It would be wonderful if the church approached the issues of salvation and sanctification with the same passion, wouldn't it? Can you imagine the effect on our neighborhoods, the nation, and the world if we focused our passionate feelings about masks and vaccinations toward the unsaved and those believers not growing in their relationship with Christ?
One side quotes.
Romans 13:1-6 NIV Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.
If you are on this side of the argument, do you always drive the speed limit? Do you come to a complete stop at a stop sign? Do you signal a lane change even when there is no one on the road? Do you report income from a garage sale?
The other side quotes.
Acts 4:18-20 NIV Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”
If you agree with this side, do you obey God all the time? Do you gossip? Do you talk about people who are not present?
I have read and seen enough throughout the Christian community to know that
Why do so many people speak in absolutes, when so many brothers and sisters hold the opposite position? Where is the grace?
I have spoken with enough pastors to know that mask and vaccination mandates are tearing churches apart. People including pastors are leaving their church.
For me here's the bottom line: obey your governing rulers, no matter who they are, but when the government tells you to do something that is contrary to God’s laws, then we cannot obey the government. God outweighs government. But are mask and vaccination mandates contrary to God’s laws (I am still looking for that verse) or are they a violation of my personal freedom?
Let’s start by quoting verse 1 as written in the NIV;
Romans 14:1 NIV Accept the one whose faith is weak, without quarreling over disputable matters.
Then Paul writes.
Romans 14:2-3 NIV One person’s faith allows them to eat anything, but another, whose faith is weak, eats only vegetables. The one who eats everything must not treat with contempt the one who does not, and the one who does not eat everything must not judge the one who does, for God has accepted them.
“One person’s faith requires them to wear masks and get vaccinated, but another, whose faith is weak, does not wear masks and is not vaccinated. The one who wears a mask and is vaccinated must not treat with contempt the one who does not wear a mask and is not vaccinated, and the one who does not wear a mask and is not vaccinated must not judge the one who does wear masks and is vaccinated, for God has accepted them.”
Romans 14:4, 7-8, 10, 12 NIV Who are you to judge someone else’s servant? To their own master, servants stand or fall. And they will stand, for the Lord is able to make them stand. For none of us lives for ourselves alone, and none of us dies for ourselves alone. If we live, we live for the Lord; and if we die, we die for the Lord. So, whether we live or die, we belong to the Lord. You, then, why do you judge your brother or sister? Or why do you treat them with contempt? For we will all stand before God’s judgment seat. So then, each of us will give an account of ourselves to God.
Paul also wrote about “weak” and strong” in another place.
1 Corinthians 8:9-12 NIV Be careful, however, that the exercise of your rights does not become a stumbling block to the weak. For if someone with a weak conscience sees you, with all your knowledge, eating in an idol’s temple, won’t that person be emboldened to eat what is sacrificed to idols? So this weak brother or sister, for whom Christ died, is destroyed by your knowledge. When you sin against them in this way and wound their weak conscience, you sin against Christ. (Emphasis mine)
Most of you who know me or have read my blogs know my position on masks and vaccinations but that’s not the point of this post. I am just the messenger of what is says in the Bible, the Word of God. The COVID pandemic has given Christians the greatest platform we have had in many years to show our others that we are different and that our hope is not in this world but in Christ.
When we argue and split over things that have nothing with our salvation we have failed.