Foundational Beliefs

Objective Principles, not Sacred Cows:
Rather than holding any dogmas as unquestionable or "sacred cows," 4Winds instead holds to a set of ten interpretive principles which drive our ongoing pursuit of TRUTH:

I. The original prophetic Scriptures are "God-breathed," completely accurate & harmonious, never contradictory.
II. The Scriptures are sufficient to fully equip the man of God. There is no other reliable source of truth.
III. The grammar of the original languages must not be violated, but it's nuances allowed to guide interpretation.
IV. Interpretation must be from within the historical setting and context; Scripture must not be used beyond its intent in that context.
V. While metaphors and allegories are often used, literal interpretation should take precedence by default whenever it makes sense.
VI. The Apostles' explanations must always be followed to unlock and explain the mysteries concealed in the Old Testament.
VII. Interpretation must be progressive; newer revelation compliments and explains older revelation, never contradicts it.
VIII. Reject all illogical reasoning including all doctrines that require holding mutually exclusive ideas or illogical conclusions.
IX. Make sure that all doctrinal conclusions are consistent with God's revealed character and with all other acknowledged doctrines.
X. Whenever possible, trace modern doctrines back to the source to see when, where, why, and how they originated.

These ten principles are intended to remove personal bias and faulty presuppositions derived from tradition or an unbiblical world view. They are similar to the objective principles used in empirical scientific investigations and in the courtroom. Paul wrote that we must "test all things, hold fast to that which is good." Yet this can only be done honestly when we are completely unbiased. The consistent application of these principles has gradually led us away from what is considered mainstream Evangelical Christianity (which carries a great deal of theological baggage from Roman Catholicism) towards a more pristine form of Christianity. Our goal is to discern, understand fully, and then hold tightly to what Jesus and His Apostles actually taught, then to live our lives accordingly. Because we have embarked on a path less travelled in our dogged pursuit of Truth, and do not embrace some of their own sacred cows, we are usually rejected by most mainstream Christians. But we take comfort in knowing that Jesus, the Apostles, and the early Christians were also rejected by mainstream religion in the Temple and in the synagogues. So we follow Paul's exhortation: "Therefore let us go forth to Him, outside the camp, bearing His reproach. For here we have no continuing city, but we seek the one to come" (Heb. 13:13-14). Our goal in the pursuit of Truth above all else is to be a people prepared for our returning King. The following points of doctrine are the current results of the application of our progressive search for Truth over several decades following the above interpretive principles:
The Bible:
The 66 books of the Old and New Testaments were inspired by God and free from all errors in their original autographs. The Bible is the sole source of infallible truth today, and is sufficient to fully equip the people of God for every situation (2 Tim. 3:14-17). It is the final authority in all matters for both individual Christians and for Christian assemblies. No single manuscript or translation of the Scriptures is perfect. We are free to compare all of the extant copies of God's Word when seeking to understand and harmonize Scripture. Thus, we should compare both the Hebrew and Greek (LXX) versions of the Old Testament and the Dead Sea Scrolls. We also take into consideration the variant readings in the New Testament manuscripts. Depending on one version only is misguided and unwise because doing so locks one into the theological biases of the translators. Interpretation of the Bible must always be by objective processes. However, the application of Scripture to specific situations in the life of the believer is accomplished by the still, small, voice of the Breath of God which brings to our remembrance the words of Scripture. For this reason it is important for individual Christians, couples, and families, to daily and progressively read through (or hear) the Scriptures, since we cannot be reminded of that which we are not aware.
