Oct 29

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Over the last year we have heard and read more than desired about the election that is only days away as you read this article. So, at the beginning let it be known this article is not about any party candidate. This article is about the Christian and our relationship to those in authority in this world: government! Unlike the world of Jesus’ day, and unlike a number of nations today, in America we have freedoms which they did and do not have. Those who left other nations to come to this land, did so for the most part, to be free! There were a number of freedoms they had in mind but one stood out above others and it was religious freedom! They desired to be free to worship and live according to what they believed the Bible taught! That they were wrong in what they believed the Bible taught in some areas, does not change their desire; it does not change the foundation upon which they determined to build a new nation!
It is good to remember Paul’s words to the Christians about the government of his day, the Roman Caesars! Here are his inspired words: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil” (Rom. 13:1-4). If we understand only a little about the cruelty and wickedness of this “government,” we will see the hardship the Holy Spirit has put upon the Christian when he commanded them to “be subject unto” it! That government fails its responsibilities does not change the responsibilities given to it by God, nor does it change the responsibilities of the Christian to it! For even in the “name” of Christianity have those in authority been just as evil! However, this evil did not change the relationship, nor did it change the responsibility of the Christian to the government!
With these few thoughts in mind let us here recall Paul’s words to Timothy about the Christian and government: “I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:1-2). In the first set of verses (Rom. 13:1-5), we learned that the Christian is to be subject to the government and in this second set of verses we learn that Christians are to pray for those in authority. Now get this, the reason for the prayers are, as we put the two passages together; we are able to learn, on the one hand, it is the responsibility of government to protect its citizens and the citizens, which includes Christians who are to be subject to (obey its law, while keeping in mind Acts 5:29) it; then, on the other hand, in the second passage we have learned that Christians are to pray for those in authority: “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty!” Therefore, we are to do and to pray!
In the middle of this, the doing and the praying, we are also able to learn from the actions of the apostle Paul, that we can appeal to government; yes, even an evil and wicked government. The case is well known how false charges were made against Paul, a number of “trials” were gone through, and no justice was found for Paul; therefore, Luke informs us that Paul appealed to Caesar (Acts 25:11). Yes, even to this most evil and wicked government Paul appealed for justice! He desired, he prayed, for that he might live “a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty;” therefore, he used government to this end!
In this world, let it be understood, we will always have an “evil and wicked” government to one degree or another! Christians are always going to be in the minority; therefore, we must pray and as we pray we must work in harmony with our prayers, which requires that we do the best we can with each opportunity we have!

Frank R. Williams

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