We Preserve Life while Alive and then Die to the Lord!

We examined in the last post the fact our submission to Jesus as Lord provides us with an adequate motive for dying.

Romans 14:7-8

7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.

This post deals with technical matters dealing with death. I want to deal with the issues of Euthanasia that family members of the terminally ill (and and the medical personal who treat them) face in the pending death of a loved one/patient. I think this will be beneficial in our world where insurance companies and government agencies push so-called “living wills” and “durable powers of attorney.” My view is loved ones need to make decisions for us when we cannot do so for ourselves. We need to be informed when everything is going well, so that when we are faced with a difficult decision, we are ready as far as possible to make it. We leave a loved one our legal power of attorney to act for us if we come to that time when we cannot act for ourselves.

Euthanasia is a form of suicide, albeit second-handed. 

By necessity, euthanasia requires at least one other person to assist in the death of another—a friend, a family member, or a health care worker. (see “Euthanasia” and “Suicide,” below) 


“The Communion of the Saints” from the Apostles’ Creed
includes respect for and support of the dying.

The Catechism of the Catholic Church (1993) forbids in the strongest terms any form of euthanasia.

2276. Those whose lives are diminished or weakened deserve special respect.

2277. Whatever its motives and means, [active] euthanasia consists in putting an end to the lives of handicapped, sick, or dying persons, [and] is morally unacceptable. (see “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” below.)

Those who are the most vulnerable need to be respected, supported, and protected! 

Active and Passive Euthanasia

Medical Ethicists make a necessary distinction between active and passive euthanasia. This is important for medical personnel.

2278. Discontinuing medical procedures that are burdensome, dangerous, extraordinary, or disproportionate to the expected outcome can be legitimate; it is the refusal of [heroic measures]. (see “Catechism of the Catholic Church,” below.)

Passive euthanasia is the refusal of “heroic measures” for the terminally ill. Medical workers and family members who refuse “heroic measures” for the terminally ill do not commit murder.

The questions for those with a legal power of attorney for a terminally ill person are:

(1) What would prolong my loved one’s life? or What would insure quality of life as my loved one dies?

(2) What would just prolong my loved one’s death?

Exercising one’s power of attorney to refuse heroic measures is not murder. The point is not to prolong death. 


The above etching is of a Civil War Nurse caring for the dying. Prior to this time triage (selection of which to treat first), centered on selecting which ones were likely to live and basically ignoring those who were expected to die.

A Personal Experience

I served as a volunteer Chaplain at two hospitals over the years. At one hospital a person was in the last 6 months of terminal cancer. There was a zero chance of this person getting better. One relative insisted the person undergo heart bypass surgery since several arteries were blocked. The patient died on the operating table and the surgery cost $350,000 at the time. Due to limited hospital resources, someone else had to be denied bypass surgery for this to happen. (Two persons may have died.)

In my view, the surgery was a “heroic measure” and should not have been performed on a terminally ill person. Denial of this surgery would be a form of passive euthanasia. However, undergoing the surgery followed by death was not active euthanasia since the death was not planned or foreseen as a direct consequence. (See “Euthanasia” below for two distinctions in euthanasia).

It is not wrong to put a Do Not Resuscitate [DNR] sign on a person who is dying of cancer. To give medical care in such a case is not to prolong life, but to prolong death. (See D. L. Moody’s experience in the last post.)

I am not in favor of withholding a saline drip from a terminal patient. Palliative care also is desirable. Should a patient die from prescribed narcotics to dull pain, this would not be murder since death was not foreseen or planned. Medical personnel would not be culpable for administering the prescribed dosage.

Where are we today in Western Society with Euthanasia?

We often hear of “death with dignity.” Whose dignity is affirmed? Whose dignity is denied? God’s honor and dignity are at stake, too. And, one of His image-bearers is involved, also.

I remind myself constantly, all human beings are created in the image of likeness of God.

Genesis 1:27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

Some have less of a capacity to mirror their Maker than others do, but they still bear that image. Euthanasia is not pleasant to think about, but the Lordship of Christ is to extend over all areas of our lives, which includes our death.