One God:
There is one God who is the Father, eternal, unbegotten, uncreated, self-sufficient, creator and source of everything that exists, the giver of all life, and the absolute supreme authority over nature and humanity. His name is "YHVH" (Yehoveh / Yahweh). God should not be perceived as being confined within this universe, since He created it, the physical laws that govern it, and He existed before it. He is necessarily greater than the whole universe and transcends the entire creation and its physical laws. Solomon said of God: "The heaven of heavens cannot contain You, how much less this Temple that I have built." Thus God is infinitely bigger, more powerful, and more complex than His creation. His Person cannot be confined to one location within the creation. God is invisible, having never been seen by mortal men nor interacted face to face with mortal man. His non-personal interactions within the creation have always been through limited manifestations of His Person and Power which Scripture refers to as the "finger of God" and the "Spirit/Breath of God." His personal interactions with humanity since creation have always been through the "one mediator between God and Man," the Son of God, God's personal agent. God is called "Father" because He begat a "Son." Thus, "Father" is a reference to His relationship to His Son. Concerning His character and motives, God is just and righteous. He is both good and severe. He is the epitome of "love," being gracious, merciful, and forgiving. Yet He is to be feared. Everything good originates with Him. He always acts in accord with His character which cannot change. Thus God is very predictable. "He remembers His covenant forever, The word which He commanded, for a thousand generations." God's past faithfulness is the guarantee of His future faithfulness. More Info.
The Only-Begotten Son of God:
As His very first act marking the beginning of the six days of creation, the Father brought forth (begat) a Son from His very own essence of Spirit/Breath. The Son was "begotten" not "created." While both terms are similar in that they refer to what God originated or "produced," they differ greatly regarding the nature of what was produced. The term "created" implies production from a different substance, essence, or nature from God, producing something of a different "kind." However, the term "begotten" implies being produced out of God Himself, thus of the same "kind" as the Father. This is the critical distinction which separates us from those who hold the Arian view of the Son (such as JWs). Thus the begetting of the Son of God is "The Beginning" of God's acts in time (Prov. 8:22 LXX; Col. 1:15,18; Rev. 3:14). The Son "came forth out of God" (Jn. 8:42 Gk.) as a distinct, conscious, begotten, Person of the same "kind" as God (John 5:18; Phil. 2:5-6). He was "in the beginning with God" (Gen. 1:26-27; John 1:1-2) and was the Agent of creation, since all things were made through Him (Prov. 8:30; John 1:1-3,10; Col. 1:16; Heb. 1:2; Heb. 2:10). In ancient times, God's Son repeatedly descended from and ascended to heaven (Prov. 30:4; Micah 5:2; John 3:13), having assumed the appearance of a man in order to interact face to face with men on God's behalf. In the Old Testament He was called "Wisdom," "Word/Message," "Messenger of God," the "Messenger of God's Face/Presence" (Isa. 63:9), and the "Face/Presence" of God (Gen. 3:8; Exod. 33:14-15), thus He was the perfect "image of God" (Heb. 1:3) to mankind. The Son of God walked in the garden with Adam, spoke face to face with Abraham, wrestled with Jacob, and spoke face to face with Moses in the burning bush and at the Tabernacle. He was Melchizedek, priest of God Most High, who confirmed the Covenant with Abraham. He also appeared to and spoke to the prophets (1 Pet. 1:10-11). Being both "Breath" and "Power" of God, God's Son, the Word, "came upon" and "overshadowed" the virgin Mary. In the process He willingly "emptied Himself" (Phil. 2:6-7) of His uniquely divine attributes of equality with His Father. The Son of God became the Son of Man in Mary's womb as God carried out His complete transformation to a human Person (Psalm 40:6 LXX; Heb. 10:5). The Son of God, Wisdom, Logos (Word), did not add flesh, or indwell flesh. He "became flesh" (Jn. 1:14), which was a total transmutation of His nature, essence, and substance from the God "kind" to the human "kind." As Son of Man, He was personally and continually instructed by His Father from childhood, and therefore He always "refused the evil to choose the good" (Isa. 7:14-15 LXX). At the appointed time, He was baptized by John and was immediately anointed with the fullness of the holy Spirit/Breath of His Father (the fullness of God of which humans are capable - Jn. 1:16; Col. 1:19; Col. 2:9, Eph. 3:19). This empowered Him to do miracles as a Man (by the holy Breath) and to accomplish the work the Father had appointed for Him in His new role as the Son of Man (Acts 2:22; Acts 10:38). He was then tempted by the Devil for forty days, being tempted in all points as we are, yet without sin (Heb. 4:15). As the "second Adam," Jesus was not under the sentence of death that was passed down through the male to all of Adam's descendants. Yet Jesus willingly took upon Himself the sentence of death that was passed upon all humans. Jesus defeated "death" by being raised by the Father bodily. We will share in His bodily resurrection when He returns in the flesh. Jesus ascended bodily into heaven where He now sits on the right hand of the Father resuming His Melchizedek priesthood for the redeemed, awaiting His Kingdom to be established over all the earth at His second coming as King of Kings. More Info.
