What the Bible Says About God and Government?
DAY 4 | What Does the Bible Say About God and Government?
When the terrible injustice of the George Floyd killing hit the news, it was obvious that this going to make hard times even harder. From the pandemic to protests, riots, and racial tensions reaching an all-time high, I wept for our country. I opened God’s Word and reached out to others.
I talked to every black person in our church I knew; I reached out to every officer in our church as well. I invited black leaders in our church to join me for a panel discussion for a Facebook Live church service so that we might learn as a church how blacks experience racism. As well, I talked more extensively to the police in and outside our church. I found that they are growing weary of the protests, the riots, and the growing hatred towards them. The tensions were so high that every police officer I invited to join me for a discussion that would be shared online declined, in fear of death threats or harm that may come to their department, family, or themselves.
The Bible speaks of Government as part of God’s plan for good. This doesn’t mean that there isn’t corruption within the Government. Corruption is due to sin, and that’s something only Jesus can really change. I am not saying that we as a country don’t need reforms that better serve the citizens of our country. But I am saying that racism and injustice seen in the media doesn’t mean that all police are racist, and the government isn’t evil. The Bible instructs us to have a very different view.
As Christians we should seek to understand what God’s Word has to say about issues such as law and order, government, and those in authority. Romans 13:1-7 is the longest passage in the Bible to deal with this topic and deserves attention. I would suggest that you watch a recent sermon I preached on the subject, and more importantly, open your Bible and read it.
At the writing of Paul’s address to the Romans, the reader would have been very aware of the glory and shame of Rome. Nero was in power from 54 to 68 A.D. Rome was the imperial capital city. Christians were seen as subversive and outcasts; they were still considered to be a branch within Judaism. Many of the Jews of the day were tired of Rome, and despised the taxes, the pagan practices, and the heavy Roman rule. With that being said, it’s impressive to see how the Apostle Paul still challenges Christians to view the Roman government. Please do note, however, that systematic persecution had not been put into practice at the time of this writing. If it had, I think Paul would have addressed how to respond to that better. Nonetheless, we see a consistent theme of the Bible supporting the concept of government from the Old Testament to the New. Let’s read it.
THE APOSTLE PAUL ON GOD AND GOVERNMENT | ROMANS 13:1-7
“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. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 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, 4 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. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 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.”
It seems very clear that God’s Word speaks of the purpose and role of government. Below are timely truths for us to consider in light of the cultural anti-government attitude that exists in our culture today.
7 Lessons About God and Government
1. God appointed the authorities who have governmental power. (vs.1-2)
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.
2. Civil rulers are a “terror to bad conduct.” (vs.3)
For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.
3. Civil rulers give approval for “what is good.” (vs.3)
Do what is good, and you will receive his approval.
4. Governmental officials serve God. (vs.4,6)
For he is God’s servant for your good…. For he is the servant of God....for the authorities are ministers of God.
Servants and Ministers of God | Punish evil | Promote good
5. Government officials are “doing good” as they carry out their work. (vs.4)
For he is God’s servant for your good.
6. Government authorities execute God’s wrath on wrongdoers. (vs.4)
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.
7. Governing authorities and officials are owed honor and respect (vs.7)
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.
For more insight on this topic, I suggest you keep your Bible open and check out another resource that greatly aided me in my research: Wayne Grudem’s book called Politics according to the Bible. He’s done great work in dealing with the role of government and politics from a Biblical perspective. In addition, you can find the message I preached on this subject online to learn more.