We called to be law-abiding citizens.
We’ve spent four weeks discussing how we present ourselves to God: holy, in one mind, mature, and in community. Now we are prepared to see what God’s word says about what we are to do as citizens, employees, family members, and in society.
I guess this is as good a day as any to say we live in troubled times. Our economy is on shaky ground, governing authorities are powerless in division, and violent crime is rising daily.
Sadly, today, more Americans are fearful of the way our government runs. This includes Christians. We trust in our government less and less.
This is no secret. Only 20% of those polled by the Pew Research Center said they trusted the government. Lack of trust in the government affects us at home.
What’s a Christian to do?
Submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For this is the will of God, that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men… Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.I Peter 2: 13-15 & 17 NIV
God is watching over our government and us as well. The watching world is observing us as well. What message do they read in our lives?
We are called to submit to human institutions. The less we trust the government, the more we need to trust the Lord.
The truth is we have a dual citizenship. Our allegiance is to the Kingdom of God and the nation as well. But foremost, our obligation is to obey the Jesus Christ.
Trust the LORD
We are not called to right the wrongs or live in fear. Trust the Lord for your protection even when your government seems to be unstable.
I have taken refuge in the LORD. How can you say to me, “Escape to the mountains like a bird!… When the foundations are destroyed, what can the righteous do? “ The LORD is in His holy temple; the LORD, His throne is in heaven. His eyes watch; His gaze examines everyone. The LORD examines the righteous, but He hates the wicked and those who love violence… For the LORD is righteous; He loves righteous deeds. The upright will see His face.Psalm 11:1, 3-5, & 7 (CSB)
Are you threatened by what is happening today? Do you spend hours on CNN or Fox News? Are you on social media feeding the political fire? Don’t be afraid. God has laid down a foundation of law and order. He is trustworthy to see you through everything in your city, your state and your country.
Unlike the Christian Anarchist, we will not overthrow the government. On the other hand, let us beware of the dangers of Christian Nationalism. We do not prioritize the constitution over God’s Word.
Please keep in mind who you are: in exiles, an alien in a foreign land.
During the Great Depression, many lost faith in the government and turned to communism for support. It was a scary time. The economy shattered, and the government was powerless. However, in due time, things changed. We saw protections set in place: Social Security and the Financial Conduct Authority.
What Does God Say?
True to His Word, God does not give us only one Scripture of instruction. In Romans 13, Titus 3, and I Timothy 2, the command is clear on how we are to behave as law-abiding citizens:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinances of God, and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same, for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.Romans 13:1-4 NIV.
Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. For we also once were foolish ourselves, disobedient, deceived, enslaved, to various lusts and pleasures, spending our life in malice and envy, hateful, hating one another. But when the kindness of God, our Savior and His love for mankind appeared, He’s saved us…Titus 3:1-4a NIV.
So first and foremost, I urge God’s people to pray. They should make their requisitions, petitions, and thanksgiving on behalf of all humanity. Teach them to pray for kings (or anyone in high places for that matter) so we can lead quiet, peaceful lives—reverent, godly, and holy—all of which is good and acceptable before the eyes of God, our Savior who desires for everyone to be saved and know the truth.1 Tim 2:1-3 (The Voice)
We are not above the Law
B. It is a dark, corrupt, and sin-sick world. But, we are to submit to authorities, live quiet lives, and pray for anyone in high places are daughters and sons of light.
Christians should be useful and good citizens of the country they live in.
- Honor all men: Remember the dignity of every individual.
- Love the brotherhood: The Church is the family of God and our bond. They should know us by our love.
- Fear God: Fear does not mean terror, but reverence. Fear is the beginning of wisdom (Proverbs 1:7). We are to live as wise, not subject to the ebb and flow of social media, news, or people’s opinions. When God is given proper place, then all other things fall into perfect place.
- Honor the king: We may disagree with the president or not. But our call is to honor the office and pray for the person.
What is God’s Will?
It is God’s will for us to do what is right and submit to the government. We silence the foolish talk of those against us. This is not a popular position to take, and the trolls on the internet will hatefully disagree.
Nevertheless, let us not forget something critical here. We are called to submit to the governing powers as long as they are not in direct opposition to God’s revealed will. It is like this, if forced to close the churches; we go underground. Ordered to stop praying: we pray all the more. Told to burn the Bible, then hold it closer to your heart more than ever.
Live quiet and dignified lives in honor of the Lord.
God’s Plans For Us
We are in exile, aliens in a foreign land. Our allegiance is to the Lord.
The best example of how to live in exile is best described in Jeremiah. In chapter 29, we read a letter sent to the Jews in exile. It is a letter sent through Jeremiah from the Lord.
What did God require of them?
The Lord gave the exiles these instructions:
- Build houses and live in them.
- Grow gardens and eat from them.
- Give your daughters and sons in marriage.
- Seek and pray for the welfare of the country you’re living in because their welfare is your welfare.
Then the Lord gave them words of encouragement. Words that made a difference in their problem. He told them He Himself had plans for them.
For surely I know the plans I have for, says the LORD, plans for your welfare and not for harm, to give you a future with hope.Jeremiah 29:11 NIV
Many of you may have read his verse before or even have a copy of this written or framed on your wall. But now you know the rest of the story. We will continue to live in the land, but our hearts will trust in the Lord.
Call to Action
Submit to the Lord and trust Him, no matter what happens. Guard your heart and keep the faith. The with God life is a life with God and that’s a very, very, good thing.
Soli Deo Gloria—To God alone be the glory!