The Holy Breath of God:
The holy Breath (Spirit) is a limited manifestation of God's power and presence within the creation, observing and hearing everything and extending God's ability to manipulate nature. God's Breath is the "Anointing" which we have received from Christ within the local assembly, through which the Father and Son have a presence both in and among God's people. The holy Breath is given to comfort, instruct, convict of sin, correct, to apply the Scriptures to various situations, to sustain the local assembly and its members, and is the shared deposit guaranteeing the future "redemption of our body" (resurrection) and our future inheritance in the Kingdom of God. More Info.
Conditions for Fellowship
We refer to the above explanation of our views concerning God, His Son, and the Spirit/Breath, as "Apostolic Monotheism," and refer to ourselves as "Apostolic Monotheists." However, we do not hold these details as essential to being a Christian, a true child of God. To do so would be adding to God's divine revelation. We understand that many Christians would disagree with some of the details above, including Trinitarians, Unitarians, Arians, and Modalists. We accept all baptized Christians as brothers and sisters in Christ who meet three conditions: (1) they affirm only the one true God, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, (2) they confess that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, (3) they do not display the works of the flesh (Gal. 5:19-21) but instead display consistent evidence of the fruit of the Spirit (Gal. 5:22-24), God's Spirit/Breath working in and among them by their works. That means we can have fellowship (including take communion) with all such Christians regardless of whether they are Trinitarian, Unitarian, Arian, or Modalist. If they have the evidence of God's Spirit/Breath working in and among them, they are accepted by God as His children and we have no right to reject them and/or isolate ourselves from them based on different understandings of the above doctrines, but only by their behavior (2 Thess. 3:6; 1 John 2:3-5; 1 John 3:18-19,24; 1 John 5:1-5).
Creation:
The Genesis account, that God created everything in six days (each consisting of evening and morning) and then rested on the seventh day, was meant to be understood literally as 24-hour days. The entire message of redemption rests on the literal account of creation, the fall of man, and the promise of the curse eventually being removed and the earth restored to its pristine state as the inheritance of the redeemed.
The Helpless State of Mankind:
Infants are born innocent, in the image of God and remain innocent until they willfully and knowingly sin. However, all have been given a free will, and soon rebel against God - first out of ignorance, and then willfully. Once someone has willfully sinned, God's justice requires the condemnation of death. Man is totally incapable on his own of pleasing God or securing his own salvation. Unless God rescues him, he is in a hopeless, helpless predicament, awaiting God's judgement which is death and permanent destruction.
Conditional Immortality:
God alone is the giver of life, and He alone possesses immortality. All creatures are continuously dependent on Him for life itself. Man does not have an "immortal soul" living in a body of flesh, he IS "a living soul" - a body of flesh animated by the breath of God - a physical creature. Death is not the departure of an immaterial ghost from the physical body, but God's receiving back the "breath of life" which He has loaned to every person. Death is sleep, not a conscious existence in another realm as in Greek mythology. Therefore, permanent punishment and reward after death can only be realized through the resurrection of the body. Resurrection to immortality (eternal life) is a gift of God granted only to those whom God declares righteous by His grace and mercy.
