God and Government
Contrary to some opinion, God and government are very much intertwined. There is no such thing as “separation of church and state” from God’s perspective. Of course, I don’t mean that God intends for the government to control the church. Mankind has gone down that road before and it doesn’t work well at all. What I do mean is that God is in charge of human government and has His hand in it; no matter who is ruling. And God’s word reminds His people of their responsibilities in government. Let’s read 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. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 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. 4 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. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”
God is never surprised by who wins an election or what king/queen or dictator comes to power. Remember that Paul wrote these words during a time when the Roman government was very oppressive and cruel. Yet, Paul sees the responsibility of the Christ follower to submit to the government. The exception here would be when obeying the government means disobeying God. Isn’t it interesting that Paul, nor Jesus, ever rail or complain about the government? Isn’t it interesting that neither of them advocates for the overthrow of the oppressive regime? Why not? I believe it is because the government, and even the abuses of the government, were far secondary to the importance of sharing the gospel and living the gospel in front of a watching world. Do we think anything has changed? Are we to shift our priority to effecting government change? I don’t think so. I don’t believe this precludes the Jesus follower from working to see laws in place that follow biblical principles and I think Christians are to attempt to alleviate suffering brought on by governmental abuse, but let’s not for a second believe that reforming government is going to bring spiritual blessing or fruit. It’s not going to happen; at least as I see it. Paul exhorts Timothy to pray for those in charge of us. I advocate that. I think if Christians did that, we might see the change that many desire in world government. But many would rather post memes than pray. Don’t do that. God is in control of government. He is sovereign over every sovereign ruler. We can trust in His activity; even when a ruler is doing something ungodly. How can you follow Christ in a broken government…by closely following the King of Kings!