Is It Biblical For Christians To Stand Up For Their Civil Rights?
There are those in society who would love nothing more than to remove
the rights and liberties of every blood-bought saint of God. There are Christians who are doing everything they can to protect the rights of the church to minister and to protect those who are part of it. There are others who believe that it is unbiblical to be involved in politics. They refuse to actively stand up for the rights of Christians. The question has to be asked, “Is it biblical to stand up for your civil rights?”
Is Everything Ordained by God?
Some have taken the stand that “Que sera, sera. What will be, will be.” They are resigned to the idea that whatever society decides is God’s will, so don’t fight it. But what will be the end result of the church sitting back and doing nothing? Will righteousness increase or will wickedness increase?
Does the Bible Endorse Christians Standing up for Their Rights?
Paul had no qualms about demanding his rights as a Roman citizen. He had been attacked in the temple, but the Roman guards had come to his rescue. “Then the chief captain came near, and took him, and commanded him to be bound with two chains; and demanded who he was, and what he had done” (Acts 21:33). It did not end there. “The chief captain commanded him to be brought into the castle, and bade that he should be examined by scourging; that he might know wherefore they cried so against him” (Acts 22:24). According to many Christians today, Paul needed to just endure the scourging quietly. After all, “Everything is God’s will.”
Paul did not agree with this concept. He stood up for his rights as a Roman citizen. “Then the chief captain came, and said unto him, Tell me, art thou a Roman? He said, Yea. And the chief captain answered, With a great sum obtained I this freedom. And Paul said, But I was free born. Then straightway they departed from him which should have examined him: and the chief captain also was afraid, after he knew that he was a Roman, and because he had bound him” (Act 22:27-29). The Roman law stated that Roman citizens could not be scourged until they had been declared guilty by a Roman magistrate. Paul knew this and enacted his rights as a Roman citizen. If Paul was here today, he would definitely stand up for his rights as believer.
“I Appeal Unto Caesar”
Every Roman citizen had the right to have Caesar sit as judge over their cases. Paul stood as a prisoner before Porcius Festus. It is here that Paul enacted his rights one more time. “For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar. Then Festus, when he had conferred with the council, answered, Hast thou appealed unto Caesar? Unto Caesar shalt thou go” (Acts 25:11-12). Enacting this right resulted in the gospel of Jesus Christ being brought to Rome.
As Americans, Christians Have Rights
The Declaration of Independence asserts a solemn creed. “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” (Preamble to the Declaration of Independence of the United States). For the sake of the gospel and for our own liberties, we must stand up. If we do not stand up for liberty, we will lose it.