The Atonement of Christ
From the very beginning, God established a sole condition for His granting the forgiveness of sins: that "without bloodshed there is no deliverance" (Heb. 9:22 LGV). Yet this involved no ordinary blood of animals (Heb. 10:4), or even a human sacrifice, but rather the blood of God's only-begotten Son (1 Jn. 4:9-10; cf. Acts 20:28). This necessitated that God first beget a Son of like "kind," that this Son of God then "became flesh," and that as Man He was "obedient unto death" (Phil. 2:5-10). In other words, God had to give up His "only-begotten Son" to become human flesh in order to redeem mankind. This is the price that God Himself paid (John 3:16), and was prefigured when Abraham was told to offer up his own "only-begotten" Son (Heb. 11:17-18). This exclusive condition which the Son of God alone could meet was predetermined by God in order to demonstrate both the vileness of sin in God's sight and the extremely high cost to God Himself of our forgiveness, demonstrating the depth of His love for us. Having experienced death as a Man, having illustrated God's repulsion for sin, having satisfied the condition for our pardon, having been raised from the dead as the prototype resurrection, He has been exalted and given the name above all names.
Salvation:
God is ready, willing, and able to forgive, redeem, and declare righteous anyone who obeys the Gospel of the Kingdom. God actively draws all people by His holy Breath to repentance because "God is not willing that any should perish." Everyone has been given a free will. God does not predetermine who will be saved and who will be lost regardless of the individual's own choices. The Bible is absolutely clear regarding whom God bestows His grace upon and whom He resists. "God resists the proud, and gives grace to the humble." Therefore, those who humble themselves and receive His offer of salvation and maintain humility receive His grace. However, most refuse to humble themselves, resist His holy Breath, and will perish. Obeying the Gospel of the Kingdom means hearing and understanding, believing the message, turning away from sin (repentance) to become a follower of Christ, being baptized unto Christ upon one's confession that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God. When someone meets these conditions, God forgives and sets them free from sins, adopts them into His family, begins the process of renovating the mind and heart, and places them as members in the local assembly to be co-partakers of the holy Breath within that assembly. Continuing on the "difficult path" that leads to "life" until death is necessary for our salvation to be completed. Completion of our salvation will take place at the resurrection to eternal life "at His coming."
The Universal Assembly:
The Greek word 'ekklesia' (translated "church") means an assembly of people gathered in one location. It primarily describes an event. All who are God's sons and daughters will be resurrected and gathered by the angels and assembled for the first "universal assembly" at Jesus' return (and not before). The gathering of Jesus' elect is the first time the universal assembly will convene for the "marriage of the Lamb."
The Local Assembly:
In the New Testament, the local "assembly" consists of all baptized sons and daughters of God in a particular city or district, regardless of creed, denomination, affiliation, or separate building in which they meet. Denominations and man-made divisions are not what God intended and are indications of carnality (1 Cor. 3:1-11). The "assembly" in Jerusalem consisted of thousands of members. Yet, they met in homes in small groups while maintaining fellowship and cooperation with the whole larger local body of Christ according to the Apostles' teaching (Acts 2:41-47). Local gatherings or fellowships should never be exclusive, or claim to be the exclusive "one true church."
The Reward of Faithful Believers:
We believe in the bodily resurrection of sleeping saints and the gathering of all resurrected and living saints at Jesus' second coming to earth to reign as King. All faithful believers will be judged and rewarded individually according to their works. Yet the common reward for all of God's faithful sons and daughters is immortality (everlasting life) received through continuous access to the Tree of Life in the coming Kingdom and an eternal inheritance in that Kingdom upon the restored earth in fulfilment of the covenants God made with Abraham and David.
