Several years ago I wrote an article on how Christians were to relate to the Government namely with regards to subjection to authority. Today’s post is a re0working of that article in reference to the Presidential Election and how I believe we as Christians are to move forward.
Christians, the Government, Authority, Submission, and Responsibility
How should the relationship between Christianity and Government be understood? Should they walk hand in hand? How should Christians respond when the government makes decisions or laws that contradict our ethical practices of faith?
First of all, God puts governing authorities in place and everyone is to be subject to them. Government officials should love justice (Job 34:17).
Second, governing bodies serve God as ministers of His wrath, punishing the wicked, and as ministers of blessing by honoring the upright who abide by the law (Romans 13:1-3, Colossians 1:15-16).
Third, we are to pay taxes, revere/fear the government, and give governing rulers the honor they deserve. These are not just things that Christians should do, but all people, especially Christians because it reflects well on Yahweh, whom we ultimately serve. To disobey the government is to disobey God (Matthew 22:15-22, Romans 13:4-7, Titus 3:1, 1 Peter 2:13-17).
Fourth, our ultimate authority as believers is God the Father, who will put an end to all other authorities through His Son, our Lord. Today Jesus guides and allows nations to lead as they do; God directs the course of all nations (Matthew 28:18, 1 Corinthians 15:23-25, also 2:6, Ephesians 1:20-23, Philippians 3:20, 1 Timothy 6:12-16).
Fifth, Christ is to rule in the hearts of all of His people (Colossians 3:15).
Sixth, we are to pray for our governing officials (1 Timothy 2:1-2).
People often ask the question as to when it is ok to disobey the government as believers, and the answer is found in Acts 4:19-20. While the question probably stems from our proneness towards rebellion as sinners, we must not forget that only when it requires us to deny/disobey God should we disobey our governing authorities. Peter, Paul, and even Jesus were all wrongly condemned to death, but each willingly accepted the punishment from unjust rulers knowing that those rulers had the authority and power to make those decisions. Each willingly laid down his life.
When governments outlaw the sharing of the Gospel, we may suffer, but as the Scripture says, “it is better to suffer for doing right than for doing wrong” (1 Peter 3:17). We are commanded by God to share the Gospel of Christ and must do so, even when it is outlawed and we could be killed for our faith. Let us all pray for our brothers and sisters presently facing such circumstances in other countries. Nonetheless, these members of the Church should still consider their trials as a blessing (1 Peter 4:12-19).
With regard to our current election, I would argue that given the six principles above, as Christians we should pray for the future of our government, we should accept the course things are going, and we should let our voices be heard where appropriate. It surprises me that there is still so much protesting of the election of Donald Trump. Those saying “Love Trumps Hate” seem to be full of what they are protesting against. Trump deserves a chance to lead. The news says half the country is in disarray over his being elected, but then much of the country voted to place him in office. As such, he deserves to be respected as our leader. In the same sense, those who elected Trump should still pray for and honor the current President of our country.
We should be responsible citizens and we should pray that our new leaders will love justice. We should pray that the laws being made, decisions regarding foreign policy, healthcare, immigration, and other major issues will bring Glory to God and that they will truly be what is best for our people. We should do all we are asked to do by the government so long as it does not violate our religious convictions. And when decisions violate those convictions, we must do what is pleasing to God and accept the consequences.
I implore you to pray for our country. Pray for minorities, for women’s rights, for gender equality in the workforce. Pray for those living below the line of poverty. Pray for those frustrated with the current administration. Pray for the middle class as it is being pushed to the fringe. Pray for the Native Americans and other being affected by the oil pipeline. Pray that what is noble, true, honest, and good will shine forth in our country in the coming years. Pray for those who are stressed when they think of the future of America. We are a great country, but we can always be better. Pray that life will become better for everyone over the next for years. Pray that as we become better, we will aid other countries in doing the same for their people.