We carry two passports. With one we submit to our government. With the other we submit to the King. Jesus made that clear when religious leaders tried to trap him: “Render to Caesar… and to God.. ”(Mark 12:17). The 2nd has priority: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), a statement from the disciples to religious authorities. Paul and Peter were good citizens. Paul used his citizenship to his advantage. He carried a Roman passport, gained from birth, that meant protection by the state. Honor was given even to a godless emperor.
A 2nd passport allows Christians to live without fear. We are not subject to the worries of those who only carry one passport and panic with things like a life-threatening virus. As Jesus said to Pilate, struggling to release him but afraid of the mob, “My kingdom is not of this world” (John 18:36).
People with only one passport do not know that our enemy is not the virus. So when Cameron told me he was 80% sure that he had it, I asked if he was afraid. He answered, “I am quite calm.” He could think of far greater fears, like coming against the King to whom he would give account for the way he lived. It isn’t easy for him and Shelby, 70% sure that she also has coronavirus, to think about leaving three children, but they know they are in the hands of a loving Father.
When the government tells us to stop meeting in groups of five or more, we can do that. Two or three qualifies for church. It’s the body, not the building! The government according to Paul is the appointed protector: “For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer” (Romans 13:1-7). So if they bring in the National Guard to keep people from looting, we are grateful, not angry.
High-stress times. Trips planned for a year have been cancelled, and people are losing jobs. Decisions are made from the top down that are changing the way we live–every day. What are we to do? What Jesus did under threat of death–we stay calm. This, like 9-11, could change our lives radically.
The end-times that Jesus and Paul spoke about will be far more stressful. This can get us ready for then. Let the Church rise up in the face of the unknown and let the known control our behavior–the love of a kind and all-powerful Father. When “then” happens, the government will flip out. A pagan world will be totally on board, and a beast will attempt to overtake the Lamb. Then the government will not be our friend.
I am 75, in the high-risk department. I would play it a little more risky, but my children want Karen and me around for a while, with number 15 grandchild due soon and no sign of slowing down. They have quarantined us in our home except for walks. Thank God for face-time! Read the sign on the front door and call us. We are inside praying for you to be strong and full of confidence, asking neighbors to say “yes” to Jesus and God to heal Cameron and Shelby. “Father, let revival come out of this and sweep a billion into the family–to give them a second passport!