The Total Destruction of the Wicked:
The wicked and disbelieving will be completely destroyed "... when the Lord Jesus is revealed from heaven with His mighty angels, in flaming fire taking vengeance on those who do not know God, and on those who do not obey the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ. These shall be punished with everlasting destruction from the presence of the Lord and from the glory of His power, when He comes, in that Day, to be glorified in His saints and to be admired among all those who believe." The wicked and disbelieving who have died prior to Christ's coming will be raised from the dead at the end of the Millennium and judged according to their works. "And anyone not found written in the Book of Life was cast into the lake of fire." "This is the second death." The destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah is "set forth as an example, suffering the vengeance of eternal fire," and "an example to those who afterward would live ungodly." This is the biblical prototype for the "Lake of Fire," Gehenna.
The Fate of the Ignorant:
The Bible only absolutely condemns to utter destruction the wicked who have rejected the knowledge of God which they have received, or flatly rejected the Gospel of Jesus Christ which they have heard and understood. God is just, yet also merciful and gracious. He "takes no pleasure in the death of the wicked," nor does He reckon "sin" where there is no law. While those who receive Jesus Christ and remain in Him are promised immortality, this does not limit God from showing mercy on little children, those with mental disabilities, those who have never heard the message of salvation, or other special circumstances. We have authority to speak only where God has clearly spoken. God is able to apply the atonement of Christ and give immortality to whomever He chooses. We therefore leave such people in God's hands, trusting His nature and His good character to deal with them with both justice and mercy.
Races & Racism:
All humans are descended from Adam who was created in the image of God. Thus, there is one race - the "human" race, all descended from "one blood" (Acts 17:26). Differences in skin color and other physical characteristics are the result of gradual adaptation to different climates, environments, diets, and cultural pressures over many generations after God confounded the languages at the Tower of Babel and the different language groups segregated themselves in different locations. The unique physical traits that became dominant in any given location were those best suited to that location and environment since the healthiest people tended to find similar mates and reproduce more and healthier children over time. Since the various groups were separated by distance and language, physical differences eventually became very pronounced and variation was largely lost. The Bible is quite clear that there is no favoritism with God. Therefore, no people group is of greater or lesser value to God. While the Bible mostly traces God's interactions with Israel and most prophecy is related to that nation, Israel was merely the conduit through which God chose to bring about His ultimate goal of transforming His Son to humanity, and to perfecting a remnant from all nations and ethnic people groups among whom He will one day live forever. Therefore, it is a sin for Christians to discriminate or show partiality based on racial biases. Every person should be judged by the content of his character and especially his conformity to the will of God and commandments of Jesus Christ. All baptized sons and daughters of God are part of the same family - the family of God, and are reckoned by God as sons and daughters of Abraham, and thus 'heirs' of God, and co-heirs with God's only-begotten Son. Thus, so-called interracial marriages are blessed by God the same as any other Christian marriage. Discrimination based on so-called "race" is an abomination to God.
