The Christian Response to Government

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” Romans 13:1 ESV

People in our day seek validation of their opinions, rather than a desire to follow Truth.

Most will not be able to handle this blog. The truth of the matter is simple: People in our day seek validation of their opinions, rather than a desire to follow Truth. It doesn’t matter what is presented. Some people will forever lack a desire to change. They are going to blame anything and everyone but themselves. They will deny looking within and seeing the change that needs to take place. Rather, they will point the finger at everything external that disagrees with them or causes them to be uncomfortable.


This writing is not for the hypocritical Christians who have so much to say but so little proof to back up their opinions. It is not for those who base their Christianity off of one verse. It is not for those who spend hours watching the news and not even five minutes in the Word of God. This post is not for those who do not take time to seek after the things of God. For many will hear on that day, “‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you workers of lawlessness’” (Matthew 7:23 ESV). This is for the genuine born again believer who desires nothing but the will of God.


“He who has ears to hear, let him hear” (Matthew 11:15 ESV).



A Lack of Humility.


“First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” 1 Timothy 2:1-2 ESV

Most people don’t have the humility to respect those in authority or to honor the truth that God still rules and reigns Sovereign.

Most people don’t have the humility to respect those in authority or to honor the truth that God still rules and reigns Sovereign. Too many desire to express their uncontrolled feelings through emotional backlash, technological slander, and childish acts. Multitudes play the political game and follow the path of the world, rather than set the example and live by the Word.

Multitudes play the political game and follow the path of the world, rather than set the example and live by the Word.

We are called to respect and pray for those in authority. It doesn’t matter what side they are on. No matter who they are, we are called to pray for those in higher positions. We are commanded to pray with a genuine and authentic belief that God would change their heart to defend that which supports God’s Word (not what we think). Any prayer that is interrupted with placing our own thoughts and agenda is a prayer that is outside God’s will. We are to pray that God would touch and guide our leaders with wisdom. We are to pray that they would listen to the counsel of others and do what is best for those whom they govern, based upon the principles of God's Word.

We live in a day where many backlash the very thought of prayer. Those who call themselves Christians are the new scoffers.

Sadly, we live in a day where many backlash the very thought of prayer. Those who call themselves Christians are the new scoffers. They say, “Prayer? Are you serious!? Ha! You fool! We have to do more than that!” Ironically, these people do little, if anything, in the real world. They say all the right things online. They agree with what sounds good (yet fail to do any extended research beyond the matter). When you ask them what they have specifically done to support their views and stances on the things they fight for, they will become defensive. Why? Because they have been exposed as mere professors, but not doers. Their actions do not align with what they profess to believe or stand up for.


It is astounding and bewildering that out of the mouths of self-proclaimed believers we hear praises and singing songs about how “God can do anything”, “He can move mountains”, “God is the God of miracles”; yet, they secretly believe that God cannot do such things and that He needs them. They believe that God needs them to work and to do. Dear friend, God does not need any of us. He can make rocks do what we do (Matthew 3:9). God can do anything with anything, for He is Omnipotent and Sovereign. Yet, the pushback that true born again believers receive when we say we must pray for those in authority is still amazing. The slightest hint or suggestion triggers others and engulfs them into an uncontrollable, internal rage. Why? Because they have not the Spirit of God.

So many want to air their opinions without any sound Truth. They desire to be heard, yet, are not willing to listen to God’s Word.

It is those who possess God’s Spirit who are willing to hear the message that we must pray, even if the leader is ungodly or immoral. Yet, sadly, too many are so consumed with their own ideas and agendas, that few have the ability to humble themselves and see what Scripture has to say. So many want to air their opinions without any sound Truth. They desire to be heard, yet, are not willing to listen to God’s Word.



A Lack of Knowledge.


"My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge; because you have rejected knowledge, I reject you from being a priest to me. And since you have forgotten the law of your God, I also will forget your children." Hosea 4:6 ESV

The pride and arrogance of American Christianity is being exposed for what it is: weak, faithless, and pathetic.

Ask most self-proclaimed Christians to pray for their leaders and they will believe we have just asked them to shine our shoes. The pride and arrogance of American Christianity is being exposed for what it is: weak, faithless, and pathetic. It is un-genuine at the core. It is a faith based on feeling rather than Truth, and it is because of this feather-fluff we have from the pulpits today that many are not properly equipped in the faith, nor understand Truth in its entirety. For we are a lazy people that do not want to work out our salvation and heed the instructions of the Lord.


