Summary: Much has changed in the past 10 years since our country was attacked. Some feel that the increased role of government in our lives has been too much. As Christians, what are our obligations to the civil authorities as well as to those whom we live in th
Our Obligations as Christians
The Christians’ Obligations to the Powers that Be
We should Submit to them
The Christians’ Obligations to the People by Me
We should Love them
It is hard to believe that it has been 10 years since America was attacked by terrorists on 9/11.
For any of us that are 15 or over, there is no doubt that it is a day that you will never forget.
Over the past 10 years, we see that it is not only a day we remember, but a day that has had effects in our everyday lives.
Many of us don’t look at tall buildings the same anymore.
For some, the loss of a friend or family member continues to affect you.
For our country as a whole, there have been changes in the way that our government seeks to protect us.
New laws have made for longer lines at the airports and have given new surveillance powers to government officials who now have the ability to watch and spy on individuals without many barriers.
Some of these changes have been good even though they may add new burdens to our everyday lives. Other changes have made many people uncomfortable.
In the immediate aftermath of 9-11, our country experienced a unity like we had not seen in years, to a place today that has brought a lot of distrust of our government and government officials.
As Christians, what should be our view toward our government and government officials?
How should we view them?
How should we conduct ourselves in relationship to them?
As providence and God’s sovereignty would have it, we are at a point in our study of Romans where Paul, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit addresses just some of those questions.
So if you would turn with me in your Bibles to Romans 13
Let’s see what Paul has to say about this.
Let’s read Romans 13:1-7
1 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.
6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Ok, Paul starts out talking about
The Christian’s Obligation to the Powers that Be
And one of the first things he says is that
We should Submit to them
Submit ourselves to the government? That seems so un-Christian since we claim Jesus as Lord and not any man or manmade institution.
But Paul tells us here that the authorities that exist have been established by God.
That is a pretty bold statement.
All the authorities that exist have been established by God?
And we should submit to them?
I want to look at this in 2 pieces, because we have seen instances in the Bible where people do not submit to the civil authorities.
But first, I want us to consider the statement that all authorities have been established by God.
We have seen throughout history and throughout the Bible, in fact, some not very nice people who have been the leaders of nations and governments. Are we to believe that God is the one who has established them?
Yes, He has.
Now this does not mean that He condones everything that governments do, but He has used wicked governments in the past.
Let’s look at a couple of Biblical examples.
Babylon was an evil nation with evil leaders. At that same time, God’s people, Israel, were wicked and disobedient to the Lord as well.
In Habakkuk, the prophet cries out to God about the injustice and wickedness that he sees in the land Israel and listen to what God says about the wicked Babylonians.
Listen to this oracle from Habakkuk
Habakkuk 1:5-7, 11
5 "Look at the nations and watch — and be utterly amazed. For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told. 6 I am raising up the Babylonians, that ruthless and impetuous people, who sweep across the whole earth to seize dwelling places not their own. 7 They are a feared and dreaded people; they are a law to themselves and promote their own honor… [They are] 11 …guilty men, whose own strength is their god."