The Ten Commandments, Law of Moses, & Law of Christ:
Since creation, God has had a universal "Law" for all mankind with specific commandments and ordinances. God's original Law was officiated by the Son of God who served as "Priest of the Most-High God" (Heb. 7:1-8). He commanded Adam not to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of Good & Evil, and then covered his nakedness with clothes of animal skins. This "Melchizedek" confirmed the promises to Abraham (Gen. 14:18-20) and will eventually take His rightful place as "King of Righteousness" & "King of Peace." Abraham consistently kept God's commandments, statutes, and ordinances long before the Law of Moses (Gen. 26:5). The universal Law of God was later written in stone with the finger of God in order to portray its absolute permanence, before, during, and after the Law of Moses. The supplemental Law of God (beyond the Ten Commandments) given through Moses at Mt. Sinai was a contract exclusively between God and the nation of Israel which that nation willingly entered into at Mt. Sinai after being rescued from Egypt. It was to be Israel's national legal system, and contained the terms and conditions under which God would allow Israel to lease as tenants (Lev. 25:23) the Land that He promised to eventually give Abraham and his Seed (Christ) as a permanent inheritance (Gen. 13:15; Gen. 17:8; Gal. 3:16-18). The sons of God from Adam to Jacob (Israel) were not part of the Mosaic covenant (Deut. 5:3). Neither did God make this covenant with any other nations (Eph. 2:12). God has dealt with other ethnic peoples on completely different terms apart from the Law of Moses (Jonah 3:1-10; Acts 17:22-31; Rom. 1:18-32; Rom. 2:1-16). The Son of God, as "the Messenger of God," is the one who gave the Law of Moses to Israel on Mt. Sinai (Acts 7:30,38). He is the one who became flesh (John 1:14; Phil. 2:5-8; 2 Cor. 8:9). As Jesus the Messiah, He became the new Lawgiver whom Moses prophesied about (Deut. 18:15,18; Acts 3:19-23). Upon His death, He established the "New Covenant" for both Israel and the nations, "the Law of Christ" (Isa. 42:1-4; Gal. 6:2). Israelites who are baptized into Christ, partaking of the New Covenant, are immediately released entirely from the jurisdiction of the Old Covenant, the Law of Moses (Rom. 3:19-26; 2 Cor. 3:14-17; Gal. 3:23-25; Gal. 5:18; Eph. 2:14-22; Heb. 8:1-13). An Israelite can be either of the "household of Moses" or the "household of Christ," not both at the same time (Heb. 3:1-6). Gentiles who receive the Gospel of the Kingdom and the Messiah become co-participants in the "covenants of promise," which are the Abrahamic, Davidic, and New Covenants (Eph. 2:12-13). But the Mosaic Covenant was not "of promise" (Gal. 3:16-29). Gentiles, therefore, do not partake in the Law of Moses if they are in Christ. The "Household of Christ" consists of both Jew and Gentile united together under the Son of God according to the priesthood of Melchizedek (Psalm 110:1,4; Heb. 7:1 - 8:6). The Temple of God in this age is the local assembly (Eph. 2:19-22), which necessitates the renewed Melchizedek priesthood and a new Law (Heb. 7:12-14). Therefore, neither Jewish nor gentile Christians are part of the Mosaic Covenant. Those who seek to place themselves under obligation to the Law of Moses are placing themselves in bondage and are under "the curse of the Law" if they do not keep it perfectly (Deut. 27:26; Gal. 3:10; Gal. 4:9,21-31; James 2:10). However, the Law of Moses was not abolished for the unbelieving nation of Israel (those who reject Jesus and the New Covenant), nor have they been released from the curse of the Law (Matt. 5:17-18; Gal. 3:10). They remain under its curse and prophesied exile from the Land until the time of national repentance, one of the provisions of the Law of Moses (Deut. 30:1-20; Mal. 4:4-6; Rom. 11:13-32). There is no righteousness or special blessing to be gained by Christians observing commandments of the supplemental Law of Moses that are not specifically part of the Ten Commandments and the Law of Christ (Acts 15:22-31). Thus, 4Winds is opposed to Christian organizations which attempt to impose the Law of Moses on Christians, including the Hebrew Roots Movement, other Sabbath-keeping organizations such as the Worldwide Church of God (and its splinter groups), the Seventh-Day Churches of God, and Seventh Day Adventism, all of which hold to mandatory Feasts and/or the dietary laws. All of these place "a yoke on the neck of the disciples which neither our fathers nor we were able to bear" (Act 15:10; cf. Gal. 5:1-4).
