Queries about Civil Authority and the Christian’s Responsibility

Paul's Epistle to the Romans[The following are comments by Isaiah Boone Grubbs on Romans 13:1-7.]

1. How are the authorities that exist ordained of God?

The context shows that Paul has reference to the principles of government, no matter what the form may be. Government founded upon principles of right and eternal truth. If there were only one true form, we, as Christians, could live only under that form. We must conform ourselves to the principles of justice and equity no matter what the form of the government under which we live may be.

2. What is the limit of our obedience and subjection to the civil authorities? See Acts 5:28-29 and Daniel 6:7-10.

Wherever Civil Law conflicts with religious duties, the Christian ought to disobey it regardless of consequences. When the apostles were forbidden to teach in the name of Jesus, they paid no heed to the prohibition but filled Jerusalem with the doctrine of Christ, and when they were brought before the authorities to give an account of such violation, “Peter, and the apostles answered and said, We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:28-29). When there was established a royal statute under king Darius that for thirty days no one “shall ask a petition of any god or man” save of Darius; “and when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, (by the king) he went into his house (now his windows were open in his chamber toward Jerusalem); and he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime”—thus ignoring the decree of king Darius. His miraculous deliverance from the den of lions should encourage every Christian to ignore all laws that conflict with Divine Law.

3. How is the civil ruler a “minister of God to thee for good”?

Paul is not talking about men who pervert their offices, but those who enforce justice. If a ruler does not perform his duty he is disobeying civil authority and divine justice.

4. To what state of things do these instructions apply?

Wherever there is a settled form of Government. They would not apply in a state of revolution.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Paul’s Epistle to the Romans: An Exegetical and Analytical Commentary by Isaiah Boone Grubbs. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Walking by Faith, Not by Sight

Be Still My Soul

For we walk by faith, not by sight” 2 Corinthians 5:7 

The Lord’s coming will be like a thief in the night. It will be a total surprise for those who do not watch for Him. Even when we are watching, we are sometimes caught off guard by unexpected mishaps. It will often be a moment of “glory,” but it might be when we are tired or weak. They are humbling experiences, but they test the metal of our character.

God is glorified in our weaknesses, and His joy is our strength. There are days, moments, and seasons in our lives when God takes us by surprise. This surprise may feel like a big blow to our dreams, hopes, and expectations. We may not even be conscious of it at that moment, but often those big surprises require us to lay ourselves at His feet and surrender to Him and the unknown. At times, I just have to smile and shake my head! Of course, this is God’s plan and purpose for my days. It is then that I become aware that I must remove my thoughts of fear and trust Him, knowing in my heart without any hesitation, that this is His plan and the path that He has placed before me. I must conclude that God has different plans for us as the years unfold. It demands a lot of faith! Faith not in ourselves and our abilities, but faith in our Jesus who loves us and walks with us in the path of life, a path filled with His Grace.

Christians make a life-changing commitment to love and follow Christ but often fail to live in the fullness that God has purposed for them. On such occasions, we must recommit our faith. We must never forget that the only thing worth holding on to in our lives is our faith. We must choose to put our faith in Christ throughout our lives, trusting that He is the Author of good things and the Giver of life even when our lives are not going the way we have planned.

In Hebrews 11:1 we read,

Now faith is the assurance of things hoped for, the conviction of things not seen. 

There are times in our lives when things don’t look encouraging, when life is full and chaotic. We feel inadequate! But it is at this moment that we know and must be conscious that our faith is being put to the test even though we cannot see the purpose. It is hard to be confident in God while our path unfolds before us, and the circumstance or perhaps our mental state is bigger than we can imagine.

When the storms of life hit us, they almost always appear to be stronger to us than God’s Word. We cannot afford for a moment to allow our perceptions to control us! It can be very deceptive and damaging! So, my question is, what are we going to do when circumstances strike us, putting fear in our hearts? Where is our faith? God wants us to trust Him with all our mind, soul, and heart without hesitation. It is here that we must be of good courage, knowing that we must walk by faith and not by sight (2 Corinthians 5:7). It pleases our Father in heaven.