A Truly “Good Death” Described

“In his book, The Walk: the Life-Changing Journey of Two Friends, musician Michael Card recounts the many ways that biblical scholar Dr. William L. Lane mentored him, beginning with his time at Western Kentucky University and ending with Professor Lane’s death.

Dr. William L. Lane (left) and Michael Card (right)

“Card recalls what occurred when Bill Lane learned that he had cancer, near the end of his life (age 68). [Bill] and his wife decided to move to Franklin, Tennessee, to be nearer [Michael Card]. 

“During the conversation Bill told me why he wanted to spend his last days there. ‘I want to come to Franklin,’ he said, ‘to show you how a Christian…dies.'” (see “Card” below)

Who knows what we might show another as we die to our Lord. It is Christ who holds the keys to death and the grave (Revelation 1:18), and we dare not assume that right ourselves. All who visit us at the end may see how a Christian who has lived to his Lord now dies to his Lord


Lord, I admit I fear the time between my last illness and death. 
I do not fear death itself since I will be with You forever. 
Help me to oppose euthanasia in all circumstances;
in conversation and mentoring others; and in my own belief and actual practice. 

Guide my steps by your Word and Spirit.
And, at the end, come to me and take me to live with You forever!

In Jesus’ name, Amen. 


Card, M. (2009). Accessed 20 June 2018 from https://www.thegospelcoalition.org/ blogs/justin-taylor/i-want-to-show-you-how-christian-man/ Michael Card is a Christian musician who wrote “Immanuel,” and “El Shaddai,” etc.

Catechism of the Catholic Church. (1993). Accessed 18 July 2018 from http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P7Z.HTM
N. B. I have already stated in  an earlier post that I often rely on the Catechism of the Catholic Church because it deals with most modern ethic issues well. Older catechisms were written in a time when modern issues weren’t even thought of.

Euthanasia. I want to make the following distinctions: (1) “Active euthanasia” is assisting another person die. This is in violation of the 6th Commandment—”You must not murder!” Exodus 20:13 (translation mine). (2) “Passive euthanasia” is withholding heroic measures from a person who has zero chance of living. See Pankratz, R. C. and R. M. Welsh. (2001). “A Christian Response to Euthanasia.” Accessed 20 June 2018 from http://www.tkc.com/resources/resources-pages/euthanasia.html

Suicide. Suicide is not an unpardonable sin. Sometimes people snap under the pressures of life. They take their own life as a means of escaping those pressures. Survivors have to deal with the aftermath of pain that follows in the wake of suicide. I wouldn’t add to that pain by suggesting a loved one who took his own life will not be heaven. 

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

A Good Death is a Death to the Lord!

We have been examining the fact our submission to Jesus as Lord provides us with an adequate motive for living.

Romans 14:7-8

7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.

Dying to the Lord.

The Lord Jesus Christ not only provides us with a motivation for a life lived for Him, but also he also provides us with a basis for a death to Him. We do not decide when and how we die. We “die to the Lord” by permitting Him to decide the time and circumstances of our death. Psalm 116:15 states—”Precious in the sight of the Lord is the death of His saints.” (See “Suicide” below) 

What you and I must do is steadfastly refuse to assist others in their suicide if they ask us to. If our loved ones are in pain as they die, we can get palliative care for them. 

Palliative care is the active relief of suffering in a terminally-ill individual, and although there are occasions when treatment may shorten life, this is not the intended or anticipated result. It is simply a side effect or complication of therapy and is therefore ethically permissible. Generally, adequate doses of narcotics to relieve pain do not shorten life. If a nurse should see a patient die after s/he administeried the proper dose of a narcotic, s/he is not guilty of murder. The death was an unintended side effect of palliative care. (see “Palliative Care”; and “Pankratz and  Welsh” below).

