II Evangelicals 16:7 - 25 (STRIV)
All quotations are from the Standard-Text Revised International Version (STRIV), unless otherwise noted.
7 It is reported to me that there is pride among you about the treatment you have received at the hands of the Romans. 8 You say, "Jesus Christ told us that we would be persecuted in his name, and we are being persecuted, therefore we must be doing his work." 9 And you take pains to exaggerate the resistance you encounter, and foolishly undertake plans which have nothing to do with spreading the Good News to your countrymen. 10 Word has it that some of you are even campaigning to become officials of the Roman government!
11 Shouldn't you rather be filled with grief that, instead of being seen as honorable citizens, you are seen as criminals and politicians? 12 I implore you to use the discernment which comes from the Holy Spirit, and remember your calling. 13 For your mission is not to enforce the morality of the Lord through the state, but to make it appealing, through your behavior and by your example. 14 As Jesus instructed us to love one another, and to love our neighbors, so too do I instruct you to express your faith through your love, for surely no good can come of tainting your faith with the compromises inherent in politics. 15 Let Caesar govern what is Caesar's, while you govern your own flesh.
16 Yet some of you will say, "But how then shall we be persecuted for Jesus' sake?" 17 Foolish ones! Persecution is not a badge, that you might display it upon your clothing and be honored for your suffering! 18 Our Lord did not save you so that you might be proud of suffering for him; rather, you are to share the Good News with others. 19 Have you forgotten so soon everything that he taught you? How can you spread his word if you are martyrs? 20 As it is written, "It is better to be a live rabbit than to be a dead eagle."a 21 To place yourselves in harm's way deliberately, to argue with your neighbors, to attempt to use the state to impose the law of God on others, will only lead others to rebel against God's law: 22 you may as well do as the heathens do, and blow yourself up with explosives. 23 For what can a corpse do to reveal the love of God? What speech does a dead body have?
24 Therefore I implore you to desist from your political efforts, and reclaim some humility in the face of God, while you may still turn back. 25 For the Lord will not work through the proud or undiscerning.
a 20 Plat. 3:5
Labels: 2 Evangelicals