Memory Verses: 1Peter 2:17
Prayer: That God’s blessing will rest upon our nation.
Key Verses: 1Peter 2:13-17 - Last week we talked about being not under Law but under Grace. V16 tells us we should not misuse our Christian liberty. We should be an example to the world in obedience.
Rom. 13:1-7; Matt. 22:17-21; Tit. 3:1; 1Tim. 2,1-2; Acts 5:29
Article III paragraph 16 of our Church Constitution says, “We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society; and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed; except only in things opposed to the will of our Lord Jesus Christ, Who is the only Lord of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth.”
Although this world, has never been a friend to the believer in the one true God; there has been in the past and in the present those believers who have lived, testified and suffered under all the many forms and types of government imaginable, that unregenerate men have concocted to escape the claim of a Holy and Righteous God for their lives (Gen. 4:3-8, 6:1-8, 11:l-9; Ex. 1:8-14, Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome). The situation will grow even worse and more desperate under the reign of the Anti-Christ (Rev. 6). Some of the many different kinds of government have been and still are: Theocracy, Oligarchy, Limited Monarchy, Absolute Monarchy, Socialism, Fascism, Communism, Democratic and Republic. The United States of America was established as a Constitutional Republic, but for the last 100 years the enemies in our midst have been gradually working to destroy us and take us into a one-world government.
Jesus said to the Pharisees in Matt. 22:21 “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things that are God’s.” The tribute money is Caesar’s (Rom. 13:1-6). Caesar cannot be king unless he is wanted. William Jefferson Clinton could not of been elected president unless the people wanted him. At this point it seems that the Jews would rather be under the Roman rule than under God’s rule (Matt. 27:25; Jn. 19:15). If you want Rome, then you will get Rome. If you then get what you asked for, how can you squawk about paying taxes, when you wanted the man “in” who forces you to pay them? Of course most of this has been forced on the people with little consent or representation. God tolerates civil government and the raising of taxes to support that government.
Whose money is it -- Caesar’s or God’s? Here we run headlong into the classic problem of the Church-State relationship. If a church can just seize control of the government, they can use public money to support government projects for their church. Thus it was that $18 million of Baptist and Protestant tax money was assigned to rebuilding Catholic Cathedrals in the Philippines after World War II, by an act of Congress.
Since the tribute money is Caesar’s, it is lawful to give it to Caesar. This does NOT break the Levitical and Deuteronomic law, as these laws are for a nation in the will of God, under Theocratic rule (1Sam. 8:7). Matthew 22:21 sums up all doubtful cases (like the ones confronted by the midwives in Ex. 1,2), and it settles forever the arguments about military conscription, police forces, oaths in a court of law, and taxation. Since it does settle these problems, Rome is determined and resolved to seize control of every government on the face of the earth, so its tax-money may be embezzled for the ‘propagation of the faith.’ This is church dogma defined by the Pope.
“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” (Rom. 13:l). By centralizing power, the modern state is recreating the pyramid society, the top-down system of total control, or attempted total control, that destroys the fabric of society. The caretaker State (Big Brother) steadily replaces the biblical concept of the night-watchman State (Isa. 21:11, 62:6; Ex. 3:17). The most important form of government, responsible self-government under God, is steadily eroded by a new concept of government, the messianic State. The biblical social order is utterly hostile to the pyramid society. Since no society can attain perfection, there will be instances of injustice, but the social goal is harmony under God’s law.
Christians having become subjects of a kingdom which is not of this world, might be led to suppose that they were released from the ties of obedience to human authorities, especially such as were not Christians. But Paul commands “every soul” both Jew and Gentile, to be subject to the existing powers. He makes no exception as to the nature or constitution of any government. These duties are intended for the instruction and guidance of Christians in every country and every age (1Pet. 2: 13-17; Tit. 3:1). This is contrary to the wisdom of the world, which takes offence at such subjection. Caesar subverted the laws of his country, Jeroboam established idolatry, and Nebuchadnezzar carried Judah captive. Yet the successors of Caesar were recognized by Jews, and were the rulers of the Roman empire when the Apostles wrote. Jeroboam was expressly appointed by God as king over the ten tribes, and the oppressed Jews were commanded to pray for the peace of Babylon (Jer. 29:7).
For there is no power but of God. Civil rulers, then are the ministers of God; if so, they must be of God’s own appointment (1Peter 2:13-14; Num. 35:31). The worst government in any country is of God, and is calculated to effect His purposes and promote His glory. Wicked rulers are necessary in God’s plan to punish wicked nations. Is that why we have Bill Clinton? It is not merely the form of civil government that is from God, but the governors. It is God who exalted certain men either for a blessing or a curse to the people. The existing power in every country, and in every age are ordained of God (Dan. 4:17; Jer. 27:5). It was God who set up Pharaoh. the cruel and tyrannical oppressor of Israel (Ex. 9:16; Ps. 75:7).
Resistance to the government is resistance to God; because government is God’s ordinance or appointment. If God has appointed every government that exists in the world, His people are bound to submit to every government under which their lot has been cast. There is but one exception, and that is when anything is required contrary to the law of God (Rom. 13:2; Acts 5:29). Then duty is plain, we are to obey God rather than men. Paul was willing to pay the price for his resistance to the Jewish rulers (Acts 25:9-12). Because the public schools are given over mostly to humanism, Bible believers who want to start a Christian school or enroll their children in such a school are many times harassed by local governmental officials. Many have gone to jail for standing by their beliefs.
Sometimes it is hard to understand the scripture in Rom. 13:4 “For he is the minister of God to thee for good.... “ Civil rulers then, as the ministers of God, ought to be obeyed without resistance, when it does not conflict with your conscience or keep you from worshipping god. In spite of all the evils of petty governmental officials, obeying them promotes the good of society. Were the restraints of government removed, Christians would be attacked, persecuted, or destroyed in any country. Even the persecution of the worst government would not be so bad as the persecution of the world, if freed from the restraint of law (Gen. 6:5; Judges 21:25). Let Christians then, in every country, instead of joining with the enemies of its established order, be thankful for the Divine ordinance of civil government, and exert themselves to maintain obedience and peace. In this way we will most effectually commend the Gospel to the world.