Our Submission to Government. 9/8/16.
We are now 2 months away from the Presidential Election in the United States. Since the beginning of this year I’ve been posting special Devotional blogs for us to consider what God is doing and what we can be doing regarding the coming United States election. We’ve talked about “Political Prayer Preparation”, the “Decision America Tour 2016”, “God’s Power in the 2016 Presidential Election”, the “Presidential Primary Election” and “Walking in the Old Paths”.
Recently I’ve talked to people who are scared about the coming election. Honestly, I’m not thrilled with the choices but we must have faith that God is in control and He will put who He wants in the White House. If that is the case, what am I responsible for? Let’s look at 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.”
I have 8 pages of notes on these 7 verses but in the interest of time and applicable content, here are the key points. We should notice this applies to “every soul” so no one is exempt from the command to submit to the government! Paul also doesn’t exclude any government and manages to neither recommend or condemn any form of government. He is well acquainted with how many politicians are corrupt, “oppressive…immoral and selfish” but “neither he nor the Bible has one word of advice for the believer [except] submission. Think about how David handled being hunted by Saul (1 Sam. 26:9, 10). The only caveat to this submission is when the government is in contradiction to the Bible (Acts 5:29, etc.). Regarding Christians who have stood against a government Chuck Colson says, “in each case its purpose was ‘to demonstrate their submissiveness to God, not their defiance of government’” (Source 1). It would never be proper to rebel against a government that wasn’t breaking God’s law but it becomes the Christian’s duty to resist a perversion of God’s law and given authority.
So it comes down to trusting in God and what He will do in this election and, as long as it doesn’t contradict the Bible, what our role of submission to these authorities looks like. It is a very un-American thing to submit to the government…but it is a very godly thing. And as for me and my house, we will submit and serve the LORD.
Source 1: John R.W. Stott, The Message of Romans, 1994, p. 342.