The answers to the questions are quite clear, if you will but seek the wisdom offered by God, and contemplate them, Jesus needed to die in the eyes of the ruling clans of His day because the people were beginning to follow Him instead of them. Authority needed to be exerted so they would not lose their position, both in an authoritarian way and in their social status, those who are in power fear most to lose that power.
I have heard it said that those with great financial wherewithal know full well that the most valuable item they can purchase with that money is power over people, its call is both subtle and blaring at the same time. It is not always money that can sway people to follow an individual though, through sheer force of will many have had the ability to cause others to follow them, “For scarcely for a righteous man will one die: yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.” (Romans 5:7) These are the leaders in most societies, but unless they are leading the way to Christ, then they are false leaders, and these imitators know full well that power is the path, and on that path those who will not follow must be intimidated. It most generally is set up in a non-descript way, simple rules and regulations will usually do, stop at stop signs or pay a fine, observe the pre-set rules or face a penalty, one either of a morality sort or imprisonment.
The essential key is to control the masses through fear, it is an indisputable fact, in whatever form the ruling class is set up, care and concern is the façade, disobey the rules, and the false storefront is removed, and you will be shown that it is not you that is in charge. The standards can and will be modified at the will of the ruling individual or class structure that has been set in place, what has been determined to be beneficial to most is enforced upon all, stop at the stop light, pay your taxes, lock your church doors, what is decreed is what will be enforced, possible negative consequences always incite fear, always.
We are to obey all the laws of man, (1 Peter 2:13) unless they go against the will and Word of God. (Acts 5:29) To modify those thought process’, that faithfulness to Christ and to His Word, is the all-encompassing goal of the world, it has been since Satan crept into the garden of Eden, and it has continued up to this day. The ruling class of any day hates the followers of Christ, for they follow Him completely, thus usurping their assumed authority, the lost soul hates us because they believe themselves to be the final word for the direction of their own lives. We represent here on this earth the One True Authority, all are under the Sovereign power of Almighty God, and as such, we are known as killers of pride.
To stop at the stop sign is not only common sense, but concern for those who inhabit this planet with us, it shows a form of love, to keep the church doors open says to the world that we serve not only a Higher Master, but the only True Ruling Authority over all creation, yet in the interest of safety and because of the possible repercussions from the governing authorities we lock them. Because of the fear of possible repercussions in the form of embarrassment all the way to the possibility of our death at their hands, we fear to witness to the lost. In any and either case, one of our responsibilities as messengers of the Word of God is to inform all that we meet that they are not in charge, that the assumed power they wield is only that, assumed, and will either die when they do, or will be shown in time to be what is always was, a lie.
Those in positions of authority over us have been placed there by God, (Romans 13:1) sometimes for good, sometimes not, (Prov. 29:2) it depends greatly on how much the followers of Christ are following Him. One example of this would be the Book of Judges, follow for a while, leave for a while, face the consequences of the actions against the Lord God, repent, follow…. The cycle is never ending, and it has not changed one bit in our day. Think on this my friends, does the wrath of God come, does He turn His face away from any nation because the sinners are sinning more, or because His children have decided to seek their own way. The lost are expected to do what they do, not one action they perform should surprise us, they are wicked, and the wicked act wickedly, it matters little if they are serial killers or live a morally correct life, both will spend eternity in the lake of fire, (Rev. 21:8) but the born-again believer who is not serving Christ, who has no intentions of dying to self, who keeps one foot in the world and makes it his friend, this my brothers and sisters will bring consequences to all who inhabit that nation, this will prove the truth of Matt. 5:45 “The rain falls on the just and on the unjust.”
The more we acquiesce to the precepts of man, the more we deem them more important than the commandments of God, is the day that the wrath of God begins to be kindled, for He will suffer none of His children to become petulant. Ambassadors of the kingdom of heaven live by the rules of heaven, they bow the knee to no other master, though the worst persecutions await them, they will stand with their brothers who said, “If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king. But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.” (Dan. 3:17-18)
I have read and heard of such people in my day, men and women who bear the privilege and honor to carry the name “Christian” upon them, but I have met few in person. Most that I meet fear, most have excuses they have rationalized within their minds, most have no right to speak the words, “For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” (Phil.1:21) Most are hearers only, finding a form of solace only within the confines of the church building, a building now locked in “The interest of safety.”
If you are going to serve Christ, safety in this world should be the last thing on your mind, the word fear only enters your thoughts when it is attributed to Almighty God, and your life should count as nothing, for “I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” (Gal. 2:20)
I never thought I would live to see the day when the word “Christian” would be laid down beside the word “World,” and be unable to tell the two apart, but I am naïve, I thought we were meant to stand, no matter the circumstances, no matter the consequences. Live and learn I guess. “If we suffer, we shall also reign with him: if we deny him, he also will deny us.” (2 Tim. 2:12)