We can weep with them, love them, and hold their hand as they die. We cannot assist in killing them because they are made in the image and likeness of God. Genesis 1 states—

27 So God created man in His own image; in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.

sick bed

A deathbed scene is pictured above with family around the dying man. This was common prior to mid-20th Century. Today we remove death and the dying from our presence as much as possible. Funerals are especially taboo with the young.

Let me add the same qualification about euthanasia that I did about suicide in a previous post. Aiding a person’s suicide in the past is not an unpardonable sin. One can realize that aiding that person’s euthanasia in the past was a sin. Sin confessed to God and repented of is forgiven. Moving forward, a forgiven sinner resolves to promote life and not aid in further euthanasia. 

God takes our sins…and dumps them in the sea
and puts up a sign that says: “No Fishing Allowed.”
– Corrie ten Boom

D. L. Moody’s Words about His Future Death while He was still Healthy

The following words were spoken in part by Billy Graham. He knew D. L. Moody had said the words before he did. Billy was underscoring Moody’s testimony in his own!

Some day you will read in the papers that D. L. Moody, of East Northfield, [MA] is dead. Don’t you believe a word of it! At that moment I shall be more alive than I am now. I shall have gone up higher, that is all; out of this old clay tenement into a house that is immortal—a body that death cannot touch; that sin cannot taint; a body fashioned like unto His glorious body. (see “Lindgren,” below) 

moody on Psalm 23

D. L. Moody’s Last Words as He was Dying

“For four hours Mr. Moody faced death without [alarm]. Nay, he rejoiced in it and welcomed it.

“Standing midway in the stream he said, “No pain, no valley! Is this death? It is not bad. It is sweet. It is bliss.”

“Later he said, ‘This is glorious. This is my coronation day, I have long looked forward to it.’ Later still, ‘Don’t call me back; God is calling.’

As his son, Will, knelt by his side as he sank, he could not find it in his heart to call him back. He afterward said to me, ‘I did call him back once, but I could not find it in my heart to do it again.’ (see “Torrey,” below, pp. 30-31) 

V0006951 The death-bed of John Wesley, 1791. Process print after an a

Above is a print of John Wesley’s death bed scene, 1791. He raised one hand high in the air and exclaimed at the end, “The best of all is God is with us!” With these words he fell back onto his pillow and passed into heaven. 


O Lord, Giver of Life and Decision-maker of Death’s hour,
Give me grace to preserve my life and others’ lives
as much as is in my power as long as I live.
I am made in your image and share this

with all humanity.
Help me to respect that image in myself and others.
There is so much death around us.
Help me not to let it cheapen life in my estimation.
Since You hold the keys of death and the grave,
You alone can say when life is over.
Help me to bear testimony to You as Lord and Savior
when my time to die comes.
In Jesus’s name, Amen.


Lindgren, Caleb. (2018). “Someday You Will Read or Hear That Billy Graham Didn’t Really Say That.” Christianity Today magazine accessed 18 July 2018 from https://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2018/february-web-only/billy-graham-viral-quote-on-death-not-his-d-l-moody.html 

Palliative care. See also Pankratz, R. C. and R. M. Welsh). 

Pankratz, R. C. and R. M. Welsh. (2001). “A Christian Response to Euthanasia.” Accessed 20 June 2018 from http://www.tkc.com/resources/resources-pages/euthanasia.html

Suicide. Suicide is not an unpardonable sin. Sometimes people snap under the pressures of life. They take their own life as a means of escaping those pressures. Survivors have to deal with the aftermath of pain that follows in the wake of suicide. I wouldn’t add to that pain by suggesting a loved one who took his own life will not be heaven. 

Torrey, R. A. (1900). Lessons from Life and Death of D. L. MOODY. New York, NY: Fleming H. Revell Company. 

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved

We Die to the Lord! Suicide is not Desirable.

We are looking at the fact our submission to Jesus as Lord provides us with an adequate motive for living.

Romans 14:7-8

7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.

We may understand the “living to himself,” but what does “die to himself” and “die to the Lord” mean?

