This Biblical Christianity website encourages people to know and to live, God’s Word; thus enabling us to live now as God intended for us to live, and preparing us for eternal life in God’s kingdom.
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ROMANS 13:1-7.... Let every person be loyally subject to the governing (civil) authorities. For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God's appointment. [Prov. 8:15.] Therefore he who resists and sets himself up against the authorities resists what God has appointed and arranged [in divine order]. And those who resist will bring down judgment upon themselves [receiving the penalty due them]. For civil authorities are not a terror to [people of] good conduct, but to [those of] bad behavior. Would you have no dread of him who is in authority? Then do what is right and you will receive his approval and commendation. For he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, [you should dread him and] be afraid, for he does not bear and wear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant to execute His wrath (punishment, vengeance) on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be subject, not only to avoid God's wrath and escape punishment, but also as a matter of principle and for the sake of conscience. For this same reason you pay taxes, for [the civil authorities] are official servants under God, devoting themselves to attending to this very service. Render to all men their dues. [Pay] taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, and honor to whom honor is due.
As Christians we need to remember that our real citizenship is not of this world, "But we are citizens of the state (commonwealth, homeland) which is in heaven, and from it also we earnestly and patiently await [the coming of] the Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] Savior, Who will transform and fashion anew the body of our humiliation to conform to and be like the body of His glory and majesty, by exerting that power which enables Him even to subject everything to Himself" (Phil. 3:20-21). Therefore, "What [business] of mine is it and what right have I to judge outsiders? Is it not those inside [the church] upon whom you are to pass disciplinary judgment [passing censuring sentence on them as the facts require]? God alone sits in judgment on those who are outside. Drive out that wicked one from among you [expel him from your church]" (1 Cor. 5:12-13).
Therefore, when we use physical force, as some are suggesting, to oppose our regional government we are actually inferring that God is not handling things properly, and end up interfering in God’s business and plans. Any form of government is better than mob rule and anarchy, and God knows best.
1 PETER 2:11-17.... Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul. Conduct yourselves properly (honorably, righteously) among the Gentiles, so that, although they may slander you as evildoers, [yet] they may by witnessing your good deeds [come to] glorify God in the day of inspection [when God shall look upon you wanderers as a pastor or shepherd looks over his flock]. Be submissive to every human institution and authority for the sake of the Lord, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to bring vengeance (punishment, justice) to those who do wrong and to encourage those who do good service. For it is God's will and intention that by doing right [your good and honest lives] should silence (muzzle, gag) the ignorant charges and ill-informed criticisms of foolish persons. [Live] as free people, [yet] without employing your freedom as a pretext for wickedness; but [live at all times] as servants of God. Show respect for all men [treat them honorably]. Love the brotherhood (the Christian fraternity of which Christ is the Head). Reverence God. Honor the emperor.
It is so easy and common for Christians to forget, or never to have realized, that our first responsibility is to our soon coming King, Christ Jesus and His kingdom. There are many well-meaning Christians who believe and are even suggesting taking up arms and revolting against our national government for usurping unconstitutional authority over the rights of our several states. These are matters that must be decided legally through our state courts, and not by stirring up the natural and sensual urges of the people to take measures into their own hands by gathering together a mob. A mob is a mob no matter what they may call themselves, and a person who stirs up or agitates a mob is a mob-stirrer, and for that reason they often get out of control and cause even more and greater problems.
Doesn’t the above phrase, "Beloved, I implore you as aliens and strangers and exiles [in this world] to abstain from the sensual urges (the evil desires, the passions of the flesh, your lower nature) that wage war against the soul" suggest that we should refrain from being involved in such activities? A peaceful gathering to show support for a just cause is commendable and appropriate, but we need to be ever watchful and careful, because it has been the practice of the enemy to infiltrate the ranks of well-meaning citizens to stir up and excite them into unlawful practices, which end up furthering their evil intentions instead of accomplishing anything good.
2 TIMOTHY 2:1-19.... So you, my son, be strong (strengthened inwardly) in the grace (spiritual blessing) that is [to be found only] in Christ Jesus. And the [instructions] which you have heard from me along with many witnesses, transmit and entrust [as a deposit] to reliable and faithful men who will be competent and qualified to teach others also. Take [with me] your share of the hardships and suffering [which you are called to endure] as a good (first-class) soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of [civilian] life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him. And if anyone enters competitive games, he is not crowned unless he competes lawfully (fairly, according to the rules laid down). [It is] the hard-working farmer [who labors to produce] who must be the first partaker of the fruits. Think over these things I am saying [understand them and grasp their application], for the Lord will grant you full insight and understanding in everything.
8Constantly keep in mind Jesus Christ (the Messiah) [as] risen from the dead, [as the prophesied King] descended from David, according to the good news (the Gospel) that I preach. [Ps. 16:10.] For that [Gospel] I am suffering affliction and even wearing chains like a criminal. But the Word of God is not chained or imprisoned! Therefore I [am ready to] persevere and stand my ground with patience and endure everything for the sake of the elect [God's chosen], so that they too may obtain [the] salvation which is in Christ Jesus, with [the reward of] eternal glory.
