“Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Romans 13:2
Last week we gave an overview of where our government started and the process of how it has declined and fallen away from Judeo/Christian values and principles. But the biblical mandate for believers in scripture is one of submission to those in authority over us who are placed in their positions by God.
“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1
Today I want us to take a brief look at the role of human government which is outlined in one particular verse in 1 Peter.
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 1 Peter 2:13–15
The biblical role for human government is simply two-fold: “punish those who do evil and praise those who do good.” Clearly our current government in this country is struggling with this simple, yet far reaching task.
We need to be reminded that the God given role of human government is not to set the moral agenda and standard for our country. We have gone down that road in the past; i.e. the Moral Majority; Concerned Women for America just to name a few. Outside of their three comfort issues—abortion, marriage and human sexuality—the Christian Right has not showed up for the battle over American culture. They have been AWOL in the great fight over human destiny. The enemies of Christianity—many of whom are members of both political parties—have romped to cultural victory after victory, unopposed by the Church. Let me just remind of you a basic biblical principle that as believers we often forget; simply that the moral, social, and political state of a people is irrelevant to the advance of the gospel. Jesus stated this principle very plainly and clearly to the political figure of His day.
Jesus answered, “My kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, my servants would have been fighting, that I might not be delivered over to the Jews. But my kingdom is not from the world.” Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world—to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.” John 18:36–37
Let me share with you a quote from Dr. John Macarthur:
“God has above all else called the church to bring sinful people to salvation through Jesus Christ. Even as the apostle Paul described his mission to unbelievers, so it is the primary task of all Christians to reach out to the lost “to open their eyes, in order to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan to God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins and an inheritance among those who are sanctified by faith in Me [Christ]” (Acts 26:18; cf. Ex. 19:6; 1 Pet. 2:5, 9). If we do not evangelize the lost and make disciples of new converts, nothing else we do for people—no matter how beneficial it seems—is of any eternal consequence. Whether a person is an atheist or a theist, a criminal or a model citizen, sexually promiscuous and perverse or strictly moral and virtuous, a greedy materialist or a gracious philanthropist—if he does not have a saving relationship to Christ, he is going to hell. It makes no difference if an unsaved person is for or against abortion, a political liberal or a conservative, a prostitute or a police officer, he will spend eternity apart from God unless he repents and believes the gospel.”
When we choose to politicize our faith it not only blurs our priorities, but weakens our loyalties. The last time I checked, our primary citizenship is not on earth but in heaven.