From Today’s Bible Reading. Tuesday, Nov. 17

From Today’s Bible Reading. Tuesday, Nov. 17

Acts 22:25 (ESV): “Is it lawful for you to flog a man who is a Roman citizen and uncondemned?”

In this passage, the Apostle Paul calls on the legal authorities to do what is right in the sight of God and in the sight of the law.

Why can Paul make this appeal? According to protestant political theology, we understand that God has appointed rulers to exercise just law on behalf of the people. That means that they are accountable to God, the law, and the people.

Let me remind you of the spheres of authority that God has designated. We know these according to whom God has given clear and designated the commands.

First, God has given the home as the ministry of education, health and welfare. God has given the rod as a tool for discipline in this task.

Second, the church is the ministry of Word and ordinance (or sacrament). God has given the keys as a tool to include or exclude from the fellowship of the Word and table.

Third, the state is the ministry of justice. God has given the sword as a means of exercising just punishment.

Some want to add a fourth, that is really first, the responsibility of self-government to which conscience is the tool that aids us. Without proper self-government, none of the others will be effective.

Each sphere is accountable, as we have said, to God, the law (to do what they are commanded and not usurp another’s jurisdiction) and to the people they are given to serve.

Paul can confidently call on this right because it is true and given by God, even when Caesar fails to recognize it.

This is a good time to remember our theology. As Samuel Rutherford has said, “Truth to Christ cannot be treason to Caesar.” Tell the truth today. Live in truth today.