11The saying is sure and worthy of confidence: If we have died with Him, we shall also live with Him. If we endure, we shall also reign with Him. If we deny and disown and reject Him, He will also deny and disown and reject us. If we are faithless [do not believe and are untrue to Him], He remains true (faithful to His Word and His righteous character), for He cannot deny Himself. Remind [the people] of these facts and [solemnly] charge them in the presence of the Lord to avoid petty controversy over words, which does no good but upsets and undermines the faith of the hearers.
15Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness. And their teaching [will devour; it] will eat its way like cancer or spread like gangrene. So it is with Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have missed the mark and swerved from the truth by arguing that the resurrection has already taken place. They are undermining the faith of some. But the firm foundation of (laid by) God stands, sure and unshaken, bearing this seal (inscription): The Lord knows those who are His, and, Let everyone who names [himself by] the name of the Lord give up all iniquity and stand aloof from it.
Paul reminded Timothy, in the passage above, to not get unduly involved in the affairs of this world; we have responsibilities to our families, church and the region in which we live, but our first responsibility is to our Lord: "No soldier when in service gets entangled in the enterprises of [civilian] life; his aim is to satisfy and please the one who enlisted him." He rules over us all and we are to follow His rules, not those of mere men.
Paul went on to say that he was in a government prison only because of his faithfulness to proclaim the Gospel of Christ, but he still maintained our responsibility to be obedient to the civil authorities, and never suggested forcefully taken matters into our own hands. What he did admonish us to do was to: " Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing [rightly handling and skillfully teaching] the Word of Truth. But avoid all empty (vain, useless, idle) talk, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness." He recognized that we first need a right understanding of God’s Word before we can make right decisions, and have the ability to recognize worthless and ungodly talk that leads to problems.
Even though the United States came into existence through rebelling against and fighting England, the situation is quite different now. There was a time when God directed the nation of Israel to destroy the wicked nations of Canaan, but when the Israelites rejected God’s rule God used the wicked nation of Babylon and others to remove most of Israel from the land they had polluted; this second stage appears to be the position the US is presently in. Also, banding together with unbelievers to enter Canaan was something the Israelites never did nor would God have allowed, I think for us to do so at this time would greatly compromise our relationship with Christ. We each need to be drawing near to God and prayerfully seeking his will as to what He would have us to do; when we hear from Him we can go on our way with confidence – where He leads me I will follow!
First and foremost, Jesus is Lord and King over a great heavenly kingdom that is not of this world: "Jesus answered, My kingdom (kingship, royal power) belongs not to this world. If My kingdom were of this world, My followers would have been fighting to keep Me from being handed over to the Jews. But as it is, My kingdom is not from here (this world); [it has no such origin or source]" (John 18:36). That God is in complete control is demonstrated by Jesus when Pilate returned later to continue his questioning, "The Jews answered him, We have a law, and according to that law He should die, because He has claimed and made Himself out to be the Son of God. So, when Pilate heard this said, he was more alarmed and awestricken and afraid than before. He went into the judgment hall again and said to Jesus, Where are You from? [To what world do You belong?] But Jesus did not answer him. So Pilate said to Him, Will You not speak [even] to me? Do You not know that I have power (authority) to release You and I have power to crucify You? Jesus answered, You would not have any power or authority whatsoever against (over) Me if it were not given you from above. For this reason the sin and guilt of the one who delivered Me over to you is greater" (John 19:7-11).
Neither are we, as His followers, engaged in a physical battle, rather we are to engage in the spiritual battle for truth – God’s truth: "For though we walk (live) in the flesh, we are not carrying on our warfare according to the flesh and using mere human weapons. For the weapons of our warfare are not physical [weapons of flesh and blood], but they are mighty before God for the overthrow and destruction of strongholds, [inasmuch as we] refute arguments and theories and reasonings and every proud and lofty thing that sets itself up against the [true] knowledge of God; and we lead every thought and purpose away captive into the obedience of Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed one)" (2 Cor. 10:3-5). Further more, since God’s ways and man’s or the world’s ways are so opposed and opposite to one another, God has instructed us not to be unduly aligned or associated with them: "Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers [do not make mismated alliances with them or come under a different yoke with them, inconsistent with your faith]. For what partnership have right living and right standing with God with iniquity and lawlessness? Or how can light have fellowship with darkness? What harmony can there be between Christ and Belial [the devil]? Or what has a believer in common with an unbeliever?" (2 Cor. 6:14-15).