I find myself often asking God for the faith that I will need to trust Him in my life. And then I realize I must live in a state of humility amid my humanity. This is powerful! God intends for us to live in fellowship with Him. He wants me to trust His Grace because His Grace is sufficient for all I am lacking.

And He has said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for power is perfected in weakness.’ Most gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in me” (2 Corinthians 12:9). 

Walking by faith is not the easiest road to take. It may not seem to be a road that makes any sense from the outside, but there are so many blessings filled with God’s presence and faithfulness, building our faith stronger and stronger as we draw nearer and walk closer to Him, the Author of all good things.

As we walk this path of life, we must turn our hearts and fix our eyes on Him, even as we face the unseen, walking by faith alone. If we walk not by sight, our vision becomes much more focused.

And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who seek Him” (Hebrews 11:6). 

Is God asking you to trust Him perhaps today, with the assurance of things unseen? Remember, God gave His only begotten Son so that we may boldly live our lives, trusting Him instead of what is right in front of us.

May our Lord help us to walk our path of life by faith, trusting in His goodness and His Grace with that assurance of things unseen, believing that He is and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Be Still My Soul: A Collection of Essays about Finding Hope and Encouragement in the Face of Suffering and Trials by Luci Partain. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Though He Slay Me

Be Still My Soul

Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.” Job 13:15

Though He slay me, I will hope in Him.What powerful words Job speaks! Who would hope so much and still proclaim such trust after thinking that God had stabbed him? This is what Job models for us. This is exactly what God has instructed us to do through His Word. He wants us to trust Him even when we think He has stabbed us in the back. He wants us to receive our trials and suffering with faith and hope. There are so many blessings in our sufferings! Suffering perfects our faith.

In this you greatly rejoice, even though now for a little while, if necessary, you have been distressed by various trials, so that the proof of your faith, being more precious than gold which is perishable, even though tested by fire, may be found to result in praise and glory and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ; and though you have not seen Him, you love Him, and though you do not see Him now, but believe in Him, you greatly rejoice with joy inexpressible and full of glory, obtaining as the outcome of your faith the salvation of your souls” (I Peter 1:6-9).

So often, we question ourselves, but then others also doubt us when they see us suffering as in the case of Job. They wonder why this is happening to us. We are overwhelmed with many questions! Why won’t God let me get pregnant? Why won’t God heal my child? Why did my loved one die? Why did my spouse leave me for someone else? Why did my friend marry so much better than I did? Why am I lingering in so much loneliness and pain? What is wrong with me? Is it disobedience in me or some hidden sin that I need to repent of? Is there a lesson I need to learn? The questions are numerous. Job’s example reveals to us that these kinds of questions miss the point of what truly is going on. Of course, when we find ourselves amid our long-term suffering, we tend to react this way, missing out on the importance of our suffering.

Job did not need to learn any lesson when he was chosen to suffer, though he surely learned some valuable lessons along the way. God was not trying to correct any flaw or sin leading Job to repent. It was God’s testimony about His heavenly rule. It was about silencing Satan.


Job’s suffering seems a bit unfair, maybe even wrong. For God to let Satan stretch out his hand against all that belonged to Job does not seem right. But we must remember that God restrains Satan in what he might do in our lives. We must see Satan’s limitations. Although it may seem that God was unfair to Job, there are many things that we do not understand. Nevertheless, we must cling to the God of all Scripture. He is good, righteous, loving, longsuffering, steadfast. We must always remember God’s ways are not our ways. If God allows Satan to tempt us, all Satan does will be calculated for our own good. It will work out for our good. 

And we know that for those who love God all things work together for good, for those who are called according to his purpose” (Romans 8:28).

We must learn like Job to know our own insignificance compared to God, the Great I AM. Remember, God never answers Job’s questions. Instead, He questions Job. But Job does not complain. He repents. Job admits his failure in speaking of things he could not know or understand. In the same way, we must acknowledge and accept that God is God, and we are not. We must learn with God’s help that we cannot fathom all His ways, but we can trust Him!

