Theme: Paying a Price for Righteousness
In this week’s lessons, we see that the state has a legitimate authority from God, and is therefore responsible before God to use that authority for righteousness rather than for wrong.
Scripture: John 19:11
The second thing Christians need is a knowledge of the Word of God. The reason that’s necessary is that we don’t always know what to do or what to say or how to act even though we’re convinced of the sovereignty of God. The only way we know what we should say or do is by studying the Bible. And if we don’t do that, if our thoughts and our actions are not molded by Scripture, then we run the danger of sinning in even greater ways than the state sins when it does what is wrong because we sin against greater knowledge and usually with the additional sins of pride and arrogance drawn in.
The third thing is this. We must be willing to pay the price. Unless we’re willing to do that, we’ll never make an impact. There has been no great advance spiritually or morally in the history of the human race that was not achieved by someone who was willing and did pay the price for that advance.
I’m very impressed at this point with Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn. He writes something very interesting in The Gulag Archipelago. He had been imprisoned for 11 years and then was delivered from this notorious prison system in the Soviet Union. During those 11 years, he saw many dehumanizing practices. He saw the price that people paid for their convictions, and he saw some prisoners crumple under the brutality and inhumane treatment by the guards. Others, however, triumphed. He asked, “So what is the answer? How can you stand your ground when you are weak and sensitive to pain, when people you love are still alive, when you are unprepared? What do you need to make you stronger than the Interrogator and the whole trap?”
The answer he gives is this: “From the moment you go to prison you must put your cozy past firmly behind you. At the very threshold, you must say to yourself: ‘My life is over, a little early to be sure, but there’s nothing to be done about it. I shall never return to freedom. I am condemned to die–now or a little later. But later on, in truth, it will be even harder, and so the sooner the better. I no longer have any property whatsoever. For me those I love have died, and for them I have died. From today on, my body is useless and alien to me. Only my spirit and my conscience remain precious and important to me.'”
And then he makes this judgment. Confronted by such a prisoner, the interrogator will tremble. Only the man who has renounced everything can win that victory. Now I ask the question: Who is better qualified and able to win that kind of a victory in a secular culture than those who have denied everything and picked up their cross to follow Jesus Christ? You see, Jesus knew what he was talking about when he said that if a man will come after him, let him deny everything and take up his cross and follow him. It’s when Christians are willing and able to do that, that they’ll impact the culture for righteousness.
Study Questions:

What is the second point Christians need to remember as they engage the state concerning its responsibility to God? Why is this second point necessary?
What is the third thing Christians must do?

Application: Make a list of ways you can take up your cross by standing up for righteousness in a biblical way.
Prayer: Ask the Lord for courage to be able to suffer for righteousness should that come in your efforts to make the gospel known to those around you. Pray for God’s blessings on fellow Christians who are being persecuted throughout the world.

Study Questions
Tagged under
More Resources from James Montgomery Boice

Subscribe to the Think & Act Biblically Devotional

Alliance of Confessional Evangelicals

About the Alliance

The Alliance is a coalition of believers who hold to the historic creeds and confessions of the Reformed faith and proclaim biblical doctrine in order to foster a Reformed awakening in today’s Church.

Canadian Donors

Canadian Committee of The Bible Study Hour
PO Box 24087, RPO Josephine
North Bay, ON, P1B 0C7