Christianity and the Government
The scriptures make it abundantly clear that God desires His people first to be obedient to Him. So what if one’s government passes laws contrary to God’s Word? What should be done when the righteous find themselves living in an unrighteous society? Does one’s responsibility toward their government change depending upon who is in office or which party is in charge?
The inspired apostle Paul wrote, “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”(Romans 13:1-2).
The faithful Christian understands that government is ordained of God, and therefore he shows respect toward that which God instituted. He strives to be a model citizen and is a shining example of Christianity. He gives honor to the ruler and seeks to be perpetually obedient to the civil magistrates. He is not, however, blindly obedient to the civil magistrates. There are situations when the Christian not only may disobey but actually must disobey the civil magistrates. Whenever a civil government requires one to do what God forbids or forbids one to do what God commands, then that person has an obligation to God to disobey the government in that point.
Daniel refused to bow down and worship king Nebuchadnezzar (Daniel 3). Instead he maintained his faith in God and accepted the consequences from the king. Esther, at great risk of her life, went before king Ahasuerus to stand up for the Lord’s people (Esther 5). When the rulers commanded Peter and John to cease preaching and teaching in the name of Jesus they responded, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye (Acts 4:19).
We, as Americans, are blessed to live in a country that puts so much power in the hands of the people. We, as Christians, need to work within the laws of this land to make sure that Christian principles are not legislated away. We need to pray for our government officials that they may fulfill the tasks that God has given them; to be ministers of God for good (Romans 13:4). When electing leaders we need to carefully consider the moral character of the candidate above all other factors such as race, gender and even political affiliation. But regardless of who is in office we need to give honor to the position when honor is due.