Christians and the government

Time for me to frustrate you all some more.

I do what I can to avoid politics as much as possible, because I am not a huge fan of politics in any arena, whether the politics are in government, church, school, home or any other front. However, politics have become a part of every day life, and in some way we are all politicians, but we’re not all running for office.

I’ve recently been in debates and discussions with various people, friends mostly, about the new healthcare law, and I began to see that the main problem isn’t the healthcare law, but rather how the government seems to be “taking control and responsibility” out of the hands of the people. Now, I’ve read the Declaration of Independence quite a few times and I’ve read most of the Constitution a few times over the past year and my understanding of it is that it is the government’s job to secure those “certain unalienable rights” that we stated we had when we declared freedom from Britain. To quote the Declaration directly: “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all Men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness- that to secure these Rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just Powers from the Consent of the Governed…” The way I see it, the government is responsible for making sure that we have all of those “unalienable rights”, and this includes healthcare.

Now, Christians all over the country are protesting the government, holding peaceful protests, holding signs and taking place in rallies, fighting against our president, the congress and senate our nation put in place, and fighting against their governors and mayors in their respective states and cities. I have to say that I am very confused by this. We must have very different Bibles, because my Bible says nothing about peaceful protests, sit-ins, rallies and letter writing. These are all inventions of men, whose ways, while seeming right to them, can lead to death, being disobedience to God.

I did plenty of research and praying and meditating on this topic, looking up verses and reading several discussions online in order to make sure that I got this right. I may still be wrong about this, but I really hope I’m not.

According to Romans 13:1, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which is exist are established by God.” Paul wrote this letter to a group of believers in the city of Rome. The Romans, who were not believers, we’re taught to confess Caesar as god. For all intents and purposes, he was god. Now, the Roman Christians could not confess this, because they knew that YHWH was God, whose authority was above that of Caesar. However, they did acknowledge that Caesar was placed there by God, though they did not know the reason. Jesus is even quoted as saying to the Pharisees, one of the ruling Jewish classes, that we are to “…render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s; and to God the things that are God’s” (Matthew 22:21b). Now, the specific context was that regarding taxes, but the implications go deeper than that. Jesus commands those who questioned Him that they are to obey the governing authorities as long as it does not interfere with the laws of God.

Back to Romans, Paul states that those governing authorities that exists are put there by God. That’s a hard concept to grasp, especially in light of events such as the Holocaust and the Islamic Extremists who rule in various parts of the Middle East. But I am certain that every governing authority is put in place in order to further the will of God and to show His sovereignty on this earth. It is not always easy to accept this, but the Bible makes that clear. Paul goes on to say that those who oppose the governing authorities oppose God and they will receive condemnation (13:2). Even more interestingly, Paul states that the government is a “minister of God to you for good” (13:4). No matter what, it is a minister of God. Finally, Paul states in verse 7, “Render to all what is due to them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor”. I think Paul makes this all very clear: we are to obey and be in subject to the government, as long as it does not interfere with the laws of God. I have never found a single thing in my Bible that states or shows that it is okay to protest the government or to refuse to obey its laws. Search all you want, you won’t find it.

What does this have to do with the healthcare law? Simple. President Obama, our Senators, our Congressmen, and the judges of the Supreme Court have all ruled that this new healthcare law is good. This actually looks a lot better that God’s laws on what we should do regarding healthcare (see the book of Leviticus for more information).

Over the years, we, as Christians, spiritual descendants of Abraham and the Jewish nation, have lost respect for the governing authorities. Instead of submitting to them, we have smeared the name of our submissive Lord Jesus, who did not fight the established Roman or Jewish authorities, but rather taught people how to rightly live.

My brothers and sisters in the Lord, please submit yourself to the governing authorities, showing all respect to those in power, remembering that they are in place because God has placed them there, for what reason we can not understand.

But there is a purpose, just as Pharaoh had a purpose in Egypt when they enslaved the Jewish nation, just as Herod and Pontius Pilate had a purpose in the execution of Jesus Christ, just as Saul, later named Paul, had a purpose in the persecution of Christians before he encountered Jesus on the road to Damascus, and just as Adolf Hitler, Sadam Hussein, and Osama bin Laden had their purposes in the atrocities they committed.

I will not condone evil actions done by any government, but I will strive to live as Christ taught me live, so that I have nothing to fear from the government. I urge you all to do the same.

For further Biblical reading on Christians and the government see the following passages:

Romans 13
Titus 3:1-2
1 Peter 2:13-17
1 Timothy 2:1-2

For a good read about the Christian’s duty to honor their government, read The Christian and Civil Government, a study by Bob Deffinbaugh on Romans 13:1-7.

There is but one God, and He reigns supreme over all the earth. May He alone be praised.

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