There’s been so much talk of corruption in the government over the last few years, and yesterday someone was talking about a local non-governmental organization where things were being done which were not according to the rules. Decisions were being made just to please people so that they wouldn’t take offense and leave the organization. The fact that these decisions did not comply with the constitution did not seem to bother most people. It doesn’t matter how small or informal a group is; if there are rules they have to be followed. I do understand that as people with feelings we sometimes can’t see the necessity of some rules, but unless we are going to challenge those rules officially with good motivation or alternative options, we need to follow them.
In the Old Testament God gave the Israelites the Law, which included the Ten Commandments. In that time people were expected to keep the commandments in their own strength using their will power. After the death of Jesus we received the Holy Spirit who gives us grace and the ability to be able to follow them more effectively. We are exceptionally privileged although we do not always see it that way.
What are we supposed to do when we see rules being broken and it affects us?
Ephesians 5:8-14, For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord. And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them. For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret. But all things that are exposed are made manifest by the light, for whatever makes manifest is light. Therefore He says: “Awake, you who sleep, Arise from the dead, And Christ will give you light.”
First of all, we cannot be part of anything that is being done in the dark and in secret. These verses make it quite clear. They also say that we need to expose things that are being done that aren’t right. I think this is one of the most difficult things to do. If you know the people who are busy with corruption, what do you do? If they know it is you who exposed their deed they might shun you. Yes, they might, and I would advise you to pray about what you are going to do before you do it. Paul suffered persecution all through his ministry. He was the one who persecuted the Christians and when he became a Christian, he was persecuted. We can expect to be persecuted if we are followers of Jesus.
James 4:17, Therefore, to him who knows to do good and does not do it, to him it is sin.
Matthew 24:9, Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake.
Matthew 10:22, And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end will be saved.
All the apostles suffered persecution. Peter and Paul were martyred in Rome about 66AD during the persecution under Emperor Nero. Paul was beheaded and Peter was crucified upside down at his own request. He did not feel worthy to die in the same manner as Jesus. Andrew went to the Soviet Union (land of the man-eaters) and also Asia Minor, Turkey and Greece, where he is said to have been crucified. Thomas was most active in the area east of Syria and possibly as far east as India where ancient Marthoma Christians revere him as their founder. They claim he died there when pierced through with the spears of four soldiers. Philip is said to have had a powerful ministry in Carthage in North Africa where he converted the wife of a Roman proconsul. In retaliation the proconsul cruelly put him to death. Matthew ministered in Persia and Ethiopia and was stabbed to death. Bartholomew’s travels took him to India with Thomas, back to Armenia and, and also to Ethiopia and Southern Arabia. There are various accounts of how he met his death as a martyr for the Gospel. James, the son of Alpheus, is reckoned to have ministered in Syria. The Jewish historian, Josephus reported that he was stoned and then clubbed to death. Simon ministered in Persia and was killed after refusing to sacrifice to the sun god. Matthias replaced Judas and tradition says he went to Syria with Andrew and was burned to death. John was the lonely one to die a natural death of old age. An early Latin tradition has him escaping unhurt after being cast into boiling oil at Rome. He was exiled to the island of Patmos when he is credited with having written the Book of Revelation. None of these apostles were called from the priesthood or the official clergy of Jesus’ day. They were ordinary people like you and me who loved Jesus. If they did the right thing without fearing human opinion, surely we can be expected to do the same.