God’s view on civic responsibility
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.” (Romans 13:1-6)
Sometimes this passage gives Christians fits because it says that we are to be submissive to governments because they are ordained of God. Even President Obama and Syria’s President Bashar Assad are in power because God placed them where they are. We can’t pretend to understand why God allows evil leaders, but we know that He is in control and has His purpose in doing so.
God does not approve of evil leaders, but in His purpose, He sets them up and allows their evil. God never approves a sin, but He allows it for His purpose, which, at least in part, is to show forth His love, mercy, and grace. The evil leaders will be punished in due time.
We all know the Old Testament story of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego. They are the best example I can think of on how to submit and still remain faithful to God. They refused to bow to the idol, but they submitted to the king.
Although government can be corrupt and demand ungodly things, government’s purpose is to keep order in sinful society. It is a Christian’s civic duty to submit to government. When the government commands us to do something contrary to God’s precepts we are not to do what government says, but we are still to be submissive. We submit to the punishment of the government and trust God to deliver us as He chooses.
God’s view on taxes
“And Jesus answering said unto them, Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s. And they marvelled at him.” (Mark 12:17)
This verse actually deals with more than just taxes. It deals with all of our responsibilities toward government. The immediate discussion is about taxes so that is what we will look at.
God ordained government so there would be order in society. Without taxes there can be no government. Without government everyone does that which is right in his own eyes and we have chaos.
Even if the taxes are unjust, which they often were in Bible times, we are to pay them. The people have a right to overthrow a corrupt government, but while that government is in power we are to submit to it. In America, we can overthrow corrupt leaders at the ballot box. The sad thing is that many who call themselves Christians are more interested in their own affairs that they are in what is right. They, like the lost of the world, vote for those who promise to give them what they want instead of voting for what is right in the site of God.
God’s view on welfare
“For even when we were with you, this we commanded you, that if any would not work, neither should he eat. (II Thessalonians 3:10)
Self sufficiency is what made America great. For the first 150 years of our history personal responsibility was the order of the day. With the Great Depression the government started to become nanny of the people. Some say that the policies of the politicians of the day prolonged the depression.
It always takes time to transform a people. In the 1940’s and 1950’s most people held to the idea of personal responsibility, but with the Hippie movement of the 1960’s and 1970’s this was lost on many of our young people. This was the start of what we see today in our welfare programs. Like some of our European neighbors, once one is on welfare, they are on it for life. No society can long afford that drain on its financial system.
God’s plan has always been “if any would not work, neither should he eat.” To many in our society this seems harsh and even cruel to some but a welfare system like ours does more harm to those who on it and to society in general, than it does good.
The Bible clearly teaches charity toward those who are in true need. Our passage does not say if any cannot work, it says if any will not work. There is a big difference between the two.
The problem with our present welfare system is that man, by nature, is selfish. This is why socialism and communism can never work. These systems say that everyone puts into the pot according to his ability and everyone takes out according to his need. Everyone will put in as little as possible and take out as much as possible.
I have counseled with people who were quite capable of holding down a job but they won’t get one because they are afraid of loosing their welfare check. The job would pay them two or three times what they make on welfare, but their fear keeps them from getting a job. This is how government traps people in a form of bondage to government. Look at Greece. Their people cannot live without the welfare of the state and the state cannot afford to keep giving it.
God’s view of His people on earth
“But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: Which in time past were not a people, but are now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy. Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation.” (I Peter 2:9-12)
Christians are a special people who are left on earth to bring glory to God. We must remember that we are just passing through. This world is not our home. Our responsibility as Christians is to point the world to God and to His righteousness.
We point people to righteousness by living righteously ourselves. The world will speak against us as if our living as righteously as we can is an evil thing. You will notice that many today call evil good and good evil.
If we live according to righteousness some will be drawn to Christ and some will rebel all the more. Both will one day glorify God because of our righteous living. Those who get save will do so when the Holy Spirit visits them and draws them to salvation. Those who rebel will glorify God in the judgment when it is too late for God’s mercy.
God has one vision of society and sinful man has another. God’s vision is better than man’s. We can see this in the prosperity of Israel when she was faithful and the problems and judgment when she was not. We can also see the truth of this when we look and America’s history. When we were faithful to God’s precepts we prospered and grew but when we turned our backs on Him as a nation we started our decline.
I will leave you with this question: “How do you think we can restore our nation, through politics or through righteousness?”
Copyright 2017 Pierre Coovert, All rights reserved