The Christian and Government

Parliament

What is a Christian’s responsibility to their governing authorities? In we will observe three realities regarding the Christian and the Government. When it comes to this relationship, the Christian has an obligation to display the behaviour of one who is being transformed by the renewing of their mind ().

This passage begins with a clear-cut command, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities” (13:1a). There is no qualification regarding the political persuasion, equity or even competence attached to this command. At the time of writing this, Paul’s governing authority was the Roman Empire. It is possible for a Christian to disobey when it comes to matters that go against the Word of God (cf. ). However, on such occasions this is to be done in such a manner that the attitude of submission is still evident (cf. 13:7). Let us now consider the three realities regarding the Christian and the Government.

The Source of the Government’s Authority (13:1b-2)
Why should we submit to the government? Because governing authorities are placed in the position of authority by God (13:1b-2). The fact that God has ordained and instituted governing authorities doesn’t mean that every authority is morally good or economically sensible. In His sovereign plan there will be varying reasons for their appointment – whether it be blessing or judgment. Regardless of the authority, the duty of the citizen remains the same. 

The Sphere of the Government’s Authority (13:3-4)
How far does the government’s authority extend and what is their duty granted by God? God has appointed government to reward good and restrain evil. The reward is seen in protection and the promotion of peace, whereas the restraining of evil is seen in the application of just punishment.

The Submission of the Government’s Subjects (13:5-7)
As citizen’s that are commanded by God, it is our duty to subject ourselves to the authorities. This is displayed by our attitude and actions. Paul provides the specific example of willingly paying taxes (13:6). Christian’s may not agree with the amount required in taxation nor may they agree with the government’s use of taxes. Nonetheless, the Christian is to “Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed” (13:7).

Government is an institution ordained by God and for this reason the Christian is to willingly submit. Such conduct is a reflection of an individual that is not conforming to this world but being transformed by the Word of God.

Here are some questions to carefully consider:

  1. Why should a Christian willingly obey the government? When should a Christian disobey the government? See ; ;
  1. If an occasion arises in which a Christian out of necessity must disobey the government (provide some examples), in what manner should this be done?
  1. What are some benefits of governing authorities?
  1. How can we pray effectively for our government? See also

13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

17 But the midwives feared God and did not do as the king of Egypt commanded them, but let the male children live.

12 And being warned in a dream not to return to Herod, they departed to their own country by another way.

29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

2:1 First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

How to Pray for your Pastor

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The people of God are to be in prayer for all the saints (cf. ). Such prayer obviously includes specific prayer for individuals. Paul regularly requested prayer for his ministry and evangelistic opportunities (; ; ; ). In taking time to pray for all the people of God, it is important that we are specific in what we are praying for. Included in the broad category of praying for all the saints, it is important for the people of God to be praying for their pastors. Like all believers, pastors are in need of Divine grace and power so as to be faithful in their service to the Lord.

If your pastor is going to honour the Lord and encourage the people of God in his pastoral and public ministry, it is essential that he be a man of God in private. How can you pray for your pastor? There are many things you could and should pray for, but here are a few things.

In his letter to Timothy, Paul had a series of public duties that Timothy was to carry out in the ministry of the church (“the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching). But before he could be faithful and effective in such practices, he needed to first cultivate personal spiritual virtues. He says, “Let no one despise you for your youth, but set the believers an example in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith, in purity“. This verse provides us with five areas that Timothy is to set an example. Such actions provide the foundation for an effective public pulpit ministry.

Firstly, take regular time praying that your pastor would be an example in his “speech“. Words can build up or they can tear down. Speaking too much can lead to trouble (Prov. 10:19); gentle speech can diffuse anger whereas harsh speech can provoke anger (Prov. 15:1) and it is always important to think before you speak (Prov. 18:13). These principles provide practical wisdom in the use of our words. Our words are a powerful tool and for this reason pray that your pastor be quick to hear and slow to speak (cf. James 1:19).
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18 praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints,

19 and also for me, that words may be given to me in opening my mouth boldly to proclaim the mystery of the gospel, 20 for which I am an ambassador in chains, that I may declare it boldly, as I ought to speak.

At the same time, pray also for us, that God may open to us a door for the word, to declare the mystery of Christ, on account of which I am in prison— that I may make it clear, which is how I ought to speak.

25 Brothers, pray for us.

3:1 Finally, brothers, pray for us, that the word of the Lord may speed ahead and be honored, as happened among you,

13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation, to teaching.

When Sorrows like Sea Billows Roll

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When peace, like a river, attendeth my way,
 When sorrows like sea billows roll;
 Whatever my lot, Thou has taught me to say, 
It is well, it is well, with my soul.”

 

Sorrow is that dark feeling of distress that comes after experiencing loss or tragedy. Such an experience can be consuming and cumbersome. As the people of God, our hearts ought to be filled with a genuine sense of compassion and care for our troubled brother or sister. We ought to love them (), cry with them () and pray for them (). In this post, it is my desire to provide encouragement to the troubled person by pointing them to the provisions found exclusively in the Lord Jesus Christ.

 

It is important to note that trouble does come in the lives of God’s people (). However, when trouble overwhelms the heart of the child of God, what are they to do? In we will note the cure to trouble. J. C. Ryle calls this passage “a precious remedy against an old disease”. The disease is trouble and the remedy is faith. Our Lord spoke these words,

 

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

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10 Love one another with brotherly affection. Outdo one another in showing honor.

15 Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.

13 Is anyone among you suffering? Let him pray. Is anyone cheerful? Let him sing praise.

14:1 “Man who is born of a woman
is few of days and full of trouble.

14:1 “Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also. And you know the way to where I am going.”

Developing Healthy and Appropriate Relationships

Developing Healthy and Appropriate Relationships “Run from anything that stimulates youthful lust. Follow anything that makes you want to do right… enjoy the companionship of those who call on the Lord with pure hearts.”

Do not be unequally yoked together with unbelievers. For what do righteousness and wickedness have in common? Or what fellowship can light have with darkness?”

Relationships form the basis by which we live out our God-given purposes. They provide the environment to practice the work of God in our lives; granting us the opportunity to reflect the qualities of Christ. However they also can be a huge stumbling block to our growth as Christians, choking and diverting us away from the path God has called us to travel.

As Christians we are called to spread the good news of Jesus to the ends of the earth (Matt 28:19), so it would make sense that we need to develop friendships with non Christians. However God has also called us to be holy (1Thes 4:7, 1Peter 2:9), being the salt and light of the world (Matt 5:13-14). We must be wise and very careful to stay clear from anything that compromises the work of God in our lives. For various reasons, it’s so easy to allow ourselves to get too close to non Christians under the guise of wanting to lead them to Christ. Although that in itself is a noble motive, we allow ourselves to be blinded to the negative affects those relationships may have on our own walk with God.

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22 So flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.

14 Do not be unequally yoked with unbelievers. For what partnership has righteousness with lawlessness? Or what fellowship has light with darkness?