romans 13: 1-7, ESV

My problem in doing the right thing are the many human preferences that guide me. You know, being a conservative, evangelical Christian, a Republican to boot, means that I'm somewhat out of sorts when the electorate chooses the other aisle for national leadership. Dr. Anthony Fauci is the chief medical advisor to our current President, Mr. Biden. I don't know him or much about him. But he is a national spokesman and medical leader right now. Harriet and I decided to take the Covid-19 vaccines because Dr. Fauci, and the other leading medical officials of our nation recommended it. Based on Romans 13: 1-7, they are in their positions of leadership because God allowed it. For us, taking the vaccine was trusting God in the belief that these many government authorities are functioning for the common good.

You certainly may interpret these verses differently. But, for us, taking the vaccine was our response to God's ordering of things in 2021.

Tomorrow, let's talk about the common good. Blessings all.

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  • sonnyholmes

OK, so let's get ornery about our responses to the Covid-19 virus. You know the drill---take the vaccine shots, yea or nay? Wear a mask when we're out and about? Practice social distancing? Wear a gas mask? Quarantine? I mean, it's all a government conspiracy anyway, big brother trying to control our lives, right? Not me!!!

Yes, I get it. Over the years most of my age cohort, the boomers, have adjusted our lives to actions thought necessary by health professionals. So, we were inoculated against polio, took vaccines for the measles, mumps, meningitis, chicken pox, pneumonia, and so many other ailments. Today every trip to the doctor or pharmacy takes me to current vaccine checklist, shingles being most prevalent for us older folks. It's really never been a problem, this vaccine thing. But, now, we have to blame somebody for the latest health scare and we're suddenly suspicious of those seeking safety from this virus.

Harriet and I have both experienced Covid-19. We have both experienced cancer, chemotherapy, radiation treatments, and recovery. Covid-19, in my particular case, was worse than anything before. But, afterward, we decided to take the Covid shots. Now, please know that this decision was ours and we made it without passing judgement on the people who have decided not to. Our reasoning was based on two Biblical realities that challenged and comforted us. Now, be sure to know that we're not two immature dolts wandering in the never-never land of naivete. No, we're seasoned seniors who gave these things serious thought and prayer. Two biblical truths overshadowed the popular line---

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Romans 13: 1, ESV

Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor.

1 Corinthians 10: 24, ESV

OK, ease up. The government hasn't pronounced laws regarding Covid-19 treatment. Well, maybe in New York. But, the medical world has advised about taking the preventive vaccine and we thought that best. Just the same, we're around many older Americans and family members. We don't went to be carriers of this virus to them. So, there you go. And, know that we don't think we're better than anybody. I'm just sharing our thoughts.

Tomorrow? I'll give more attention to the two Scripture passages listed above. Join me please.

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  • sonnyholmes

Last week while sitting on the beach at Garden City, South Carolina, I was reminded of the limits of human knowledge. Every day thunder clouds and storm systems threatened rain, lightening, and the sounds of summer time weather. The weather predictions changed almost every hour. You see, we just don't know everything. Our knowledge is limited.

Scripture reminds us that God has not revealed everything to our species. With our science and advanced technology we can certainly know more today than at anytime in history. Surely God has given us mortals vast capacities of education, research, and scientific study. But not everything. Scripture attests the genius of mankind, our ability to calculate, reason, draw conclusions, and learn. Still, there are limits---

The secret things belong to the Lord our God, but the things that are revealed belong to us and to our children forever, that we may do all the words of this law.

Deuteronomy 29: 29, ESV

Look among the nations, and see; wonder and be astounded. For I am doing a work in your days that you would not believe if told.

Habakkuk 1: 5, ESV

Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

Romans 11: 33, ESV

God's ways are unsearchable. Which brings me to right now in history, the maze of ideas, science, and our tendencies under the continuing mystery of Covid 19. Yes, the Corona Virus has stumped us in many ways. Masks, vaccines, social distancing, contagion, and many other aspects of this new infectious agent leave us guessing, arguing, and avoiding ways of combating

That's the deal this week, thoughts on how we must navigate life in this new world of this unwelcome invader. Join me as we give thought to the many avenues we may take to function in this strange new world.

Up front, though, remember: we don't know everything.

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