24 April 2020 Anno Domini, the Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide
1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, 2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. 3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. 4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3:1-7
There are two different kinds of principalities and powers – those of righteous government, and those of the dark Prince of the Air. The only legitimately instituted government is that which acknowledges the sovereignty of God’s government to which their laws and practices must conform. On the other side of that coin are those governments that deny God as Lord. They impose hard bondage on their people and justice is victim to their thirst for power and corrupt administration. The kind of government a people tolerates is precisely the kind of government they deserve. Free men will not bend the knee to tyranny nor accept the yoke of bondage to be placed upon their shoulders. Only a weak and unprincipled people will accept such government. Paul is not contradicting himself in the initial counsel of this text. He is well aware of the two forms of government to which I make reference.
Read Paul’s counsel in Ephesians: “10 Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might. 11 Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places. 13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.” The whole difference in the two major forms of government is spiritual – either Godly or satanic. There is a great Spiritual purpose in Godly government which conforms to the Commandments of God; and there is a great and demonic power to which ungodly governments conform. Over the centuries past, we have witnessed governments that have been righteous degenerate over time into total dictatorships. Sometimes the change is gradual, sometimes sudden as by revolution. But the underlying cause is the failure of the citizen to recognize that slow degradation in government and the subsequent loss of liberty. The fall of the German government following WWI is an example of the gradual loss of freedoms coupled with a growing boot-heel of evil oppression being imposed as good men and women slept. The Communist Revolution in Russia at the end of WWI is an example of that sudden change mentioned before. The Holy Russian Empire became the haven of devils and demons in a fortnight via the Communist Revolution in which less than 10,000 men were members of the Communist Party.
“1 Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work.” Men need to be reminded on a regular basis of their duties to God and country. One cannot be ready for every good work when his actions are dictated by a tyrant. Paul’s counsel has a double application – one to civil government, the other to the one’s conduct and allegiance to legitimate church government. Why do I use the term ‘legitimate’ often? Because Satan has a counterfeit for each form. He worms his way into civil government to turn Godly laws upside down and impose the most horrendously immoral laws imaginable. He does the same with church government. He knows the greed of men’s hearts, and he uses that to subvert them.
2 To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. Here the dual application still holds – to abstain from gossip and tale-bearing (either in the Church or in the civil society).
Do not be the cause of dissension or disunity either in civil society or the church. Pride overthrows justice in both. Totalitarian government grabs for everything simply because it is granted the power to do so by its subjects. The watchful citizen, and observant Christian, will be watchful for any excess of Church or government to abuse its powers. Many Christian churches have already been undermined and rendered spiritually sterile by wicked men who have taken the devil’s bait and over-reached their authority to administer honest episcopal oversight, and have instead become thieves and blasphemers for profit.
3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. We all were in the described category until we came to accept the Sovereignty of God over our lives. And we often succumb to those urges even now after salvation. The flesh struggles and wars constantly against the flesh. Thankfully, the hunger of the flesh is momentary, but that of the spirit is eternal. When the Church exerts its proper influence in any civil society, that society will experience a just and righteous government. When the church fails, the people are left to the whims of immoral magistrates.
4 But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, 5 Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; 6 Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; 7 That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The love of God toward man is not limited by the walls of the Church. The Christian religion has influenced the good of all mankind through its institutions created for their good. God has extended the blessings of grace to those to whom He desires. It was never any good works on our part that warranted such grace since grace cannot be earned – it is a free gift. That “washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost” is not an instantaneous result of salvation, but evidenced over time through the process of sanctification. Justification comes at the moment of adoption – sanctification comes over a life of spiritual study and experience. The Holy Ghost is constantly reinforcing our soul’s battle against the flesh. He is that silent voice mantled in the conscience which convinces of sin and its effects on ourselves and others.
By the way, please know that sin is not simply a matter between you and God. Sin stains the soul and feelings of all who love us – all who care for us – and even those who may be innocently offended by the results of our sin. Sin hurts everyone around us. The grace of God was granted us while we slept in sin and made our beds in hell. But suddenly, that grace penetrated our hearts with power and force – the Holy Ghost being the executive power in drawing us to Christ. We came to know the Love of Christ “Which he (the Holy Ghost) shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour.”
Most often have I mentioned the fact so virulently proclaimed in Romans, Ephesians, Galatians, and a variety of other biblical texts that testify to the fact that the sinner is, in fact, dead as a door nail before being drawn to Christ by the Holy Ghost. The dead can neither hear, see, nor repent. He must be called from the sleep of the sinner’s death to life in Christ. He is saved (JUSTIFIED) by that free gift of grace extended to him without a single effort on his part. “That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.” How can an alien to a kingdom be made an heir to the fruits of that Kingdom? He is made a citizen through the process of naturalization. In the Kingdom of God, that process is called ADOPTION. We are made sons and daughters of God by that process of adoption and and through no natural merit of our own.
Are you sons and daughters of the All High King? “3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ: 4 According as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will, 6 To the praise of the glory of his grace, wherein he hath made us accepted in the beloved.” Ephesians 1:3-6 According to a careful reading of this last text from Ephesians, what part did you play in God’s choice? Who made the choice to receive you and when? Who chose us to be holy and without blame? Did we make that choice or did God? Who made us accepted in Christ – did we make ourselves accepted any more than we could have created ourselves at the beginning? Please read the Holy Scriptures and study these matters before you answer.