“No one of us lives to himself,” does not mean, “every man’s conduct affects others for better or worse, whether he will or not” (see “John Donne” below); it means, “no Christian is his own end in life; what is always present to his mind, as the rule of his conduct, is the will and the interest of his Lord.” (See “Nicoll” below)

What holds true for a Christian in life holds true of his death, too.

He does not choose either the time or the mode of it, like a Roman Stoic, to please himself. He dies when the Lord will, as the Lord will, and even by his death glorifies God. (see Nicoll below).

We belong to the Lord Jesus Christ body and soul! This ought to comfort use greatly. Matthew 10 states—

29 Are not two sparrows sold for a copper coin? And not one of them falls to the ground apart from your Father’s will. 30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. 31 Do not fear therefore; you are of more value than many sparrows.

Not a sparrow dies without God taking notice.  God watches over his children in life and death because they are His.


Man hanging

What about Suicide?

One of the most painful aspects of ministry is dealing with families in the aftermath of suicide. Someone said “suicide is the ultimate insult.” If the perpetrator doesn’t leave a note explaining why, the pain for survivors can be unbearable. “Why didn’t I see the signs?” “Did I cause him/her to do it?” Family members ask questions like, “Is my son in hell for this sin?”

The Catholic Catechism says this about suicide—

2280 Everyone is responsible for his life before God who has given it to him. It is God who remains the sovereign Master of life. We are obliged to accept life gratefully and preserve it… . We are stewards, not owners, of the life God has entrusted to us. It is not ours to dispose of. (see “Catholic Catechism” below)

I quote the Catholic Catechism often since it deals with most modern ethical issues well, in my opinion.

Suicide perpetrators are responsible for their actions since God alone has the right to take life or assign the taking of life, e.g. God has given the civil magistrate the power of life and death in Romans 13:4—

But if you do evil, be afraid; for [the civil magistrate] does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. (NKJV)

Expositor’s Greek New Testament says this about “the Sword”—

The sword was carried habitually, if not by, then before the higher magistrates, and symbolized the power of life and death which they had in their hands. (See “Nicoll” below.)

However, suicide does not mean that the perpetrator is automatically assigned to hell at the judgment because he or she did not have the right to take life.

2282 Grave psychological disturbances, anguish, or grave fear of hardship, suffering, or torture can diminish the responsibility of the one committing suicide. (see “Catholic Catechism” below)

Stoic Suicide

Suicide became a common practice among stoics
when they could not bear their fate

In the absence of a written note, we should assume circumstances intervened that were unbearable, so our loved one took his or her own life. We were not to blame. There were not any signs to see. Our loved one was not in his/her right mind at the time. S/he snapped.

2283 We should not despair of the eternal salvation of persons who have taken their own lives.  (see “Catholic Catechism” below)

Suicide is a forgivable sin. The only unforgivable sin is rejection of Christ. I have yet to see a suicide where the person wrote, “I don’t believe in God, and I’m taking myself out into the void of nothingness.” There may be cases, but I have not experienced them in 42 years of ministry. And, I have actually seen someone commit suicide. That I’ll never forget!

Our Obligation to Preserve Life

We are obligated by the Fifth Commandment to preserve our own lives as well as the lives of others.

We ought to study these principles so that if we arrive at a hard spot, we won’t be tempted to choose to make a final exit. The Hemlock Society has nothing to teach us. We die unto the Lord Jesus Christ!

The Westminster Shorter Catechism states this about the Sixth Commandment—

Q. 68. What is required in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment requires all lawful endeavors to preserve our own life, and the life of others.

Q. 69. What is forbidden in the sixth commandment?
A. The sixth commandment forbids the taking away of our own life, or the life of our neighbor, unjustly, or whatsoever tends thereunto. (See “WSC” below)

Drilling this into ourselves and our children will help make suicide less of an option to escape the unbearable.

Personal Testimony.

My grandfather committed suicide. Yes. I said it out loud. At least I wrote it.

