Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Complaining About Government

It is a good old-fashioned American tradition to complain about the government. If you can not complain about the government, who can you complain about? Also, Christians have generally not been pleased with certain things our government has been doing in the United States. But Scripture says we are to submit to and pray for those in government (Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 13-17; 1 Timothy 2:1-4). Now it does not help here to talk about how bad our government is. The man in charge when these passages were written was a man by the name of Nero. No one in our government is even close to him. Now there is a point where we must serve God rather than man (Acts 4:19-20; 5:29; Daniel 3:16-18). But it is not a conclusion to be reached early or lightly. How should we approach this issue?

The only perfect government will be when Jesus Christ comes to rule and reign on earth (Isaiah 2:1-4; 11:1-10; Revelation 21:1-7). But the problem with our being part of a perfect kingdom is that we are sinners (Romans 3:23; Jeremiah 17:9; Isaiah 64:6). Jesus Christ is God, who became man (John 1:1-18; Philippians 2:5-11; Hebrews 2:9-18) to pay the price for our sins (1 Peter 2:24,25; Colossians 2:13,14; 2 Corinthians 5:21). He then validated this by rising from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:1-11; Romans 1:4; 4:25) and will come again to reign as King (John 14:1-3; Titus 2:13; Revelation 19:11-16).  Now we can become part of that future kingdom by putting our faith in Christ and Him alone for salvation (Ephesians 2:8,9; Romans 4:4,5; Philippians 3:9). 

This results in Christians being citizens of a higher kingdom and being pilgrims and foreigners in this world (Colossians 1:13; Philippians 3:20,21; 1 Peter 2:11,12). Further, God is at work in our lives to transform us (2 Corinthians 3:18; Ephesians 2:10; Colossians 1:29) and will ultimately make us people who belong in that perfect kingdom (1 John 3:2; Romans 8:29,30; Colossians 3:10). Therefore, we cannot allow ourselves to be conformed to this current world system (1 John 2:15-17; Romans 12:1,2; James 4:4). 

This puts the believer in a complicated and delicate situation in relation to the current civil government. We are required to be subject to these authorities. But we cannot give them our absolute and unquestioning allegiance. There is a place to rebuke the behavior of rulers (2 Samuel  12:1-15; 1 Kings 21:17-29; Matthew 14:3,4). Christians need to carefully decide what response to make in various situations. We cannot simply go along with everything the government does. But neither can we rebel over anything we may not happen to like. But most of all, we need to put things in perspective. There  will be no perfect government until Christ Himself comes to reign. This does not mean we should not try to do something against clear injustice in the world. But we need to pick our fights.

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