Ask the average Christian what God’s Word (not just Jesus in the Gospels) has to say about something. Ask how many have had an earnest desire to read from Genesis to Revelation. 95% of them haven't. The majority cannot answer the important questions of our day, based upon sound, Biblical doctrine. Why? Because luxury, ease, a love of politics, pleasure, and the good life have taken place from that which truly matters. Most people desire a faith that has to do nothing. Though we are saved by grace through faith (Ephesians 2:8), our faith is commanded to work (Philippians 2:12, James 1:22). For true faith is repentant faith. It’s not a “1, 2, 3, believe” and live the rest of your life as you always have.

Due to a lack of both knowledge and becoming students of God's Word, people are inclined to go with culture and popular psychology.

Due to a lack of both knowledge and becoming students of God's Word, people are inclined to go with culture and popular psychology. They have no clue what the Word of God says because their eyes are set upon the physical realm, rather than the Eternal One. Rather than setting their minds on things above (Colossians 3:2), they set their minds on the here and now. They are carnal Christians that give into their wants, rather than following God’s Commands. It is due to a lack of knowledge that the church looks exactly like the world when it comes to politics.



Self-Proclaimed Christians Trust the Government more than they Trust God.


"Put not your trust in princes, in a son of man, in whom there is no salvation. When his breath departs, he returns to the earth; on that very day his plans perish." Psalm 146:3-4 ESV

It is easy to discern those who truly trust God and those who trust in the government. Those who play the victim place their dependency upon a broken system, rather than in the Perfect God.

It is easy to discern those who truly trust God and those who trust in the government. Those who play the victim mentality will constantly be discontent. They are those who put their dependency upon a broken system, rather than in the Perfect God. Their lack to go before God in prayer becomes evident and exposed through their dialogue, anger, and lack of self-control on social media. The Lord commands us to "Stop regarding man in whose nostrils is breath, for of what account is he?" (Isaiah 2:22 ESV). Whoever claims to know God, but puts their trust in man, is walking on sandy ground. Their faith is not in God. Despite their words sounding religious, they are heathen at the core.

Many who carry Christ on their lips but not Christ in their hearts are Biblically illiterate when it comes to the Truths of God's Word.

Many who carry Christ on their lips but not in their hearts are Biblically illiterate when it comes to the Truths of God's Word. They hand pick generalized actions that Jesus did, without knowing anything about the context or what passages have to say in their entirety. "The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?" (Jeremiah 17:9 ESV). Many are lovers of going with their heart. They neglect to have any desire to train their mind in the knowledge of the Truth. Due to this, they become ruled by the flesh, rather than by Christ.



Bold Online. Cowards in Reality.


It is quite ironic, yet, extremely sad, that everyone is bold on the internet, but entirely frightened with in person interaction. Many enjoy a good fight on social media. If offered to sit down for a 30-60 minute discussion, however, they would not take the time. Why? Because they are those who are not willing to listen to the other side nor be rebuked by the Truth of God’s Word. They are babes in the faith with little desire to know the One, True God. They would rather live in the falsity of their beliefs, rather than to enter into Truth.



A Willingness to be Rebuked.


O, the times the Lord has had to rebuke me! The times I have been self-deceived and in the wrong. He has had to chastise, discipline, and reprove me, time and time again. By His Grace, Mercy, and the Holy Spirit in me, I am grateful for His long-suffering patience with a sinner such as me! I am pleased when He convicts me and shows me what needs changing. For I would rather die standing for Truth than to live a life in self-deception. I would rather give up the flesh and live for Christ, then live in the flesh and give into Satan.



What then must the True Believer’s Response be to the Government?


“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to avoid quarreling, to be gentle, and to show perfect courtesy toward all people.” Titus 3:1-2 ESV


We are commanded to be submissive to those in authority. Unless we are stripped of the freedoms to worship God and to seek Truth, then we are called to be submissive and obey those in authority. For God is the One Who allows individuals to become Governors, Senators, Presidents, princes, and kings within every geographical and historical location within time and space. Why? Because God is Atemporal. He exists both within and outside time. By His foreknowledge He knows what must be done and allowed for His Ultimate Divine will to be fulfilled.

If we truly believed that it's not the ballot, but God, who allows people to be raised up, then we wouldn’t fuss and be nervous when we don’t get our way.

Few know this Truth. Many who do, still disallow it from sinking deep into the heart. For if we truly believed that it's not the ballot, but God, who allows people to be raised up, then we wouldn’t fuss and be nervous when we don’t get our way. For God owes us nothing, but has given us all things through Christ.

God’s Timelessness sees that in order for His Perfect will to be fulfilled through freewill creatures, there is bound to be evil that God must allow in order to work out a greater good (Genesis 50:20).