“Red” (what we called him) was a WWII veteran of Patton’s Third Army. I foolishly asked him once what war was like. He replied that he had been a machine gunner on a tank. At the Battle of the Bulge, they opened fire on the Nazi Invading Army. He said he fired until his machine gun turned orange and jammed. He waited until it cooled to resume firing. This was repeated over and over again. The Nazi soldiers came in wave after wave after wave. They were 14 and 15 year old boys mostly. That was all that was left in December 1944. He said they mowed them down as fast as they came. I’ll never forget what he concluded with, “At least once a week I see those boys’ faces in my dreams!” I never asked him again such a foolish question.

He had the weight of this on his mind and other missions he had gone on at night, which my mother told me about after she had asked him the same question when she was a girl.

In 1987 he had had enough of life. He had had pneumonia on top of his emphysema in the winter of the previous year. He took a gun with him to take a nap. Sometime later his wife heard what she thought was a car backfire. When she went in later to check on him, she found him. He lived three days with his heart still beating. 

I expect to see him in heaven! 

God alone is man’s judge and we should entrust our loved one to his care. God knew from the beginning of his life what he would do and it did not diminish God’s love for him. Genesis 18:25 brings me comfort—“Shall not the Judge of all the earth do right?”


Catholic Catechism. “Suicide” section “Fifth Commandment.” [Sixth Commandment in the Protestant Bible]. Accessed 18 June 2018 from http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p3s2c2a5.htm

Donne, John. “No Man is an Island.” I hate that this interpretation ruins John Donne’s great poem. The poem is a literary classic—but not a theological one. Christ decides our terms of life and our terms in regard to our death.

Nicoll, W. R. (1956 reprint). The Expositor’s Greek Testament: Romans. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Accessed 14 June 2018 from https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/romans-14.html

Stoic Suicide Picture. Accessed 18 June 2018 from http://www.traditioninaction.org/History/G_026_Stoic.html

WSC. Accessed May 24, 2018 from http://www.reformed.org/documents/wsc/index.html?_top= http://www.reformed.org/documents/WSC.html

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved


The Need for Balance in the Exercise of our Christian Liberty

We have looked at the first reason why accepting Jesus as Lord is integral to the Christian life—it connects us to him in a personal relationship.

Now I want to shift in the next few posts to a second reason—

Submission to Jesus as Lord provides us with an adequate motive for living.  

Romans 14:7-8

7 For none of us lives to himself, and no one dies to himself.
8 For if we live, we live to the Lord; and if we die, we die to the Lord.

Life is more than living for one’s own self-satisfaction.  

It seems those at Rome who were strong in the faith had erred by making “the kingdom of God a matter of eating and drinking.” (Shogren, p. 240) They tended to eat and drink the dainties of Empire without regard for those who had scruples against doing so. This is contrary to Romans 14:17–

17 for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.

Roman feast

Roman scene above depicting a feast with beverages sweetened with “sugar of lead.” The ancient Romans used lead acetate—which they called sapa—to sweeten wine. The aristocratic segments of the population could consume as much as two liters a day (about three bottles’ worth, diluted 2:1 or 3:1 wine to  water ratio). The “sugar of lead” is thought by many to have slowly killed enough Roman elite to bring the Empire down. (See Rhodes below)

The brothers strong in their faith made their freedom to eat and drink all things their main ethical motivation. They were out for what they could get from Empire.

Certainly, Christian liberty is important!

The Westminster Confession of Faith [WCF] sums up Christian Liberty well in Chapter 20.2

God alone is Lord of the conscience and has left it free from the doctrines and commandments of men, which are, in anything, contrary to his Word; or beside it, if matters of faith, or worship. (WCF, 1646)

That is the magna carta of Christian liberty. But is this the whole picture. Paul says in I Corinthians 10:23—

23 All things are lawful for me, but not all things are helpful; all things are lawful for me, but not all things edify.


Creation of Adam by Michelangelo on the Sistine Chapel ceiling in Rome

Modern day exercise of Christian Liberty

I am sad to say most 21st century Christians use of alcohol is their main expression of Christian Liberty. Christian Liberty, in fact, is freedom from sin to serve Christ in all situations.

