Government is a God-ordained institution created to give order and stability.
In recent years, the pressure has mounted for the Christian church to become more vocal in the public arena. Many pastors are giving up their pastorates to help "fix" America, seeking to bring this country back to its moral roots. Although this is a lofty goal, is this the focus we see for the church in Scripture? Did Jesus advocate changing the government? In Matthew 22:15-22, we see the Herodians seeking to trap Jesus. (The Herodians were a political party that supported the wicked Herod dynasty that ruled as Roman puppets in Israel.) They came to Jesus and asked, "Is is lawful to pay taxes to Caesar?" In other words, Herodians were asking whether the Roman government was the legitimate government to support. Jesus noted that Caesar was the one on coins, and tells them, "Pay therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God, the things that are God's." Jesus would not get involved with the politics of his day.
Jesus was concerned with the need of every man and woman to have a personal relationship with God, to have his or her sin forgiven. He had come to sacrifice his life for the sin of the world, and he did not become distracted from his ultimate goal.
How about Peter or Paul? How about Joseph, or David, or Nehemiah, or Esther, or Daniel? How did they handle unfair government practices? What do we see in Scripture? We see a respectful, prayerful, peace abiding calmness when these situations occurred. We see people totally confident that their God had set up government, and they must trust him in dealing with these situations.
Prayer was key to change in all these situations. In fact, Nehemiah prayed and mourned four months before he ever said anything to King Artaxerxes. God granted Nehemiah favor so he could go back and build the walls of Jerusalem. Queen Esther had all the Jews fast and pray before she ever dared to approach the king, and through her action, the Jewish nation was spared annihilation.
We see the Apostle Paul's admonition to the church of Rome in Romans 13, where the Bible says, "Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers. As God's servants, we must obey to keep a clean conscience. What an outlandish statement. How could Paul say government was a servant of God, when he was living under the corrupt Roman government?
The Caesar, for the most part, ruled as an absolute monarch. He held control over the government and military. He was the supreme commander, had veto power over any business, and was looked upon as a god to be revered and worshipped. He used excessive taxation to build Rome into a beautiful imperial city. Nero, the emperor in the last part of Paul's life, instituted the first persecution of Christians. He burned half of Rome so he could rebuild it in grander form, and blamed Christians for the fire. He was responsible for the crucifixion of the Apostle Peter and the beheading of Paul. How could Paul advocate submission, honor, paying of taxes and respect to such people? He did so because he understood rebellion against Rome was in essence rebellion against God.
Notice what Paul and Peter further state on this subject. Titus 3:1-2 says, "Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evil-doers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men."
What do you think would happen in our country if Bible-believing citizens learned to love, pray, and treat kindly and respectfully those who have been placed in authority over them? Do you think God could change Washington? Do you think God could change Albany?
As John McArthur once said, "We should not be known as protestors. We should not be known as those who lambaste, criticize and demean people in authority. We should speak against sin, speak against injustice, speak against evil, speak against immorality, fearlessly and without hesitation, but give honor to those who are in authority over us. This is the biblical pattern for every age, and every nation, and every Christian. It has nothing to do with America." It has everything to do with Jesus. May God give us the grace to respond this way.
The Rev. Steve Estes is pastor at the West Davenport Free Baptist Church.
Government is a God-ordained institution created to give order and stability.
- Big Chuck D'Imperio
My pal Brucie, savior of Sidney's hospital
Ask any hospital administrators if they've ever heard of a closed hospital in New York state that has ever been re-opened. They will say, "Impossible." In a half century of going through records you can't find any.Continued ...
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- Selections from the virtual mailbag
- Recalling days of 'Doughnut King'
- Opera great's visit still a thrilling memory
- My pal Brucie, savior of Sidney's hospital
- Cary Brunswick
We've become our own worst enemies
The past month has been marked by a seeming unprecedented number of man-made tragedies, as distinct from those caused by violent outbursts of the natural world, such as earthquakes, hurricanes and tsunamis.Continued ...
- Plenty of blame to go around for Bangladesh horror
- Obama is going against his word on Social Security
- Reflecting on a Florida trip
- Those magnificent spies in their flying machines
- We've become our own worst enemies
- Chuck Pinkey
- Guest Column
Records seizure is an insult to free press
Distrust of government secrecy has been elevated to an exceptional level with the disclosure the Justice Department covertly examined two months of Associated Press phone records to determine who leaked details to the AP about a foiled terrorist plot.Continued ...
- The evangelical view of same-sex marriage
- Manor's fate will be Otsego board's legacy
- A closer look at our economy - Part II
- Use fracking to fill budget gaps
- Records seizure is an insult to free press
- Lisa Miller
A view from above
Fire towers in the Catskill Mountains have always been destination points, built to capture some of the region’s best views. These sentinel stations served an important role for the earliest possible sightings of forest fires in the remote mountain ranges. But the fire towers and those who manned them fulfilled a multitude of other roles as well.Continued ...
- Being a parent is a constant learning process
- Healthy doesn't have to mean expensive
- A family era ends with close of Potter series
- Independent stores make up for loss of Borders
- A view from above
- Mark Simonson
General Clinton Canoe Regatta got a new home in 1972
Ever since 1963, when Charles Hinkley and a group of Tri-Town businessmen came up with the idea for what we know today as the General Clinton Canoe Regatta, people lined the shores of the Susquehanna to watch the canoeists as they made their 70-mile trek from Cooperstown to Bainbridge.Continued ...
- Sunday movies in Oneonta finally shown in 1934
- Politics, fitness and landmarks dominated local news in May 1968
- Local people sought income in many ways in 1933
- Local windstorm in 1983 caused tense moments
- General Clinton Canoe Regatta got a new home in 1972
- Rick Brockway
Kids have sparkle in their eyes
When I was in my teens, old Bill Naatz told me about a stream north of Lake George where a man had panned out enough gold to make his wife a wedding band. It was all rumors, but to his grandson and myself, it sounded like the makings of a great adventure.
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- Adriondacks keep growing and growing
- Kids have sparkle in their eyes
- Sam Pollak
- William Masters
Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues
As the time to vote draws near, we need to remember how money can run politics more than we can. Raising funds is a prominent (if not the dominant) task of getting elected. Raising issues is also crucial, but those efforts are subject to distortion and fear-mongering.
- Republicans feelentitled to allthey can garner An entitlement is a legal benefit available from the government to individuals who are within a defined category of recipients, such as needing insurance for unemployment or health services.
Romney focuses on self; Obama emphasizes unity
Mitt Romney criticizes President Obama for saying a person's success is rooted in his community, and is not all his alone. Romney belittles this with his belief in individual initiative. He is better at the put-down than the push-up.
Romney shows little regard for common man
The Republicans in Congress have voted over and over, 33 times, redundantly and uselessly, to rescind what they call Obamacare.
Scouts' gay ban creates problem where none exists
The Boy Scouts of America's "emphatic reaffirmation" of its vow to exclude any and all homosexuals from its hallowed ranks is ill-considered and pathetic, especially in view of its having reviewed the matter for two years.
- Schreibman tops Chris Gibson on women's issues