Sunday, April 17, 2011
SHOULD WE OBEY OUR GOVERNMENTS?
SHOULD WE OBEY OUR GOVERNMENTS?
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
'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? America
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
's steep decline morally and spiritually lies in that disobedience. America
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."
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.
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