GOD AND THE GOVERNMENT
There are three institutions that touch our lives daily. They are family, church and government. Two of these were ordained by God. God established the family with one man and one woman. The man and the woman were to be married till death. Children were to be born into a family where a man and a woman were married to each other. The man and the woman were to be married and they were to stay faithful to each other. (Genesis 1-3) The church is God's second Divine institution. There is one church. This church is composed of only saved people and of all the saved people. This church was purchased with the blood of Jesus. (Matthew 16:13-18, Ephesians 5:23-25) The third institution that touches our life is civil government. God did not ordain any certain kind of government; government was intended to help good people and to help maintain God's universal laws of morality. (Romans 13)
Jesus taught that government should be respected. Peter was disturbed by some people asking him, "Doth not your master pay tribute?" They were asking Peter if Jesus paid his proper taxes to the government. Jesus told Peter, "Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee." (Matthew 17:27) Jesus was teaching that we should respect civil government. He taught the same thing as he answered a question about paying tax or tribute to Caesar. He said, "Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.' (Matthew 22:19-21) Government exists with God's approval, but God intended that government obey Him.
How should political leaders view themselves? Political leaders should be able to view themselves as examples to the people. In all of their actions, laws and policies God's will and desire should be considered. Government should be focused on honesty, peace and godliness. Paul wrote, "I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty." (1 Timothy 2:1-2) Sadly, government is not that way at all in our world. What a wonderful world we could live in if government was based on the will of Christ and existed to the glory of God. I would like to say to our political leaders that the very work and end of your office is that, under your government, the people may "lead quiet and peaceable lives, in all godliness and honesty." Government leaders should be ministers of God for the good of the people. (Romans 13) Micah 7:2-3 gives a description of government that sounds like our day. "The good man is perished out of the earth: and there is none upright among men: they all lie in wait for blood; they hunt every man his brother with a net. That they may do evil with both hands earnestly, the prince asketh, and the judge asketh for a reward; and the great man, he uttereth his mischievous desire: so they wrap it up." Both the politicians and the people should do better than we are doing.
What should be the standard upon which governments operate? If governments are operated upon the idea of the ruler of darkness what outcome could we expect? Paul said, "We wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places." (Ephesians 6:12) Secularism and humanism have become the controlling factors in our government. Nations are under the power of Satan when outward affluence and pleasing self are its highest aims. The kingdom of God and the kingdom of Satan are directly opposed to one another both physically and spiritually. Earthly kingdoms either give their power and control to Satan or to the Son of God. Every step a nation takes away from God is a step into moral and spiritual darkness. To earthly minds all things appear earthly. God describes civil rulers as "a minister of God for good." How can he be a minister of good if he fails to rule by God's word? He is a "revenger to execute wrath on him that doeth evil." But how could he be this or do this if he does not know good from evil. "Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20) The goal of our leaders should not be war and bloodshed. The goal should be quietness and peace. There should be morality and decency. Christ is the source of all authority. "All authority is given unto me in heaven and in earth." (Matthew 28:18) Earthly rulers should follow the authority, justice and holiness of the True and Everlasting King.
You have the wonderful privilege to know God, to obey His will and to be a citizen in His kingdom. Be converted now! To become a Christian you must hear the gospel (Romans 10:17), believe in Jesus as the Christ (John 8:24), repent of all sins (Acts 17:30), confess Christ as Lord (Matthew 10:32) and be baptized to be saved. (Mark16:16) After baptism remain faithful to God. (Revelation 2:10) Let us never forget that, "Righteousness exalteth a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people." (Proverbs 14:34)
By Charles Box, Walnut Street Church of Christ, 306 Walnut Street, Greenville, Alabama 36037