October 24, 2017
The Christian and Government – Part 3
So what are we supposed to do in our relationship with our Government for “the Lord’s sake”?
Submit – Be a Law-Abiding Citizen (2:13-14)
- God commands us to place ourselves under subjection to “every” governing authority (cf. Rom. 13:1)
I know that we don’t seem to like the word “submit” very much, but that is the word that is used here. This is not a suggestion or an idea for their consideration, but we are to submit ourselves to every governing authority! Does that depend upon what type of government it is? This command is not conditional, does not state any exceptions or not dependent upon who or which party is in office. Do we see the word “every” in this passage?! That includes, I think, every type and every person of authority in the Government. Now if we go on to chapter 3 in 1Peter we will see that all Governments are to be in subjection to Jesus, so if I am in subjection to these authorities and they are in subjection to Christ, so I am subjecting myself to them for “the Lord’s sake.”
- Resisting governing authority resists God’s will & brings judgment (Rom. 13:2)
Romans 13:1-2 – Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
And you know the argument, you’ve heard it before….well what if! What if the Government puts into law something that is in violation of God’s law?
- ONLY when edicts of men conflict with the law of God can we respectfully disregard (Acts 5:27-29; 4:19-20)
What then? Well, with that exception, then and only then may I choose not to be in subjection to them! Isn’t that what the apostles did…don’t we have a number of examples where they didn’t obey the rulers and those in authority when their laws went against the Words of Christ?
(Point) – There is a law that supersedes the law of man and that’s the Law of God! That’s why the apostles said we ought to obey the law of God rather than the law of man! But if the law of man does not violate the law of God, the Bible says that I am to be in subjection to the law of man!
- WHY must I submit to government and abide by the laws?
Because of God – “for the Lord’s sake” (2:13)
We are to do it not for our sake, not for the government’s sake, but for the Lord’s sake!
Why am I supposed to submit myself to the government?
- Because they are ordained of God (Ro. 13:1; Dan. 2:21; 4:17)
That’s what Romans 13:1 tells us, and remember we saw this subjection to a government in the life of Daniel even though they did not believe in God! And anytime the law of man violates the law of God, and I choose to obey the law of God, how am I supposed to do that….I still do it respectfully!
I am to obey the laws of the government for the Lord’s sake, because the leaders have been ordained by God, and finally…
- Because they have a God-given purpose (2:14; Rom. 13:4) –
Their purpose is twofold: 1Pet. 2:14 – who are sent by Him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. That is why God ordains governments. Romans 13:4 – For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
God is very specific as to how we as Christians are to respond and react to our government. We will discuss this further next week. In the meantime….
Have a blessed week!