YOU’RE EITHER HAPPY with the result or not. Now what? What if your candidate wasn’t picked? What are you, as a Christian, supposed to do? To figure that out we must do what we always do. We ask, “What does the Bible Say?”
4 things every Christians must do for Government
The Word of God teaches us how to function with the civil authorities, especially those with whom we disagree. Whether we like who won or not, there are 4 things the Scriptures teach us about our duty to them.
1) SUBMIT – God expects His people to submit to the civil authorities. Paul wrote, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” [Romans 13:1; Titus 3:1; 1Peter 2:13-16].
It’s more than just because God said so. He explains why we are to submit. The civil authorities are “God’s minister to you for good” [Romans 13:3-4]. When we resist, we bring judgement upon ourselves. We have no fear of government even if they, unjustly, cast us into prison for our faith [Acts 5:18; Revelation 2:10]. The civil agents, when acting as God intended, are not a terror to good works [1Timothy 2:1-2; Romans 13:3].
2) RESIST – There are limitations to the above rule. When the Apostles were commanded “not to teach in this name” Peter stood up and said, “We ought to obey God rather than men” [Acts 5:29]. We are citizens of a Superior Kingdom and follow a Superior King, Christ Jesus. “But you are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, His own special people, that you may proclaim the praises of Him who called you out of darkness into His marvelous light;” [1Peter 2:9]. “He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love,” [Colossians 1:13].
We can call out the authorities when they act unjustly. This is what Paul did when he was arrested & beaten in Phillipi. Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out” [Acts 16:22-24, 35-40]. We submit when they act justly & resist when they don’t. In either case, without sin; “Be angry, and do not sin” [Ephesians 4:26a]. Submission is not authorization for abuse [1Peter 2:16].
3) GIVE HONOR & PAY TAXES – Though few ever enjoy paying taxes, God has authorized government to collect them. Jesus taught this through His own example during His time here on earth. “They say unto him, Caesar’s. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s.” [Matthew 22:21; cr. Matthew 17:24]
God explained why, they bear the sword of justice, “For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” [Romans 13:6 -7]. Tax evasion is against both the law of the land and the Law of Christ, but tax avoidance is legal under both.
4) PRAY FOR THEM – “Therefore I exhort first of all that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks be made for all men, for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” [1Timothy 2:1-4].
We should be thankful for living in a place that allows us to choose our government. We should be thankful for the peacemakers (police / military) who place themselves in harms way to maintain order. God has given us these authorities so that we can live in a free country and enjoy peace. This peace allows for us all to have a quite life and to worship God.
This peace serves another purpose. Paul continued, “For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” The peace brought to us through the civil authorities allows free course to the gospel. This can and must be done when there is no peace, but I’m grateful that, for now, we can teach the Gospel without fear.
CONCLUSION: Regardless the winner, we remain citizens of a heavenly kingdom and God still reigns. In this we can take comfort and have joy. No government, president or king should ever stop us from glorifying God nor stop us from spreading the good news.
“This matter is by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the holy ones: to the intent that the living may know that the most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever he will, and setteth up over it the basest of men.” (KJV) [Daniel 4:17]