Christians and Government
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God (1Peter 2:13-16). (Photo from Microsoft Clip Art)
GOD IS THE AUTHOR OF HUMAN GOVERNMENT. The most basic unit of government is the family and that is God’s doing. The family controls children and property and after that primary unit of government, all other laws and units of government are constructed. Government is helpless to birth children and it is ill-equipped to raise them. Someone wrote this maxim: “The hand that rocks the cradle rules the nation.” Maybe we should rewrite that maxim to say: “The hand that rocks the cradle has a big influence on the nation.
TOTALITARIAN GOVERNMENTS KNOW THAT TO BE IN CONTROL, they must separate the children from the influence of the parents. The Communists knew that. Hitler of NAZI Germany knew that. We must never forget that mothers and fathers cannot be replaced. Never!
I READ THIS STORY MANY YEARS AGO. In the early days of the Russian Revolution (1917), women were forced out of their homes and put to work alongside men in factories and the streets. State nurseries were quickly set up to take care of the children. No adequate provision was made for the proper care of thousands of small children. The state-owned nurseries were in chaos.
In many cases, new-born and infant-size babies were sent home at night with “some mother” and not necessarily with their own mothers. When exhausted mothers came to the nursery for their babies they were often horrified that they had the wrong baby. The exhausted nursery attendants rebuffed them with: “Take this baby and go home! Maybe you will have your baby back tomorrow! What does it matter? You have a baby. Someone will take care of your baby tonight.”
Buildings were filled with rows of baby beds and attendants were assigned to walk between the rows and attend to the babies as they could. Babies were never held or rocked to sleep. There was no mother to sing to the babies. They began to die…by the hundreds. The babies would not eat but withered and died. You won’t find much written about this sad chapter in Russia. Babies need to be held and touched and talked to and loved.
The Communist Party worked hard at correcting the situation. By 1930 (thirteen years later) they had refined their approach with the idea that their nurseries must be a bastion of good treatment and indoctrination of the children into communism. In later years, state governments in the United States began to send committees to Russia to study “the fine models of child rearing” performed by the Russian system.
STRANGE THAT OUR "EXPERTS" WOULD TRY TO LEARN FROM RUSSIAN SOCIALISTS how to raise children. Unless…our "experts" are interested in importing Russian socialism into our country. We are left with the question today: “Who owns the children? The parents or the state?” Remember this: “The family is the basic form and building block of government.” President Abraham Lincoln knew this: The philosophy of the school room in one generation will be the philosophy of government in the next."
BUT STILL, WE HAVE HAD THIS IDIOM FOR CENTURIES: “Bad government is better than no government.” This is said on the assumption that “no government” is the “worst state of chaos” imaginable. It’s even worse than communism.
SUBMIT YOURSELVES TO EVERY ORDINANCE OF MAN -- For centuries this has been a troubling passage. It need not trouble us if we acknowledge that it assumes the government official is God’s servant, God’s minister who punishes evildoers as God defines them and praises those who do well as God defines those who do well.
Sometimes we may think we have the most incompetent government in the world with all the corruption and incompetence. The president may feel like he lives with a congress and senate of drugstore cowboys. In fact, we may get the idea that our government officials are nothing more than men and women much like ourselves who rule in our place. And that would be correct. In America our Caesar is the Constitution and not the President. We are a republic (we elect others to make government decisions for us) and it is very human and sometimes incompetent.
IN AMERICA OUR CONSTITUTION IS THE SUPREME LAW OF THE LAND. The president is not the supreme law of the land, nor the congress nor the courts. The ultimate power of law in America rests in the people who elect officials and rests in the power of the jury to convict or to set men free. Beyond the people is the hand of the Almighty God from whom flows liberty and power and wealth.
We are a nation of law. Bastiat wrote a book: The Law which declared “the law is king.” That was opposite to “the king is law.” That’s why our Republic (we are NOT a democracy) was called by its founders “the great experiment,” a test to see if common people can possibly rule themselves by electing leaders to run their public affairs. It had never been done before. Ben Franklin said to the people in Philadelphia: “You have a republic if you can keep it.”
A DEMOCRACY IS A SITUATION WHERE EVERYONE VOTES ON EVERY PUBLIC ISSUE and the simple majority wins. That is the worst kind of government because it is subject to the passion of the moment and is very unstable. A majority could vote to sell the property of the minority and the minority would be helpless to vote against it.
A CONSTITUTIONAL REPUBLIC IS A SITUTATION WHERE EVERYONE WHO WILL VOTE, elects others to represent them for a period of time and to make decisions on their behalf. We have a constitution that governs how laws may or may not be written. Then we have the laws that govern not only the citizens but also govern those elected officials who make our laws and those who enforce the laws. Finally, we have the courts that make endless judgments about all kinds of things to settle disputes. We have: a republic.
TODAY'S TEXT PRESIDES OVER THE GOVERNMENT OF ANY AGE AND ANY TYPE of government. If we think our government is crazy and unfair, we might pause to consider how bad it would be if we lived under anarchy where there were no laws and no order resulting from the people submitting to government authority. Bad government is almost always better than no government. God instituted government to control the depraved nature of man that is willing to rob and kill others. God knew what He was doing.
IN AMERICA, IF WE THINK THE GOVERNMENT IS NOT RIGHT, we have a God-given duty to participate in our government which is “of the people, by the people, and for the people.”
GOD REQUIRES US TO SUBMIT TO GOVERNMENT "FOR THE LORD'S SAKE." Does God give kings and governors the right to make up their own laws and command people to go against the law of God? Not at all. God’s law is supreme above all government officials and all the laws of men. America’s Declaration of Independence holds that men ought to obey laws as long as they can but there may come a time when rulers are so repressive that people have a right to resist them.
But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard (Act 4:17-20). See also: Romans 13:1-7.”
FOR THE LORD'S SAKE -- Because he has required it and has entrusted this power to civil rulers. See: Romans 13:5. Ephesians 6:7. John 19:15. Acts 17:7.
AS SUPREME - Not supreme in the sense of being superior to God, or not being subject to him, but in the sense of being over all obedient to God and God’s law. God never gives a King the authority write laws contrary to God’s laws. The King is God’s servant.
This is why we have the words “punishment of evil doers” in our text, and praise of them that do well. These words require that someone define “evil” and “them that do well.” God always defines good and evil; not the king. So then, God’s people always look to the law of God, the word of God as supreme and we look for the laws of men to track those laws.
Our judges may not know why they wear black robes. It’s because in earlier years they were considered on the level of God’s priests who had a God-connection. They judge for God, in God's place. Not merely a nice, formal attire, but dressed as God’s ministers. Ω
Read Through the Bible in a Year
JANUARY 29, 2018 – MONDAY
A.M. Exodus 19-21 P.M. Matthew 20:1-16
(Bible Gateway will read this to you if you like. Look for the speaker icon.)
A Good Verse to Memorize:
Before I formed thee in the belly I knew thee; and before thou camest forth out of the womb I sanctified thee, and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations. (Jeremiah 1:5)
Song for Today:
Battle Hymn of the Republic (5:18) (The United States Army Field Band)
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