2 Kings 1:1-18
“If I am a man of God,” Elijah replied, “may fire come down from heaven and consume you and your fifty men!” Then the fire of God fell from heaven and consumed him and his fifty men (1:12 NIV).
As the Lord God tells the story of his glory in the Scriptures, he uses events like Elijah calling fire from heaven to make known his supreme majesty. He alone is God and there is no one else. By the act, God proclaimed through his prophet, “There is no other god,” and he does not want us to entertain that empty notion for a moment. For this reason, we do well to ask, “Why is this important in our lives?
We are morally responsible to honor only the living God as God. I know that responsibility and duty are forbidden words among people obsessed with their own supposed freedom, but God makes clear the obligation of all people everywhere to confess that the Lord alone is God.
Here is a brief overview of teaching of the New Testament Scriptures honoring God as our only God.
- They set forth clear instruction. 1 Corinthians 8:4-6.
- They condemn the transgression of this command. Romans 1:18-25.
- They forbid a lifestyle built on the transgression of this command. Ephesians 4:17-24.
- They command and commend repentance in relation to this command. Acts 17:30; 1 Thessalonians 1:9.
- They command positive action consist with the God. 1 Corinthians 1:31.
We who believe and follow Christ desire to see this command realized in the hearts and lives of people, since God’s laws are written on our hearts (Hebrews 8:10), and since the Holy Spirit has been given to us to produce a holy way of life that reflects obedience to this command (Romans 7:4-6).
However, we do not enforce obedience to this command by physical means in this new covenant age. Biblically speaking, the church is not and never was a physical nation. Yet with great sorrow we admit that many have tried to join church and state, and they have brought great shame to the cause of God and truth. Examples of this wrong are medieval Roman Catholicism, Calvin’s Geneva, and the Massachusetts Bay Colony in colonial America. Even today there remains a desire among certain Christians to want to go back to the lifestyle of the old covenant theocracy and to use the “sword” to punish wrong-doers, or to call upon God to so punish. But let us avoid this error by thinking on and acting consistently with:
- Christ’s correction of the mistake of the disciples (Luke 9:51-56).
- The clear declaration of the Lord Jesus about his kingdom (John 18:36).
- The correction given by the apostle Paul (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).
What methods, then, may we use today to promote God’s honor in world of hatred and violence? (We know that we live in a climate of spiritual warfare also, Ephesians 6:10-18.)
- A godly life that exemplifies the truth we claim to believe. This must begin in the home. And it demands love of other believers (John 13:34-35). We must go out in the world together where people of the world can observe that we do love one another.
- A witness of the truth. Use the sword of the Spirit, God’s word, to spread the good news (Acts 8:4). When we get to the place where we are in conversations with them about life, we must tell them the good news of Jesus Christ.
- A consistent life of prayer. God acts through praying people.
Grace and peace, David