Grace For Your Day September 4

On the wall of my house hangs a framed page from the Geneva Bible which was published in 1560. The significance to it is that it was the first English Bible printed with study notes and it was largely responsible for the later publication of the King James Bible in 1611. The reason for this is because one of the study notes indicated that it is a Christian’s duty to submit to God first and the king second which infuriated King James at this time. He was so angry that he labelled the remark as “seditious” and he hired a team of translators to produce another translation of the Bible known as the KJV which is still with us today.

The point is that Christians have been wrestling with the government for a long time. Whether it be in the 16th Century or the 17th Century or today, the church has always had to struggle with how it should respond to a fallen state. Fortunately, the Bible speaks to that issue because there are numerous passages that address it. Here are a few examples:

Romans 13:1-4 says:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.
First Timothy 2:1-2 says:
First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

First Peter 2:13-17 says:
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.

In each of these passages, we find several principles for the biblical purpose of government such as:
1). The government exists to restrain evil.
2). The government exists to protect and support its citizens.
3). The government exists to punish lawbreakers.

As you hear that, you might be tempted to point out that the government does not always do those things and you would be right because there are times when our political leaders fail in their God-ordained role. This is why the Lord allows us to disobey them (as we will see next week). However, before we get into the issue of civil disobedience, we need to understand what the Bible does say about the role that God has assigned for our leaders because it will help us to have some perspective on this.

As long as our political leaders are doing what God has ordained them to do, we should follow them in that. For example, if they pass a law which says that it is illegal to shoot firearms into the air in a crowded room, we should follow them in that. If they pass another one which tells us to drive on the right-hand side of the road, we should follow them in that too. If they pass another one which tells us not to litter, we should do the same because it helps them to keep law and order. Even though the Bible does not mention those things per se, those laws still enable them to protect their citizens in a calm and decent manner and we should be mindful of it. We do not need to make their job harder than it is by being defiant in everything which is what we are going to talk about this week at Grace Fellowship Church.

This week, we are going to talk about “The Biblical Purpose of Government.” In order to do that, we will look at the following passages: Matthew 22:15-22; John 18:28-40; Romans 13:1-4; First Timothy 2:1-2; and First Peter 2:13-17 among others. As we do so, we will find that even the worst governments in history have succeeded in keeping some of these principles and we need to do our best to honor them as they do so. As John MacArthur writes, “Respect for human leaders was the norm for the early church … The situation is not much different in our culture today. There is a general bias against the truth and righteousness that genuine Christianity stands for, but we as believers should nevertheless live as Godly citizens who support the civil authorities.”

If you are interested in learning more about that, our service will begin at 9:30 on Sunday morning. The sermon will be recorded and placed on our You Tube channel later for any who are unable to make it in person. I look forward to seeing you there!

– Jeremy Cagle
Posted in
Tagged with