TITLE: THE CHRISTIAN AND HIS GOVERNMENT
Subtitle: How Far Should Patriotism Extend?
To learn what the Bible has to say about a Christian's responsibility to his/her government, we turn to Romans, chapter 13, beginning in the first verse:
"Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God. by His permission, His sanction; and those that exist do so by God. s appointment. Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged. in divine order. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves. receiving the penalty due them. For civil authorities are not a terror to [people of] good conduct, but to [those of] bad behavior. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation. For he is God. s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, [you should dread him and] be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God. s servant to execute His wrath (His punishment, His vengeance) on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God. s wrath and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principle and for the sake of conscience. For this same reason you pay taxes, for [the civil authorities] are official servants under God, devoting themselves to attending to this very service. Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due. (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, verses 1 through 7)
The activities and actions of various Christian groups and individuals during the past few years have graphically demonstrated a general lack of understanding of what the Word of God teaches regarding this subject. Many of these same Christians have been those who insist (correctly) that the Bible is the infallible, inerrant, plenary and verbally inspired, (fully. every word) Word of God, yet they apparently have not read this particular text carefully. It is the definitive doctrinal teaching by the apostle Paul concerning our proper relationship with governments and it makes no distinctions, or "cuts us any slack" where good or bad is concerned. At the time Paul penned these words, Rome ruled the known world with an iron fist and her emperors were wicked and ruthless. Slavery was an every day fact of life throughout the empire. Yet, most historians report that the Roman regime prided itself upon maintaining "law and order". For several hundred years, the general populace did not have to worry about lawlessness being a wide spread problem. It is against this historical background that we must view Paul. s teaching and understand that he is speaking under the direct inspiration of the Holy Spirit. Notice that he tells "every person" to be loyal and subject themselves to the governing civil authorities. Why would he do this? Doesn. t he know that these bureaucrats are wicked? He quickly answers our question by saying, "For there is no authority except from God. by His permission& " He goes on to add: "and those (civil governments) that exist do so by God. s appointment." In other words, Christians must obey those in authority because the sovereignty of Almighty God placed them in their respective positions. Therefore, do you realize that William Jefferson Clinton is the present occupant of the White House because God put him there? We do not have to like him, or approve of him, but we sure are supposed to obey him! The only instance in which we must disobey the civil authorities. regardless of which country we may find ourselves in at the time. is if, or when, they order us to do something illegal, immoral, or is contrary to the commandments of God. This premise is based upon the words of Peter in Acts 5:29, when he told the Sanhedrin council. after being commanded to cease preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus Christ. that, "We ought to obey God rather than men." If we ever find ourselves in the situation where God must be obeyed rather than men, we must respectfully decline to do whatever is commanded and then take whatever punishment is meted out with the proper attitude. Inflammatory rhetoric and insults in such situations is not only dangerous, it is actually sinful! We need to consider the Lord. s deportment during His illegal trial and subsequent murder by crucifixion. If anyone ever had justification for anger and resentment. He certainly did! But He conducted Himself in the same manner in which He taught His disciples in the "Sermon on the Mount". When He was brought before Caiaphas the High Priest and the assembled Sanhedrin council, he refused to speak in His own defense even though accused by many false witnesses. Only when the High Priest put Him under oath did He speak. We read in Matthew 26:62-64:
"And the high priest stood up and said, Have You no answer to make? What about this that these men testify against You? But Jesus kept silent, And the high priest said to Him, I call upon you to swear by the living God, and tell us whether you are the Christ, the Son of God. Jesus said to him, You have stated [the fact]& " (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary, emphasis mine).
Although the Lord had no respect for the wicked actions of this "kangaroo court", He did respect the law of the land and truthfully answered when placed under oath. (Which is more than we can say for a certain individual!) Human government was founded by God very early in human history as recorded in the Book of Genesis (9:6), where God commanded Noah to institute the lawful practice of capital punishment:
"Whoso sheds man. s blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God He made man." (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).
Those who would attempt to argue against capital punishment, do so in spite of clear bible teaching to the contrary. But the point that we want to make is that Christians have no excuse for disobeying the law of the land. "Civil disobedience" is a political concept utilized years ago by Mahatma Ghandi in India to gain independence from Great Britain. It has been used since then by those who seek to overturn certain laws by what amounts to a popular uprising by a portion of the electorate. It is nothing more or less than a pressure tactic and just because it is occasionally effective does not mean that Christians should employ it. To be disobedient is to break the law. and as we pointed out earlier. this is only justified in rare instances for the Christian.
With these principles in mind, I call our attention to something that has occupied the hearts and minds of the so-called "Christian Right" for several years. In an effort to combat the downward spiral of our culture and desertion of the national political heritage, various individuals have sought to mobilize Christians to "do something about it". Speeches, fund raising efforts, and political rallies went into full swing and various Christian leaders came forth to do battle. In the interim they learned that the majority is not "moral" and coalitions of dissimilar beliefs are not as easy to hold together as originally thought. The effort was doomed from the very beginning because our Sovereign God is not swayed by politics! This world. the United States included. is headed for hell and man. s puny efforts to delay the inevitable through political means are pathetic. What we should be doing is rallying our forces behind a movement to seek God. s face through personal and national repentance and prayer. Heaven sent, Holy Ghost Revival is the only thing that might possibly slow down God. s judgment. because judgment will eventually fall and we can count on it! God. s Word says so.