Consider God’s purposes in our sufferings: 

  • Suffering increases our consciousness of the power, sovereignty, and sustenance of our Almighty God, Psalm 68:10. 
  • Suffering is used by God for our refining, perfection, strength, and to keep us from falling, Psa. 66:8-9; Heb. 2:10. 
  • Suffering allows Jesus to be manifested in our mortal flesh, 2 Cor. 4:7-11. 
  • Suffering weakens us, making us dependent upon God, 2 Cor. 12:9. 
  • Suffering teaches us humility, 2 Cor. 12:7. 
  • Suffering makes known to us the mind of Christ, Philippians 2:1-11.
  • Suffering teaches us character and Christlikeness, Rom. 5:3-4; Heb. 12:10-11; 2 Cor. 4:8-10; Rom. 8:28-29. 
  • Suffering teaches God’s discipline for us, for our good, so that we may share in His holiness, Hebrews 12:1-11. 
  • Suffering can help us learn obedience and self-control, Heb. 5:8; Ps. 119-67; Rom. 5:1-5; James 1:2-8; Phil. 3:10. 
  • Suffering for others can demonstrate the abundance of joy and love, 2 Cor. 8:1-2,9. 
  • Suffering is part of the struggle against evil men, Psalm 27:12; 37:14-15. 
  • Suffering is part of being worthy of the kingdom of God, 2 Thes. 1:4-5. 
  • Suffering is the struggle against injustice, I Peter 2:19. 
  • Suffering is sharing in the sufferings of Christ, 2 Cor. 15; I Peter 4:12-13. 
  • Suffering teaches us endurance so that we may win our crown, eternal life, 2 Cor. 4:17; 2 Tim. 2:12.
  • Suffering binds Christians in sharing with the needs of the saints with a common purpose, Philippians 4:12-15. 
  • Suffering teaches us God’s statutes and brings us back to the way of God when we go astray, Psalm 119:66-67,71. 
  • Though we suffer for our sins, our broken and contrite spirit pleases God, Psalm 51:16-17. 
  • Suffering helps us to focus on our hope, the salvation of our souls, the grace that will be brought to us when Jesus is revealed, I Peter 1:6, 13. 
  • Suffering produces humility in us, I Peter 5:6-7. 
  • Suffering helps us to number our days, Psalm 90:7-12. 
  • Suffering is necessary to win the lost, 2 Tim. 2:8-10; 4:5-6.
  • Suffering strengthens us by allowing us to comfort others, 2 Cor. 1:3-11. 
  • Suffering is nothing compared to the value of knowing Christ, Phil. 3:8. 
  • Through suffering, we can know God’s Truth, Psalm 51:6; 119:17. 
  • Suffering is part of proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus, 2 Tim. 1:7-8, 4:16-18.
  • Suffering teaches us thanksgiving and joy, I Thes. 5:18; 2 Cor. 1:11.
  • Suffering gives us hope, Jeremiah. 29:11; Job 13:14-15. 
  • Suffering reveals God’s care for us, Psalm 56:8.

With all these lessons learned from suffering, let us never forget that Jesus, the Man of sorrows, was very acquainted with grief and suffering. Our Lord Jesus modeled for us endurance in suffering. Most importantly, His perfect suffering made it possible for us to have redemption through Him. He endured the cross and the curse for us. For the joy that was set before him, Jesus despised the shame, but He sat down at the right hand of the throne of God, Hebrews 12:2. So we must share in His sufferings, Matt. 26:36-46. Jesus trusted His Father in the garden of Gethsemane. He had to finish and face His worst fears becoming the Man of sorrows for our souls’ salvation. Let us purpose in our heart, soul, mind, and strength to walk like Jesus and Job, who trusted completely in God in times of deep suffering and despair. 

It is remarkable to me that although Job was stripped of everything in this life, he still trusted in God. Job held unto his faith! He put his hope only in God! God gives, and God takes away. Blessed be the name of God! Anyone who has had to endure deep suffering like Job and Jesus can recognize these moments in their journey.

