By Randy Keene
Pastor, First Baptist Church, Minor Hill
Focal Passage: Romans 13:1-10
Politics is not my favorite subject to talk about these days. It seems we are in a very sensitive era when it comes to politics and government. But as the child of God, we must reflect His attributes and not those of the world. There are several Bible passages that deal with government and politics but Romans 13 is probably the one most preached and studied. Paul was very familiar with Roman politics so it is fitting he offers some wise advice on how Christians should relate to government.
In verses 1 through 4 he urges believers to respond to government with obedience, submitting to the governing authorities.
Scripture does make one exception when we are told that when obedience to civil authorities would require us to be disobedient to God’s Holy Word. Since God is the sovereign ruler of the world, He has instituted four authorities — government over all its citizens, the church over all believers, parents over children and masters over employees.
In verse 2 he goes as far to say disobedience to these would result in rebellion against God Himself. The condemnation spoken of here, according to John MacArthur, “is not judgment from God but punishment from the authority itself.”
God has established these forms of government to establish some sort of social order. Do you remember over in the book of Judges that the Bible says there were no judges in those days and every man did what he thought right in his own heart. Well there is only one big problem with our hearts, they are deceitfully wicked.
In a perfect world, the government should punish wrongdoers and reward law-abiding citizens. As believers, we can disagree with and even protest actions taken by government that conflict with our responsibilities and duties we have to God.
So out of the sense of obligation to God and to keep a clear conscience before Him, we do this not merely to avoid punishment from civil authorities but to honor God. I have always told my children and others that if you honor God He will honor you. As Christians we should and must respect and honor government. I have been earnestly praying for government leaders for many yours now.
I say earnestly because I haven’t always done that. It started after a National Day of Prayer breakfast I attended and the speaker was the father of one of the fallen young ladies at Columbine High School. He blamed himself for not having the school covered in prayer. He pleaded with us to remember to pray for those in authority over us all. God really got ahold of me that day and made me a real prayer warrior.
Paul adds a lasting truth in the next few verses. He reminds us love for other people is the guiding light to success in all our relations, and as people of faith, we should be setting the bar very high by our thoughts, words and actions. We shouldn’t be afraid to speak up about injustices of violations of morality and ethics. Really, we should be the poster child for it.