Living as Foreigners, Awaiting the Kingdom Inheritance
Having become "Abraham's seed" by faith, repentance, and being baptized into Jesus Christ (the Founder and Finisher of all of God's Covenants) thus being co-heirs with Christ, Christians are obligated to obey God's universal Law - the Ten Commandments - and the supplemental Law of Christ which begins with the Sermon on the Mount and includes all of the instructions for believers in the New Testament. We are to live as foreigners in whatever land we reside, being representatives of Jesus Christ and the Kingdom of God where our undivided loyalties must lie. The Christian walk is much more than conforming our minds and actions to a set of commandments. Since "without faith it is impossible to please God" (Heb. 11:6) and "we walk by faith and not by sight" (2 Cor. 5:7), we should seek to follow in the footsteps of the men of the Faith who are the heirs of the Abrahamic inheritance (Heb. 11), Jesus being the primary example to follow (Heb. 12:3). That means God's Word should inform and guide every major decision in life, either by explicit commands, following the "wisdom" teachings of Scripture, and/or by following the many examples in Scripture of the kind of faith and obedience that pleases God.
Submission to all God-ordained Authority
God's divine institutions include marriage, the local assembly, and human government. In each of these there are authority structures. The sin of Satan and the fallen angels was insubordination (Jude 1:6). (1) In the Christian home, God created Eve as a helper to Adam out of his own flesh. But Satan tempted her with a higher station (to become as gods) by disregarding God's instructions given to her through her husband. Adam (and all mankind) was cursed with death because, even though he knew better, he abdicated his leadership role and listened to the voice of Eve instead of God (Gen. 3:15). In a Christian marriage, God has placed the man as the head of his wife (1 Cor. 11:3). She is commanded to submit to his authority as unto Christ Himself, and he is to love and care for her just as Christ loved the assembly (Eph. 5:22-24). The children of Christian parents are to both honor (Exod. 20:12) and obey (Eph. 6:1-4) their parents in everything. (2) In the local assembly, Christians are commanded to submit to the duly appointed elders who watch over their lives as those who must give an account (Heb. 13:7,17). In all of these authority structures ordained by God, the quality of humble submission is displayed in the commands for slaves to honor their cruel masters as unto Christ (Eph. 6:5-8). It is not that God endorses slavery, but that He required a Christian Roman slave in his situation to submit to and honor his master simply because this kind of submission, even to a hash superior, best portrays the character of our Master, Jesus Christ. Displaying God's character accurately by imitating His Son before all others is our foremost responsibility. Likewise, Christian wives are commanded to submit even to unbelieving husbands, and thus illustrate the humble and submissive nature of Jesus who was obedient even unto death, so their unbelieving husbands may even be won to Christ. (3) Human government is also God's ordained institution for the overall good of sinful mankind during this age (Rom. 13:1-7). Christians of the first century were commanded to obey governing officials even when they were corrupt. At the time these commands were written, Nero, who burned many Christians at the stake, was emperor, and there were many corrupt local officials. Yet Christians were and are required to willingly submit to all human laws and regulations and to officials - "Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men" (1 Pet. 2:13-15) and "be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be prepared for every good deed, to disparage no one, to be peaceful, tolerant, displaying gentleness towards all men" (Titus 3:1-2), which includes paying our taxes (Mark 12:17; Rom. 13:6-8). These things are to be done "for the Master's sake" (1 Pet. 2:13) because any insubordination of a Christian to government reflects upon our Master, Jesus Christ. Humble submission to government officials and human laws is humble submission to God; insubordination to this is insubordination to God (Rom. 13:1-2). We must also refrain, both privately and publicly, from disparaging those holding government offices (Titus 3:1-2), but give them honor and respect (Rom. 13:7; 1 Pet. 2:17) and continually pray for them (1 Tim. 2:1-4). (However, when the Antichrist is revealed {Matt. 24:15}, his authority is not from God, but from Satan {Rev. 13:2-3}, and we are under no obligation to submit to his authority). The only valid exception to humble submission and obedience to God-ordained authority in any of these institutions and authority structures is when they demand that we violate very specific commandments of God. In that case, "we ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).
Copyright 4Winds Fellowships
Revised 05/26/2021