Mankind stands in constant need of being reminded – of the way things ought to be; of the way life ought to be lived. Never in our lifetime has the need to be reminded been more obvious. It seems that on every level of society we have forgotten the basics of responsibility, behavior and morality. More than once in Scripture, we are admonished to know “wherein we stand” (Rom. 5:2; 1 Cor. 15:1). Unfortunately, it seems as if we have forgotten.
Our attention is called to the many times New Testament writers had to remind early disciples of the need to follow the Godly principles of living in which they had been instructed. One such reminder is found in 2 Peter1:12,13 where Peter states: “For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you.” Consider the broad list of spiritual truths relative to our nation, the Lord’s church and individual behavior which our generation has apparently forgotten and of which we need to be reminded.
Proper Role of Government
Our current generation of political leaders need to be reminded that there is a Divinely prescribed role of government. The New Testament is not a civics textbook and has not specified the daily operating procedures of government. Yet, there are passages that describe the general nature and function of government. One of those passages is Romans 13:1-7. The thrust of this passage is a reminder to Christians to submit to the authority of government. (also see Titus 3:1 and 1 Peter 2:13). However, the text also points out certain responsibilities of government.
Government officials, for example, must realize “the authorities that exist are appointed by God” and are to act as ministers for good. According to 1 Timothy 2:2 it is the duty of government to establish and maintain a social environment conducive to Christians “leading a quiet and peaceable life.” The other side of this coin reveals that government is to “punish evil works”; “execute wrath on him who practices evil” and “not bear the sword in vain.”
It is obvious that a large number of our morally misguided leaders are seeking to establish the exact opposite of what we’ve just described. Good things and good people are being punished while evil is being promoted and championed.
An obvious example of our government’s support of evil can be seen in the wanton slaughter of innocent, unborn children. There is an estimated 1.3 million abortions each year, including the Nazi-esque procedure of partial birth abortion. All of this bloodshed is protracted for convenience and profit, and all under the protection of our nations laws.
The practice of homosexuality, another pernicious, unnatural and condemnable behavior (Gen 19:4-5, 12-13; Lev 20:13; Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:9), has become – together with abortion – a “sacred cow” in our society. Our nations political leaders as well as many of our nations religious leaders have been cowed into silence on the issue (except when speaking out in favor of it). On the other hand, anyone who believes in and seeks to defend what the Bible clearly teaches on the subject are disparagingly called “homo-phobes.” How long will it be before our leaders take the next logical step and we see the long arm of the law reaching into our churches, closing our doors, silencing our pulpits and imprisoning us because of our Biblical stand for the truth?
Our government also stands in need of being reminded of its duty to “punish the evil” and “not bear the sword in vain.” The old adage “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing” (attributed to Adam Burke), applies particularly to government for it is the express duty of government to punish evil. When punishment is not just and swift criminals and crime will flourish.
Furthermore, the phrase “bearing the sword” according to most Biblical scholars is a specific reference to administering the death penalty. Taking 25 years to execute a person convicted of first degree murder is itself a miscarriage of justice, as well as a failure to obey Rom 13:4.
National and local leaders need to have the courage to punish criminals, justly and swiftly, and should be more concerned about being Biblically correct than politically correct – more concerned with what God thinks rather than man. Our nation is being ill-served by leaders who will not fulfill their God given role in these areas. Our nations’s unrighteousness is a disgrace and will ultimately bring down God’s righteous judgement (Prov 14:22; Psalm 9:15-17).
The Proper Role of the Church
All who consider themselves to be members of the Lord’s church stand in need of being reminded of the proper role of the church in the world. The primary work of the church is that of teaching the lost and converting them to Jesus Christ. (Matt 28:19-20). Following through on this simple purpose will result in the world once again being changed by the gospel (Col 1:6). Unfortunately, however, that purpose has been compromised and the church has been changed by the world. Many churches, in a misguided effort to attract more members have decided to “give ‘em what they want” in terms of entertainment, recreation, social programs and political activism. The church will never be successful in changing the world until it reclaims its Divinely appointed role and identity as the “pillar and ground of the truth” and goes back to giving the world what it needs instead of what it wants.
The Proper Role of Marriage
Our generation needs to be reminded that the institution of marriage was not designed exclusively to provide pleasure for its participants. The identity, structure and function of marriage has been commandeered by a society in search of nothing deeper or more meaningful than personal pleasure and free sexual expression that at times is even bizarre and deviant in nature. However, marriage and the family, as designed by God, was intended for a higher purpose. Ephesians 5:22-23 points out that in marriage a husband and wife share a love that is patterned after that of Christ and His church. Our marriages, in keeping with this divine standard, should reflect the highest degree of love, devotion, care and sacrifice. Hebrews 13:4 goes on to remind us that the marriage relationship must not be compromised by sexual immorality.
Also, the Scriptural marriage between a man and woman forms the foundation of the family. The presence of children in a home places upon parents the responsibility of bringing those children up in the “training and admonition of the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4). The same passage tells us that children should honor their parents, but how is this possible if parents are not behaving in an honorable fashion? Children are also to obey their parents. But how is this possible if the example of obedience is not set by mom and dad?
The Proper Role of the Individual
We must all be reminded of the divinely given duty of being personally responsible for our actions. 2 Cor 5:10 drives this point home as it describes a judgement that will be personal in nature. “For we must all appear before the judgement seat of Christ, that each one may receive the things done in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.” Such passages should remind us to accept the mantle of personal responsibility each and every day of our lives. We must not go through life blaming our faults and failures on others or expecting someone else to carry our load (Gal 6:5). If God will one day hold us individually responsible for how we have lived, we must begin now to prepare for that day by accepting personal responsibility for our own thoughts, words and actions.
In one way or another and to one extent or another, we all stand in need of being reminded of our duties and responsibilities before God. From the president of our nation to the youngest child among us, we all have responsibilities that we sometimes forget or overlook. Thus, a kind, yet serious reminder is a good thing. “Therefore, I remind you to stir up the gift of God which is in you” (2 Tim 1:6).