Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men. (Titus 3:1-2)
Seven Pillars Of The New Testament Church
The disciples of the first century had the advantage of learning firsthand the divine principles of the early church from the preaching of the twelve apostles and instructions of the first church shepherds, teachers, and prophets. What they would learn from the writings of men like Paul, Peter, James and many of the early disciples would form the canon of doctrine that would become the church of Jesus Christ. It was remarkable the church was able to grow so prolifically in a political climate of corruption, deceit, immorality, and despots who ruled with arrogance and ungodly motives. When Paul wrote to the preacher Titus he reminded him to teach the brethren to be set apart from the world and show the character of New Testament Christians as models of godliness. The apostle impresses upon the evangelist seven pillars of identifying marks that show the kind of person the church was made up of and how vital these traits define the nature of the church of God.
The early disciple was a citizen that subjected himself to the rulers and authorities of the Roman Empire; men like King Herod Agrippa, Felix the governor and his replacement Porcius Festus and Caesars like Claudius, Nero, Vespasian, and Titus. All of these men ruled in one form or another during the early church and Paul exhorts the brethren to be subject to them as authorities established by the will of God. The second pillar that identified the New Testament church was the members who were obedient to the rulers and authorities of the Roman Empire. Christians did not have a right to rebel against the power of the Roman government or to malign the system of authority. Only when the law of the land conflicted with the law of God did the disciple of Christ choose to obey God rather than man. The rulers of the Roman Empire were boorish, proud, arrogant, and immoral and in many cases incompetent to rule but the disciple of Christ honored the position of their authority. Instead of defaming the character of the rulers the Christian showed the world his faith by being the third pillar of character in being ready for every good work. The final traits of character of the first century follower of Christ was the refusal by the Christian to speak evil of those in authority, to live peaceably among all men as obedient servants of the Roman Empire, showing gentleness in their dealings with all men and to exhibit a character of humility so that all could see Christ living in their lives daily. Seven pillars of godly character are given by Paul for the disciple to follow as examples of Jesus living in their lives. God loved man so much to give His only begotten Son whom He poured out on all men abundantly to let them be seen as separate from the petty trappings of ungodly character found in those of the world. Christian hearts stand alone in not being those who rebel against government and rulers and those in authority.
The New Testament church can never be restored if the lives of its members refuse to reflect the seven pillars of holiness exhorted by Paul to Titus. For the child of God living in modern America, there is a need for citizens of the heavenly kingdom to subject themselves to the rulers and authorities of this earthly nation as commanded by the Father. At present, there are very few (if any) laws that conflict with the will of God. Those who despise and malign the character of the President of the United States (whether this administration or any of the previous) fail to show the godly character of the New Testament pattern given by the Holy Spirit. In the two hundred plus years of the existence of the United States of America there has never been a time that compares to the days of Caesar Nero and yet Paul and Peter both admonish the citizens of the church to be subject and obey those in authority. The First Century Christian could not speak evil of Herod or Nero and the modern day child of God cannot speak evil of our ruling body of men and women who lead this nation without inflicting the wrath of God and His displeasure. Instead of ranting against the government the person of Christ will be peaceable, gentle and show humility to all men. What sets the New Testament church apart from all others is the character of the person who makes up the church. They are people who are ready to every good work modeling their lives as obedient servants of the rulers – whomever they may be. The Lord God is not a Democrat nor is He a Republican or Libertarian or any such thing. Jesus Christ is head of the church and He is King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Citizens of the church owe allegiance to Christ and should behave as such.