Subject To The Government

As a Christian, you are a member of the Kingdom of God.  There are righteous rules and commands that you follow.  The Kingdom is ruled by our Holy God and His Son, Jesus Christ.  They are righteous, loving, merciful and all wise and they rule with justice.  Since you live in the world, you also are under an earthly, carnal government.  There may be corruption, injustices, and tolerance of evil practices. 

As a Christian, how are you to deal with your earthly government?  Romans 13:1-7 “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.  Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.  For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.   Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.  For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.  Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”  This passage of scripture is very important for understanding the relationship you should have with earthly governments.  First, understand that the earthly governments are set up by God and that if you go against these governments, you are going against God.  If you violate the laws or do evil, you can expect to receive consequences from the government which is a servant of God.  If you do good, you most likely will not have anything to fear from the government; they are there to help you and protect you from others who do evil.  It is appropriate for you to pay taxes and customs; you should have appropriate respect and honor for the government. 

It shouldn’t surprise you that leading individuals in the government are corrupt.  While some may be righteous, most are not.  Daniel 4:17b  “In order that the living may know that the Most High rules in the kingdom of men, gives it to whomever He will, and sets over it the lowest of men.”  This implies that God uses corrupt and ungodly individuals as rulers in earthly governments.  Even though there may be corruption in the government, you still have a responsibility to obey and support your government and honor the rulers. 

Your job is to submit to the ordinances and laws of your government.  1 Peter 2:13-17 “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good.  For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men— as free, yet not using liberty as a cloak for vice, but as bondservants of God.  Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king.”  As a Christian, you should not be known as a lawbreaker or rebel against the government.  God wants you to be submissive to the government so you can silence people who look for ways to condemn and criticize the followers of Jesus. 

Of course there may come a time when the government demands that you do something contrary to the righteousness of God.  The apostles ran into that problem.  Acts 5:29 “But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: ‘We ought to obey God rather than men.’”  When you have to make a choice between obeying the government or obeying God, your choice must be to obey God. 

It is appropriate to pray for your government.  1 Timothy 2:1-2 “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.”  The important thing to pray about is that the government will rule in such a way that you can live your godly life in quietness and peace. 

I encourage you to submit to your government, obey its laws, honor the rulers, and pray for those who are in authority.

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