Sunday, April 17, 2011

SHOULD WE OBEY OUR GOVERNMENTS?

SHOULD WE OBEY OUR GOVERNMENTS?
A. Brother


Recently I have come across “Christians” who are teaching that we have misinterpreted Scripture, and that God does not mean us to obey the governments under which we live.  They talk about “good” and “bad” taxes, and that only some need to be paid.  They talk of how because their government is not a “godly” government, and is led by ungodly men who do not acknowledge Christ, that means they don’t need to obey its edicts.

There’s a big problem with this argument.  It is not in agreement with the Word of God.  And where in the world is there, or has there ever been, a government that obeys God, and is led only by godly men?  There isn’t one, and never has there been one.

For some here to say that Paul in Romans 13 was talking of obeying only godly governments instead of the pagan, worldly, local, regional, or national governmental authorities is a twisted interpretation.  Paul was inspired to write what he did by the Spirit of God, and the meaning has been clear for saints throughout history.

We have plenty of examples throughout Scripture of men of God who obeyed the authorities in their day.  Today, there are millions of believers around the world who live under godless, pagan regimes. 

They obey the authorities in every matter except this:  teaching and preaching the gospel.  (Acts 5:17-41) When a government tells us NOT to preach, teach, or share with others the gospel, we are to disobey.  For we obey God rather than men.  If a government tells you to do anything that is contrary to your conscience in Christ, you must disobey.  But the paying of taxes, and the following of day-to-day laws, and the obedience to civil and criminal law, and business law, these are required of us in Christ, whether we agree with all of it or not.

READ THROUGHOUT THE NEW TESTAMENT HOW BELIEVERS ARE EXHORTED TO LIVE OBEDIENT, QUIET AND GODLY LIVES IN SUBMISSION TO GOVERNMENTAL AUTHORITIES.

To say, as some current teachers do, that the decline of America's churches is because they have submitted to a wrong interpretation of Romans 13 is absurd.  I have attended and ministered in hundreds of evangelical churches across America for over 40 years, and yet have never heard a ringing sermon (ever) on Romans 13.  It is virtually ignored.  American Christians, if anything, are almost contemptuous of government, because of this underlying belief that their freedoms and rights allow them to ignore or fight any law they don’t agree with, no matter how small.  Why do you think that American conservative talk radio, which is mostly fueled by Christian listeners, is so blatantly contemptuous of our government?

The "we must obey God rather than men" argument only applies when, as the apostles were, we are forbidden by the authorities to speak or preach or teach in the Name of Christ.

American Christianity is apostate because the individuals who claim to follow Christ are not being obedient to Him.  Pure and simple, the problem is American "Christians", not the government.  In fact, the reason for America's steep decline morally and spiritually lies in that disobedience.

Remember, all that is not of the character of Christ in us will be burned up.  The final day will result in many surprises.

"But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience,
kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
AGAINST SUCH THINGS THERE IS NO LAW." 
Gal. 5:22,23

No government can keep you from exhibiting the Life of Christ in your body, heart and mind.  Outward laws do not quench the Spirit of God in us, nor His work in His True Church.

I suggest we put our eyes on ourselves, and quit blaming obedience to government as the problem.  We have on good authority and ample evidence, that our brothers and sisters in oppressed nations, where Christ is forbidden to be preached, still live by the laws of that nation.  All except one.  They continue to live Christ, and the display the fruits of the Spirit, and practice the only form of civil disobedience we are given in Scripture, which is to continue, no matter what, to preach and teach the forbidden gospel. 

This is what Scripture means when it says God is Sovereign, and all civil authority comes from Him.  IF WE TRULY KNOW AND UNDERSTAND THE ABSOLUTE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, IT TAKES ALL FEAR OF MAN AWAY.  WE NO LONGER GET CAUGHT UP IN FIGHTING POLITICAL BATTLES, BUT SPEND OUR TIME FIGHTING THE GOOD FIGHT OF FAITH IN CHRIST.

A. Brother

2 comments:

  1. In the realm of taxes then there should not be an issue.

    What if you live in China and the government tells you to abort your unborn child because you already have one.

    What if your governemnt wants to force vaccines or drugs upon you, do you take them because they said so.

    What if your government insists your sons and daughters are draughted into the army to kill that governments enemies.

    For most people its all about the $$$. But for me as long as what the gove says lines up with the word or God or is, neutral to it then fine. But when a governement tries to take charge over my body,my children then I am sorry I draw the line.

    Even daniel did not eat the food they said he should eat.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Anonymous:

    Your argument bears much thought. Let me ask you and others reading this to comment on the following.

    You say we should pay taxes, yet those taxes, as in the US, may go to fund abortions, give condoms to children as young as 11 years old, and fund a military presence in several wars. Do we refuse to pay taxes because some of the money is used for things that violate your conscience?

    I just filed my taxes here in the US. I know many things will be done with them which I don't necessarily agree with. Yet I believe that is up to a Sovereign God to deal with. He is able, and He will handle that. I will use my vote, and my personal influence as He gives it to me to stand for the right uses of government money. However, part of my discipline and obedience in Christ is to faithfully "render to Caesar what is Caesar's" as Christ commanded us. Do we really think Jesus Christ was in agreement with how Caesar spent the tax money He gave him?

    The forced abortion issue in China brings up many hard thoughts. Our Christian brethren there must prayerfully make that decision. If they disobey their government, there are consequences, and I'm not sure what those are. Are we willing to go to prison for our stand? Are we willing to have our son or daughter taken away from us for our stand? Are we willing to lose government benefits because we've disobeyed? These are questions of conscience they must answer. Like the "meat offered to idols" issue in Paul's day, we must do what the strength of our faith dictates.

    To your final point, Anonymous. I want you to think about something. No government can take charge of your heart and soul if we belong to Christ. This body is Christ's, and God may do with it as He pleases. It is not ultimately ours to decide over it. As Jesus said, "Don't fear those who can kill the body, but fear Him who can throw your soul into hell..."

    We must take fear out of the equation here. We are controlled too much by our fears. We have a Sovereign God who will keep us safe, no matter what a government or evil individuals do to this body, and what they require of us.

    Please remember, everyone, that Daniel was respectful of his governing rulers, and went to them with an alternative proposal, asking their permission to eat his own way. When that permission was granted, he then instituted his own eating plan. His eating was not an act of civil disobedience, but an approved thing.

    We must remember the most important examples we have of civil disobedience, and let's use Daniel and his friends. Shadrach, Meshach and Abednigo were commanded to worship the King as God. They properly refused, and were thrown into the fiery furnace, and of course, unlike many who've faced that furnace since, were saved without dying.

    Daniel hit the same problem, when the edict went out to worship only the King, and Daniel continued to have prayers in his room to the One God he worshiped. Then came his lion's den experience, again, with God saving him.

    We must trust God completely for our dealings with our governments, and remember that ultimately, we must disobey carefully and for the right reasons, with faith in our Sovereign God, not fear in our hearts.

    A. Brother

    ReplyDelete

Please give me your honest response.

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