Though He slay me, yet will I trust Him!

May our Lord help us to meditate with wisdom on God’s purpose in our sufferings and various trials. May we consider them all joy, knowing that the testing of our faith produces endurance to be complete, lacking in nothing. May our Lord help us to persevere under sufferings and trials. May we be approved of God and receive our reward in heaven, our crown of life, which our Lord has promised to those who love, believe, trust, and obey Him. To Him be the glory. Amen

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Be Still My Soul: A Collection of Essays about Finding Hope and Encouragement in the Face of Suffering and Trials by Luci Partain. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Being Hardworking vs. Being Too Busy

Social Issues

God’s people are to be hardworking/industrious – The wise man wrote, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with all your might…” (Ecclesiastes 9:10). Because of the uncertain nature of life, he later spoke of the need work “in the morning” and “not be idle in the evening” (Ecclesiastes 11:6). The apostle Paul said that Christians are to “work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men” (Colossians 3:23). Even those without an employer – such as housewives – were to be known for their hard work (1 Timothy 5:13-14).

We are also to make time for what is important – We are not to “[forsake] our own assembling together, as is the habit of some” (Hebrews 10:25). We are to make time for Bible study (2 Timothy 2:15) and prayer (1 Thessalonians 5:17). We also have responsibilities as spouses, parents, and children that require our time (Ephesians 5:22-6:4).

If we are too busy, we can fail to make time for God or spiritual things – In the parable of the sower, Jesus warned that the “worries and riches and pleasures of this life” can choke out the word and leave one unfruitful (Luke 8:14). He later described a rich land owner who lost his soul because he was too busy with earthly labors to focus on spiritual things (Luke 12:16-21). Felix listened to Paul’s preaching but dismissed him until he could “find time” to consider it further (Acts 24:25). We need to make the most of our time, but being too busy to think about spiritual things is not a wise use of it.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Social Issues: Learning about and Dealing with the Problems of the Present Age by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

Basic Bible Principles Related to Racism

Social Issues

All men are made in the image of God – When God created man in the beginning, He said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness… God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them” (Genesis 1:26-27). However, this did not apply only to the first man and woman (Adam and Eve); this applies to all men since that time, even today (cf. Genesis 9:6; James 3:9).

All men descended from one man – When Paul was speaking with the Greek philosophers on Mars Hill, he told them about the “unknown God” (Acts 17:23) – the true, living God of heaven. He explained that God “made from one man every nation of mankind to live on all the face of the earth” (Acts 17:26). Since everyone came “from one man” (Adam), the different races and tribes of the earth did not evolve in different ways from lower life forms. That means that all people – regardless of race, ethnicity, etc. – are inherently equal.

All are one in Christ and Jesus died for all – Not only are all inherently equal by virtue of the fact that they were made in God’s image, there is also equality with regard to their spiritual identity as the people of God in Christ. Paul wrote, “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free man, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus” (Galatians 3:28). Just as Jews and Greeks (Gentiles) could be one in Christ, people everywhere can be one in Him today as well. Jesus was sent to die on the cross because “God so loved the world” (John 3:16), not just a certain race.

God does not show partiality – When Peter came to the household of Cornelius (a Gentile), the gospel had not yet been preached to the Gentiles. Yet through the events described in that chapter, Peter came to understand that “God is not one to show partiality, but in every nation the man who fears Him and does what is right is welcome to Him” (Acts 10:34-35). God was willing to accept all people if they would fear and obey Him.

We are to show love for all men – As God shows no partiality, we must also show no partiality (James 2:1, 9). Therefore, Paul told the brethren in Thessalonica that they were to “increase and abound in love for one another, and for all people” (1 Thessalonians 3:12). Just as no one is excluded from the love of God, we are to show love for all men, regardless of race or ethnicity.

The above post is an excerpt from the book, Social Issues: Learning about and Dealing with the Problems of the Present Age by Andy Sochor. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!