Frankly, I am tired of hearing from those who. with good intentions. insist that Christians must get involved in the political process, as if this were the answer. Yes, we should be responsible citizens and vote our conscience, but our nation did not get into the mess that it is in due to a lack of patriotism or by political intrigue. These are just symptoms of a much deeper problem: moral decay brought about by spiritual "lukewarmness". Unless the spiritual climate is brought back to a red-hot fervor by revival among God. s people, "all the king. s horses and all the king. s men" will not be able to save Humpty-Dumpty.
Patriotism is a good thing and we should exhibit a love for country and defend our way of life against all that would try to take it from us. But there exists in our nation a misguided and mistaken premise that continues to pop up in the exhortations of those trying to rally the Christian troops. It goes something like this: Our nation was founded as a Christian nation, based upon Christian principles, and our constitution is a divinely inspired document. While it is true that some of our founding fathers were Christians and they helped to legislate Christian principles into our governing documents, to say that our nation has ever been "Christian" and our constitution divinely inspired, is to stretch the truth! Under the best of circumstances genuine Christians have always been in the minority in any given situation and the founding of our nation is no exception. We are the victims of historical "spin doctors"! George Washington chopping down the cherry tree, not being able to tell a lie about it, and throwing a silver dollar across the Potomac River are but three examples of what I am talking about. Without a doubt, God has greatly blessed this nation, but it has been in spite of our founding principles and not because of them! I know that almost sounds like heresy, but hear me out.
Have you ever considered the fact that the very basis for our nation being free. the precious freedom that we love and cherish and try to "export" far and wide. was a sinful act and contrary to the Word of God? Remember that verse 2 of our text in Romans 13 says:
"Therefore he who resists an sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged. in divine order. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves. receiving the penalty due them."
King George of England was on the throne during the 1770. s and was God. s duly constituted authority over the American Colonies at that time. Our founding fathers were enraged over the king. s heavy taxation of the colonies and the fact that they were not represented in the English Parliament. The first signs of rebellion appeared when the "no taxation without representation" slogan began to be heard. When political redress was not quickly forthcoming, some of the men took it upon themselves to dress up like Indians and boarded merchant ships in Boston harbor, where they threw the cargoes of tea overboard. This "Boston Tea Party" paved the way for more acts of rebellion to follow. In a short time shots were fired and the "Revolutionary War" was underway. When the king was defeated and the colonies gained their independence, freedom was finally achieved. The hated taxes were no longer hanging over their heads and happiness reigned. The leadership of the new nation then began the process of organizing their government and the principles by which it would operate. The constitution and bill of rights were written and, as the story goes. we live happily ever after. In a little over two hundred years the United States of America has become the greatest nation in the entire world. God has undoubtedly blessed us more than any other nation in history and the pragmatists among us. basing their conclusions upon the blessings. proudly point back to our "Christian heritage". I hate to burst your bubble, but the Word of God says in Galatians 6 and verse 7:
"Do not be deceived and deluded and misled; God will not allow Himself to be sneered at. scorned, disdained or mocked [by mere pretensions or professions, or His precepts being set aside],--He inevitably deludes himself who attempts to delude God. For whatever a man sows, that and that only is what he will reap" (Parallel Bible, KJV/Amplified Bible Commentary).
Our nation was founded upon the sinful act of rebellion and we must never allow ourselves to come to the conclusion that God just "looked the other way"! He considers the act of rebellion to be as serious as that of witchcraft (1 Samuel 15:23), and has also been known to bless in spite of sin (for reasons known only unto Himself). so the pragmatists had better be careful where that conclusion is concerned. Let. s look again at verse 2 of Romans 13:
"& And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves. receiving the penalty due them."
Who is to say that God will not yet bring judgment upon America because of our "original sin"? I believe the hour is near at hand and when it does fall, the blame will not be due to a lack of involvement in the political process.
Are you prepared to stand before God and give an account of your life? Have you been a good steward of the blessings He has entrusted to your care? Each of us must realize and understand that good stewardship also involves the proper respect for, and use of, the freedoms we enjoy. Regardless of how they came into our possession, many good men and women have shed their blood and given their lives to protect and retain them. We owe them a debt of gratitude.
If you have accepted Jesus Christ as your personal Savior, but have been very lukewarm in your spiritual walk with Him, you need to immediately ask Him for forgiveness and for renewal. He will instantly forgive you, and fill your heart with the joy of the Holy Spirit. Then, you need to begin a daily walk of prayer and personal Bible Study.
If you have never accepted Jesus Christ as Savior, but have come to realize His reality and the approaching End of the Age, and want to accept His FREE Gift of Eternal Life, you can also do so now, in the privacy of your home. Once you accept Him as Savior, you are spiritually Born Again, and are as assured of Heaven as if you were already there. Then, you can rest assured that the Kingdom of Antichrist will not touch you spiritually. If you would like to become Born Again, turn to our Salvation Page now.
We hope you have been blessed by this ministry, which seeks to educate and warn people, so that they can see the coming New World Order. Kingdom of Antichrist. in their daily news.
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