I’m sure you also enjoy watching the home renovation shows on TV. The family goes away for a few days, a specialized building and renovation team come in, and when the family turns they can’t believe their eyes. There is a new, improved, better house and everyone’s happy, crying and hugging.
The Bible tells us that this is what’s going to happen to our world and universe. At a time in the future that only God knows, our present world and universe will be set free from its bondage to corruption and be totally renovated, renewed and transformed into what God intended it to be.
You probably have watched the news this week and seen the aeroplane crashes, the storms, the violent invasions, the violence, the sorrow and all the pain – and thought to yourself – the world is officially out of control. The Bible, however, tells us that the world is, for the record, not out of control; but continually being governed and directed by a sovereign God.
Lord of all
When we speak of God’s “sovereignty”, theologians also use the word “providence”. “Sovereign” means absolute ruler or someone possessing supreme or ultimate power. This is of course true of God – that’s why we call him “God”. By the term “providence”, we mean that because God is absolute ruler, he preserves and governs everything in the universe as well – including your life and circumstances.
Sunday 27 April 2014 was Freedom Day in South Africa and we remembered our first democratic election 20 years ago. The question as to how the Christian community should respond to the civil authorities has always been a burning question. In South Africa, while an immense amount of good has been done, we hear a lot about corruption in government, wasteful spending and the unwise, even illegal, use of state resources. What should our attitude be towards the governing authorities? Many Christians make fun of the government on Facebook, post defamatory pictures of the State President and ridicule the cabinet ministers in typical conversation with others. Is this right?
Romans 13:1-7 is a very controversial passage as it says that Christians should be subject to the governing authorities. This very passage has been abused in our own country. In the 1980’s Michael Cassidy, a fine Christian man committed to racial integration, had a meeting with the then president of SA, PW Botha. Michael Cassidy was representing the National Initiative for Reconciliation. PW Botha began the meeting by reading this part of Romans – meaning to imply that any criticism of the government was unchristian and unbiblical.
During the 1930’s and 1940’s the Nazi Regime came to power in Germany and it was their official policy to oppress and kill Jewish people and other minority groups. What were Christians to do? Sadly, a large portion of the church did nothing. Yet a minority stood up against the Nazis and many were imprisoned and executed for their opposition. Where they right in opposing the government?
Isaiah 45 is a very difficult passage for those who have a small view of God. Yet this same chapter is of great value to Christians. Isaiah teaches in this chapter that God is sovereign over all of nature and history, and nothing happens except as ordained by God.