You know the adage: “Don’t talk about politics or religion.” Well today we are talking about both! Before you close this page, know that this post won’t take a specific stance on any political issue, except to show what the Bible has to say about it. (If you have any complaints, please direct all criticism to: firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com). The fact is that the Bible doesn’t have much to say on the role of government, except to say that it was put there by God and we should obey it. Let’s unpack what that means.
Verse 1 lays the foundation: “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.” We have to realize, whatever your personal thoughts are on the role of government, God is the one who has appointed it. “What if the government is bad or does evil things?” All throughout the Old and New Testament’s we see example after example of evil empires and governments that God uses for his purposes and glory. God does not institute the evil or sin, but he does redeem evil and sin for His glory.
We also see that we are to be submissive to the government, even when taking into account everyone’s favorite thing: taxes. Even Jesus, when asked whether taxes should be paid to Cesar or not said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” (Mark 12:17) One caveat: even though the government should be respected and submitted to, if the government (or any authority for that matter) is requiring anyone to do something that clearly goes against the Bible and God’s will, that should not be submitted to. We see that in the example of Daniel when he refused to sin in following the nation’s religion, and even in the book of Acts, in the context of being before Jewish authorities, Peter and John said, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard.”
The last section discusses the importance of loving people, and while I don’t think it’s primary application has anything to do with Facebook comments, I think it can be helpful to apply that in our context. No matter your political affiliation, Jesus must be your greatest devotion. That should take priority over everything else, and there should be no doubt in the minds of people of what has your first love.
By: Graham Withers — Pastoral Ministry Apprentice