If we are not carnal Christians, then we know the reality that this world is going to continue to get darker and darker. God shows mercy in certain seasons. Other times, He allows corrupt politicians and leaders to be raised up. For God’s Timelessness sees that in order for His Perfect will to be fulfilled through freewill creatures, there is bound to be evil that God must allow in order to work out a greater good (Genesis 50:20). This is beyond the scope of man to understand and discern, and it is a truth that we must grow in and learn.


For if we do not learn to trust the Truth of God’s Word and the Holy Spirit in us, we will continually allow fear, anxiety, anger, and depression to take root. Why? Because our gaze is upon this temporal life and not the blessed Eternity that is to come. God declares that “My thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways My ways, declares the Lord. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts than your thoughts” (Isaiah 55:8-9 ESV). Whoever is to be placed into positions of authority is allowed by God for a Divine reason. It is beyond the scope of our finite intellects to understand.



What then must our Actions look like?


“Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.” 1 Peter 2:13-17 ESV

Too many partake in the name calling of politicians. We laugh at the labels of certain parties and are partakers with the world in crudeness and rudeness.

Too many partake in the name calling of politicians. We laugh at the labels of certain parties and are partakers with the world in crudeness and rudeness. It is rather embarrassing that these actions and words are coming from the church. It’s much to be expected by the world, but we are to be set apart.


My pastor, Todd Ballard, had a wonderful sermon the other day. He brought up the point that we are not to be like the world when it comes to the church's response to those in authority. Unless we are suppressed from studying God’s Word, worshipping Him freely, or are pressured into doing what goes against God’s Word, then we are to be submissive (as the Bible commands).


He brought up the wonderful example about Paul and Daniel. These men were not thrown into jail by government authorities for any other reason than not succumbing to the government's desire to take away God’s Word, His principles, and the ability to pray, share, and worship God. The only time they were thrown in jail was when Paul kept preaching about Christ crucified and Daniel continued to pray to the One, True God (and not a man-made idol).


I found this to be eye-opening and enlightening from Todd, as it is the approach we must take (but few of us do). For “We must obey God rather than men”” (Acts 5:29 ESV), when men’s policies and desires go against God’s Word.



Let the Word of God Speak for Itself.


Let us end on Romans 13:1-7 (ESV). For God's Word says all we need to know when it comes to how we act, react, and respond to those in authority.


Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.”

We are to submit, respect, and pray for those in authority.

We are to submit, respect, and pray for those in authority. Neglecting to do so leads towards a lifestyle that partakes with the world, does not trust in the Sovereignty of God, uplifts man above God’s Word, and is led by emotion, pride, and anger.


For if Jesus replied to the man who ordered His execution on the Cross, "“You would have no authority over Me at all unless it had been given you from above”” (John 19:11 ESV), then surely we can trust God will use ungodly rulers (in any season or position) for a greater good that we have not the authority or ability to see.


Let us, then, not be consumed by the failings of man, but be seekers of God's will and students of His Word. Only then will we pray for those in authority and learn to give respect to them (even if we disagree strongly). Let us pray that those who stand for policies that defend and support God's Word would be raised up. If not, may we trust that God's Omniscience foresees other reasonings that are meant for a greater good. “For kingship belongs to the Lord, and He rules over the nations” (Psalm 22:28 ESV).


God give us the humility to do what You have commanded to do. Give us the strength to trust in You alone. In Jesus' name, Amen.


PRAYER


Heavenly Father, we humbly come before You knowing that You are Sovereign and in control of all things. You, O Lord, allow leaders to be raised up into places of authority. Lord, even if it is someone who goes against Your counsel and Word, we know that You have allowed that person to be placed for a specific reason. For all things work together for those who love You and are called according to Your purposes. Lord, You take even the wicked and ungodly and use them to reveal Your power and might. Lord, we trust in Your Omniscience and Sovereignty. You are the Incorporeal, Triune God that dwells within His Aseity. There is none like You. God, get our eyes off of the world. Give us strength to not go with the tide of what everyone is doing or saying. Even in the midst of disagreements, may we give grace and mercy. Keep us immoveable in Your Truth. Make us students of what Your Word has to say. Teach us the path of glorifying You. Lord, whoever is currently in authority or raised up, we pray that You would surround those people with true, godly servants. Lord, may those in authority be men and women who are willing to listen to godly counsel. Give them the wisdom needed to govern according to Your principles. May they defend and fight for the policies that glorify You. Draw us back as one nation under You. For a house that is split, is bound to fall; but a house united, shall stand. Help us to set aside our petty differences. May we not partake with those who are emotional driven, angry, deceived, and hypocrites. Help us to honor You by praying, submitting, and respecting those in authority. Even if we disagree with them or they go against Your Word, we know they are there for reasons only You know. Lord, protect Your people. Give guidance to those in authority. May we see a revival in the days ahead. In Jesus' name, Amen.


Lance VanTine

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