Summary: A look into how Christians interact with human government
God and Government
CCCAG September 26th, 2020
Scripture- Romans 13
I'm going to be honest with you.
Out of all the scriptures in Romans, this is the one that I wanted an excuse to avoid because it’s the scripture that everyone will have a strong opinion about, and even more so, strong emotions about, particularly in the climate we are in as a nation right now.
Maybe not here in our church, but those on listening to the podcast.
On the surface Romans 13: 1 through 7 seemed to be very plainly written. We will of course read them in a moment, but to summarize, it says to be good citizens of whatever nation you live in, obeying its laws, keeping your head down, and being a law abiding and productive citizen
Paul doesn't give a lot of equivocation here or a list of exceptions to the rule.
But what happens when the government turns against its citizens and begins to do things that are in conflict with our faith?
When is it right to rebel against a human government that God ordains?
That's going to be the challenge that we face today as we study God's word.
Since this might be a little contentious ,I want to ensure 2 principles for us before I begin-
1. Are we a church family? Do we really believe that? I ask this question because families might disagree at times, even passionately and loudly, but in the end, they are still family and we chose to share life together. At the end of today’s message, we will take a few moments for discussion. Even if you disagree with me or someone else’s opinion remember- we are still family and love one another.
2. The bible interprets the bible. When we see a strong proclamation like this, we look at the entirety of the bible to see its application throughout biblical and to a smaller extent, church history. That will lead us to several examples we will briefly look at today.
So let’s dig in.
Everyone 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. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For 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. 4 For 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. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.
I want to make a quick point here and I've said this many times before -the way the Bible is laid out that the chapter and verse markings are not inspired of God.
The Holy Spirit did not tell the authors things like chapter 3 verse 16 for God so loved the world that he gave his only begotten son.
2 Peter 1:21 For prophecy never had its origin in the human will, but prophets, though human, spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit.
The chapter and verse markings as they stand today were added though out the middle ages by both Roman Catholic and Protestant theologians to make it easier for people to find specific thoughts and for study.
They are indispensable to us today. Imagine me standing up on Sunday morning and saying, “Turn in your bibles to that part in Roman’s where Paul talks about being submissive to authority…you know, about 65% into the book. I’ll wait.”
The one problem with chapter/verse markings is that they were not always placed well. Very often, they separate trains of thought and separate subordinate ideas away from the central ideas.
Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God's mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God — this is your spiritual act of worship. 2 Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God's will is — his good, pleasing and perfect will.
Why does this matter?