Where do God & country meet? How can we be good Christians & yet good citizens? Can we be both, or do we have to be one or the other? Do we have to sacrifice our love of God for love of country, or vice-versa?
Well, I think we can be both good citizens & good Christians. I’m convinced that it’s not only possible, but that, as Christians, we have a holy obligation to be the best citizens that we can possibly be.
REMEMBER GOD’S SOVEREIGNTY
First of all, we must realize that God is sovereign over government. The apostle Paul wrote, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except…" Except what? "…except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)
Now that doesn't mean God appointed Saddam Hussein or Hitler or Stalin and used them as puppets on His string. But it does mean that God has established the principle that government is needed to be in charge of society.
As Christians, we are to be in submission to the governing authorities even though we may not always agree with them.
Dr. John MacArthur wrote: “Believers are to be model citizens, known as law-abiding not rabble-rousing, obedient rather than rebellious, respectful of government rather than demeaning of it. …a godly society, doing good & living peaceably within an ungodly society… so that the saving power of God is clearly seen.”
Going on to the next two verses of our Scripture text, we note that Paul is telling us that God has set up two reasons or purposes for government.
1. The first purpose is to do good. Listen to Paul’s words, “Rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right & he will commend you. For he is God’s servant to do you good." (Romans 13:3-4a)
2. A second purpose for government is to restrain evil. Verse 4 above goes on to say, "But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer."
You know that is true. Every time you hear a siren or see red lights behind you, what do you do? Do you look at the speedometer to see if you’re driving within the speed limit. And do you wonder, "Is my seat belt fastened? Do I have my insurance card? Is my inspection sticker up to date? Is my state license sticker current?"
If all the answers are "Yes," then you breathe a sigh of relief. But if you have broken the law, then you’re afraid because the government has the power to punish you for your disobedience of the law.
We think that a republic based on democracy is the best because it has served us well here in the United States for 226 years. But we must understand that our Constitution was written assuming that the citizens of this land would be moral, God-fearing people.
That’s the only way democracy will work because democracy becomes whatever the people are. If the people become pagan & immoral & violent, then the government becomes pagan & immoral & violent.
In His Service,
Pastor Tim Roberts