None of God’s creation is sinful in and of itself. Christians are not Platonists who conclude the material world is innately sinful. Alcohol in and of itself is not sinful. Its misuse in the form of drunkenness is sinful (Ephesians 5:18).

An Example from my Youth

My Great aunt was a “teetotaler.” God bless her heart! She did take Hadacol at one point in her life. She failed to realize it was 12% alcohol. That’s 24 proof. No wonder she felt good after taking a dose!

My Great uncle liked a drink at night “to steady his nerves,” so he kept a bottle of “Old Grand Dad” in the garage. (His nerves got a regular workout from my aunt.) He would always leave the car under a tree in the backyard until sundown. Then, he would say, “Well, I’d better put the car in the garage.” I often asked, “Do you want me to go with you?” He quickly added, “No. No! I’ve got it. You stay in here. I’ll be back in a minute.”

Only later did I realize, after finding his stash in the garage, what he was really up to on those nightly excursions. He kept the peace by hiding his use of alcohol. I like the fact that he didn’t permit my great aunt to dictate his use of things indifferent—alcohol. I also like the fact he didn’t flaunt his use in public. I never smelled alcohol on his breath.

Balance is key in the exercise of Christian Liberty! The point Paul is trying to get the stronger brothers to see is they have an obligation to live for Christ and not to live for their own self-satisfaction. Christian liberty is important. The area not legislated in Scripture is the area of our liberty! However, we are also evangelists and we will not be harmed by curbing our liberty in public to reach out to those who are lost and to edify our brothers in Christ who do not share our views of doubtful matters.

We live unto the Lord! In the Greek this indicates advantage. We do not live for our own advantage.

“No one of us lives to himself,” does not mean, “every man’s conduct affects others for better or worse, whether he will or not”; it means, “no Christian is his own end in life; what is always present to his mind, as the rule of his conduct, is the will and the interest of his Lord.” (See Nicoll below)

As the picture caption above indicates, Roman elites lived a hedonistic lifestyle. They sweetened wine with lead acetate. They did not know they were drinking themselves to death. To quote Billy Graham, “Their lifestyle spread itself out in judgment before them.” (See Graham below). God wants us to use the things he has given us for our and others’ good and His glory!


O Lord, I am Yours—body and soul.
You created me for Yourself and
“My soul is restless until it find its rest in You.”
You created this world for my use.
I choose to use its gifts for Your glory and my good.
I want to build people up around me and
Not tear them down as I use your creation.
I want to give our Your Gospel to those I meet along my path.
Give me wisdom to use Your gifts as Your child.
In Jesus’s Name. Amen.


Graham, Billy. (1984). Approaching Hoofbeats: The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Waco, TX: Word Books, Publishers.

Nicoll, W. R. (1956 reprint). The Expositor’s Greek Testament: Romans. Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Company. Accessed 14 June 2018 from https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/egt/romans-14.html

Rhodes, Jesse (2012). “Sugar of Lead: A Deadly Sweetener.” [Magazine Article]  Accessed 13 May 2018 from https://www.smithsonianmag.com/arts-culture/sugar-of-lead-a-deadly-sweetener-89984487/

Shogren, G. (2000). “Is the Kingdom of God about Eating and Drinking or Isn’t It?” (Romans 14:17). Novum Testamentum, 42(3), 238-256. Retrieved from http://www.jstor.org/stable/1561137

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved


No Divided Allegiance!

In the New Testament world, “Lord” was also the title of Caesar, as the one to whom people in the Roman world owed their ultimate allegiance. “Lord” set him apart as a god-like figure in the ancient world.

In the First Century world, one had to affirm ultimate allegiance to Caesar in an outward way. Allegiance was affirmed usually by having a person approach an altar with fiery coals on it and a statue of the Emperor beside it. One would toss a pinch of incense on it and say the words, “Caesar is Lord!” In the Greek, only two words, Kaesar Kyrios. (see “Church” below). Not much, you might think. However, Caesar or a modern nation-state is not our ultimate patron or King. Jesus Christ is! (see “Ploycarp” below).