This brings us to our second point or reason for not being involved in using physical force in an attempt to establish an earthly government. Jesus said, "Now the judgment (crisis) of this world is coming on [sentence is now being passed on this world]. Now the ruler (evil genius, prince) of this world shall be cast out (expelled)" (John 12:31), and then identified Satan as this ruler (Jn. 16:11). Christ’ kingdom is a heavenly one, this world is largely under the control of Satan, with the exception of God’s heavenly citizens – unless they too have been deceived by Satan. There is no possible way that we as citizens of God’s kingdom can unite and work together with unbelievers in an attempt to establish God’s rule without eventually compromising our relationship with Christ – the ways and means of these two groups are too different to be compatible.
Thirdly, God emphatically states "For there is no authority except from God [by His permission, His sanction], and those that exist do so by God's appointment." As we have already seen, God holds exclusive and total control over this world and all His creation; the Church or God’s heavenly citizens are responsible for conducting business in the Church, not the world using worldly means, but as foreigners living lawfully in a world we do not really belong to. We have already seen or considered Paul’s admonition to Timothy not to become entangled in the affairs of this world.
I have heard good, well-meaning, Christian commentators try to suggest that Romans chapter thirteen and 1 Peter chapter two only refer to a general template or pattern that God desires for worldly governments, and that they do not really mean that God has anything to do with allowing evil governments to exist. But they end up straining and twisting the contents of these passages by using too much human reasoning without any Scripture to back it up, to arrive at this conclusion. We instead, need to take these passages by their literal meaning and recognize that God is telling us that He is truly in control of all worldly processes, even if we do not always recognize, understand, like or agree with His plans. Then we should attend to the business He has assigned to us, and not interfere in what He is allowing or bringing to pass, and, not get entangled in or with the things of this world – unless He specifically leads to do so.
Listen to what God told Jeremiah, "IN THE beginning of the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the Lord: Thus says the Lord to me: Make for yourself thongs and yoke bars and put them on your neck, and send them to the king of Edom, to the king of Moab, to the king of the Ammonites, to the king of Tyre, and to the king of Sidon by the hand of the messengers who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. And command them to say to their masters, Thus says the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Thus shall you say to your masters: I have made the earth, the men, and the beasts that are upon the face of the earth by My great power and by My outstretched arm, and I give it to whomever it seems right and suitable to Me. And now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, My servant and instrument, and the beasts of the field also I have given him to serve him. And all nations shall serve him and his son and his grandson until the [God-appointed] time [of punishment] of his own land comes; and then many nations and great kings shall make him their slave" (Jer. 27:1-7). We need not fret ourselves and try to change the world, God is in control!
Unless we are taught, believe and practice a correct Biblical Worldview, we will not be able to see and understand how God could expect us to live in the manner presented in this article. Please notice that I am not talking about an American, Republican, Christian or any other kind of worldview, but only a distinct Biblical Worldview. As an example, the reaction of most Christians when they read the sermon-on-the-mount is that Jesus must not mean exactly what He said – nobody can live like that. And we have all tried to find some other explanation for the simple straightforward words that Jesus spoke – but He did really mean what He said!
The early Christians followed Jesus’ examples and teachings, and left the outcome in God’s hands: "For even to this were you called [it is inseparable from your vocation]. For Christ also suffered for you, leaving you [His personal] example, so that you should follow in His footsteps. He was guilty of no sin, neither was deceit (guile) ever found on His lips. [Isa. 53:9.] When He was reviled and insulted, He did not revile or offer insult in return; [when] He was abused and suffered, He made no threats [of vengeance]; but he trusted [Himself and everything] to Him Who judges fairly" (1 Peter 2:21-23). This is an example of Jesus practicing what He had preached to the people in the sermon on the mount, and the following is an example of what Jesus expects of us.
Did not Jesus say, "This is what I command you: that you love one another. If the world hates you, know that it hated Me before it hated you. If you belonged to the world, the world would treat you with affection and would love you as its own. But because you are not of the world [no longer one with it], but I have chosen (selected) you out of the world, the world hates (detests) you. Remember that I told you, A servant is not greater than his master [is not superior to him]. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you; if they kept My word and obeyed My teachings, they will also keep and obey yours. But they will do all this to you [inflict all this suffering on you] because of [your bearing] My name and on My account, for they do not know or understand the one Who sent Me" (John 15:17-21).
If our Biblical Worldview doesn’t include these, as well as other, Kingdom principles and teachings we are likely to disregard some important truths in God’s Word and instead pick up the ways and means that this ungodly world system uses in an effort to better their way of living. For additional information regarding this important subject see our webpage, Thy Kingdom Come, Thy Will Be Done.
Finally, there is nothing in the New Testament, that I can see, that even suggests that God would have us to use physical force to establish an earthly government; just the opposite is true according to the Scriptures we have already considered. In fact wars, fighting and killing are what sets apart the kingdoms of this world from the Kingdom of our Lord Jesus Christ! Christians may get involved in them, but I don’t think that would be God’s first choice, nor do I believe that it would make any difference – God is in charge!