A Christianís Call to Respect and Obey Government Ė Is it Conditional?
A Christianís Call to Respect and Obey Government Ė Is it Conditional?
The Inauguration of the United States President happened on January 21, just as it does each year. This time, itís a man we know, of Christian background and theology. The preceding election in November that brought him to this day was historical in its own right. Around our democratic country, record numbers of voters made the trip to the poll booth to cast their vote.
The news media seemed surprised when President Bush was re-elected. The country was aghast! Or was it relieved? Are we a nation fed up with promiscuous, permissive lifestyles of individuals that then infringe on otherís rights? Or are we a nation of selfish, ungodly heathens?
Why do I need to know about anyoneís sex life? Who thinks itís wonderful to turn on the television and see graphic sex scenes, profanity, violence, gluttony? Remove ďChristĒ from Christmas? Doesnít this strike anyone as odd?
Hereís the rub. Iíve been a die-hard Democrat most of my adult life. And I didnít vote for Bush in 2000.
I voted for him in 2004, though. Why? Because I think weíve collectively allowed ungodliness to progress too far. I donít believe Bush can stop the progression of the decline into ever-increasing immoral activities, but I do believe that with a man of God at the helm, the progression might slow. And the next four years may give Christians time to lead others to Christ and prove that Christianity is not a hate-crime. True Christians are lovers of Christ and their fellow man. But they answer to God, and He wrote the rules Ė not man.
My opinion is not a popular one if one listens to or reads the news. Iíve now become a minority, as have other Christians. For the first time in history, Christians have been arrested in the United States for merely reading centuries-old Scriptures.
The deepest core of me, perhaps a seed planted by Godís Word, longs for a more moral society; and an end to the ever-increasing permissiveness which reminds me of Sodom and Gomorrah.
My hope, as I voted for Mr. Bush, was to keep this country under the leadership of, not a perfect man, but, a man who listens to God. A leader who asks for prayer from the people of his country, and who is not afraid of stating his faith.
In the meantime, though, even after Mr. Bush leaves as our leader in 2008, I hope our country keeps working hard to become a more moral nation.
But what if a more permissive leadership team was about to be sworn in? Am I required to submit to a government that goes against my deepest moral beliefs, planted in my being by the breath of God and learned through His written, Living Word? Am I required to submit to laws that go against Godís laws? What is Godís Word on this dilemma?
1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. (emphasis mine) 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. (New International Version (NIV) Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society)
Godís Word is an outline of how to live life, and I searched it for an answer as to what to do if an ungodly government comes into leadership. I had not noticed before the reference to leadership Ė for he is Godís servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is Godís servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. (Rom. 13:4, emphasis mine) It seems simple Ė submit to a leader who is Godís servant.
But what if that leader is not Godís servant? Instead, what if that leader is a servant of man, who serves other gods, such as greed, power, popularity, promiscuity, profanity . . . the list is endless.
Am I required to submit to a government that does not operate under Godís laws? More on the subject is found in 1 Peter 2.
I believe the next decade will bring more instances of hate crimes, not against homosexuals, or liberals, or whoever, but against Christians Ė Christians who dare to stand under Godís laws, the same laws under which our ancestors founded this country.
If it comes to obeying manís law that goes against Godís law, which law will I choose to obey?
I pray, regularly, that God, through His Holy Spirit within me, will strengthen me and provide wisdom as the years continue to unfold and civilization continues to decline. If it comes to spending time in jail to guarantee my everlasting life with Jesus, really Ė is it even a choice? Can I stand strong, convicted in my belief, and suffer for my Savior as he suffered for me?
I choose Jesus, and I can do so without hating anyone. I grieve for all persons, who in their defiance of the Truth as found in Godís word, continue to make manís laws supersede Godís. I grieve for my children and grandchildren. For my friends and loved ones. For those who continue to argue the rightness of individual rights, even if those rights are forbade by God. What will happen to these people at Judgment? I fear for all of them, as well as myself if I prove not strong enough to obey God.
These thoughts lay heavy on my mind and in my heart as I discuss with God the state of the world, especially the United States.
I pray Mr. Bush remains strong as a servant of God, and I can submit to his leadership as instructed in Romans 13:4.
I pray city, county, state and regional government also fill their leadership positions with servants of God. Without godly servants to submit to, weak Christians may falter when arrested for their beliefs, because those beliefs break manís law.
We have entered a time of confusion and uncertainty as Satan plays his last cards to win over to the dark side as many souls as possible.
I plead with readers to pray for our country, our leaders, and ourselves. In no other time in history, perhaps, has the question of submission to government become most important. Seek Godís leading as the ultimate authority. Follow the command of Jesus, to love God above all other gods, and love your fellow man as you love yourself.
As for me, I hope to be like Jesus and the martyrs of Christianity. Without violence or destruction, Iíll peacefully be jailed, if need be, if submission means betraying my God.
In His Service,
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Words from my own heart, Dian. I wrote a similar article after the election last year expressing your sentiments. We live in difficult, frightening times with serious concerns. We each must search our hearts and search God's Word for answers. Your prayers are also mine. Yours in His name, ladybug Karen