Incense to Caesar


God requires obedience to his Son, Jesus Christ.

We do not have a Caesar any more, but we have authority figures and structures that permit no rival to authority. Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan sets forth the answer to unrest in society—”civil war and the brute situation of a state of nature [can] only be avoided by strong, undivided government.” (see “Leviathan” below) The motto in the picture below is from Job 41:33—On earth there is nothing like him (i.e. the sea monster, or Leviathan). This by extension is applied to government by Hobbs.  


This is the frontispiece to Hobbes’ book Leviathan. It depicts government as a King arising from the land as supreme ruler unchallenged by any other power.

Do we not see potential conflict here? Government demands to be our unchallenged Lord. Jesus Christ is inherently Lord and does not admit any rival as first place in our hearts. Two passages in Revelation make this plain.

Revelation 17:14—
These will make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb will overcome them, for He is Lord of lords and King of kings; and those who are with Him are called, chosen, and faithful.”

Revelation 19:16—
And He has on His robe and on His thigh a name written: KING OF KINGS AND LORD OF LORDS.

When any earthly power makes demands contrary to the Word of God, we must conclude with Peter in Acts 5:29—

But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.

We as Christians come into conflict when we do otherwise than obey government, our modern-day Caesar. We cannot conform to Caesar’s will in our lives just to fit into society. If we do not conform, we will suffer—politically, financially, socially, etc. We may have to forfeit our lives.

It is not that we hate our modern day “Caesar.” It’s that we love our Lord Jesus Christ so much more in comparison! We do as government requires so long as government doesn’t demand what God alone deserves. Our God cannot permit divided first love and loyalty! 

Exodus 34:14 states this clearly—

“…You shall worship no other god, for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” 

Our God made us to glorify him and enjoy him, and he cannot share first place in our hearts with another person or thing, other than Himself. 

A martyr was asked, whether he did not love his wife and children, who stood weeping by him.

“Love them? Yes,” said he, “if all the world were gold, and at my disposal, I would give it for the satisfaction of living with them, though it were in prison.”

“Yet, in comparison of [my love to] Christ, I love them not.”
(See “Whitecross” below)

Hymn line (Martin Luther “A Mighty Fortress is Our God.”) 

Let goods and kindred go,
This mortal life also;
The body they may kill:
God’s truth abideth still,
His Kingdom is forever.


O Lord Jesus Christ, 
I want to give You first place in my heart—
to find my highest good in You—
the ground of my rest, and
the spring of my being.
Give me a deeper knowledge of Yourself as my
Saviour, Master, Lord, and King.

I have no Master but You,
no law but Your will,
no chief delight but You,
no wealth but what You give me,
no good but that with which You bless me,
no peace but that which You bestow.

All gifts from You I hold in my open palm—
You are my most precious Gift! 

You may take things back; give them to another person;
give me other things in their place; but my chief delight is You.
And You I will never give up!

Hold me to Your heart. In Jesus’ Name. Amen. 
(Adapted from, see “Puritan Prayers” below) 


Church, Alfred J. (2017). “The Examination.” Accessed 17 June 2018 from https://www.heritage-history.com/index.php?c=read&author=church&book= lions&story=examination

Leviathan Hobbes Book. (2018). Accessed 18 June 2018 from https://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Leviathan_(Hobbes_book)

Polycarp. (2002-2018) Accessed 15 May 2018 from https://www.polycarp.net/

Puritan Prayers. (17 June 2007). Modern Puritan Prayer I [Blog post]. Accessed 19 May 2018 from https://postmortemism.wordpress.com/category/modern-puritan-prayers/

Whitecross (2016). The Shorter Catechism Illustrated Accessed 15 May 2018 from http://www.shortercatechism.com/resources/whitecross/wsc_wh_026.html

© 2018 C. Richard Barbare All Rights Reserved