Summary: Biblical teaching about government authority and capital punishment.
“I Don’t Like None of ‘Em!”
Grant Lovejoy, one time pastor of this church, was also my preaching professor at SWBTS. He cautioned us that there are 2 topics you never want to discuss from the pulpit: sex & politics. So let me just say, “I think that women politicians are sexier than male politicians.”
READ Romans 13:1-7
Some of you may have never realized that God’s Word speaks about government and capital punishment in the way it does.
Submit To Government (1-5)
In the passage we just read, God’s word tells us to submit to government. God’s word says, “If you’re going to claim to be a Christian, you’re going to be a good citizen.” There are some people who are good citizens who are not Christians. I understand that.
However, there are people who are good model citizens who don’t know the Lord Jesus Christ. But if you’re going to name the name of Jesus, and you’re going to claim to be a Christian, the Bible says you ought to submit to your government and you ought to be a good citizen as well.
Now why do you suppose that is? In this passage, there are at least three reasons to submit to government:
1. A spiritual reason: God instituted law and order.
It is God who set up governments. He instituted law and order. Did you know God is a God of law? That’s why He gave all the laws in the Bible. Also God is a law of order.
He doesn’t want chaos; he wants order. You can write down this reference. I Corinthians 14:33, the Bible says, “For God is not a God of disorder but of peace.” God likes everything to be in order.
Now, notice the word instituted there? In our world, God has set up several important institutions. For instance, He set up the institution of the family. In the family, he has established some lines of authority. The husband is the head of the family. The parents are to have authority over the children. When those lines of authority are broken, then chaos and dysfunction occurs in a family. You know why families today are falling apart? Because God’s line of authority is not being observed.
God also established the institution of the church. And in the church, according to the NT, He has given us spiritual leaders who are to lead by serving. In churches where they don’t recognize their spiritual leaders, those churches are splitting up and having all kinds of problems.
But also, God instituted human government. If we don’t obey these lines of authority God has established, then chaos results in our society. God wants our society to have peace and order, and that’s why he established governments. You may find this hard to believe, but the Bible says it is God who puts people in roles of leadership within governments. In Daniel 2:22, Daniel says, “God sets up kings and he removes kings.”
You may find it hard to believe, but throughout history God has been behind the scenes orchestrating events so everything will happen the way God wants it to happen.
Let me give you one example. Why do you think Caesar Augustus declared a census to be taken so everyone could be taxed? I’ll tell you why. God needed a way to get Joseph and Mary out of Nazareth and into Bethlehem, the home of their ancestors. The Bible predicted the Messiah was not going to be born in Nazareth but in Bethlehem. It was predicted 500 years before it happened. Who gave Caesar Augustus the idea to have everyone go to his or her hometown to be taxed at just perfect time? God was behind that. Are you trying to tell me, pastor, God put Hitler where he was? Yes, he did. Are you trying to tell me God put Saddam Hussein where he was? That’s right. God has also put good leaders where they have been through the years.
I know some of you are thinking, “Pastor, did God put our president in the White House? I thought we went to the polls and voted for him ourselves.” The Bible says,
“God puts leaders in places of authority.”
Concerning Washington, some of you are wondering, “Why in the world have we had men up there, who have the morals of an alley cat?” Listen to me, please. Immoral leaders are God’s punishment for an immoral culture. Wicked leaders are simply God’s punishment for a wicked culture.
Ladies and gentlemen, you may not agree with me, but for the last 30 years, America has departed from the moral standards that made us great and we’re going down, down, down, down morally. So are you surprised our government leaders both in the White House and legislature are living lives reflecting our culture? God is the one who sets up governments. He institutes governmental leaders. He said, “Because I do that, you need to submit to them.” “Even to the leaders aren’t the greatest leaders?” Yes. When Paul wrote these words, Nero was the Emperor of Rome. If you study Nero a little, you will discover he was a sadistic, cruel, wicked man. Compared to him, the worst president we ever had is on par with the pope. Nero was terribly wicked. Yet Paul is writing this word and says we’re to submit to the government authorities. You may be wondering, “Pastor, what about if our government tells you to do something forbidden in the word of God? What if our government tells us we can’t do something the Bible says we can do? Who are we to obey?” Are you ready for this? You obey God rather than man on the rare occasions it happens. Civil disobedience is right, when there is a clear conflict, between man’s law and God’s law. Sometimes Christians must commit civil disobedience and be willing to face the consequences of civil disobedience.