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The Christian and the State

(Romans 13)

Lesson 10 -- first quarter 1999
February 7, 1999

by Mark Roth
© Copyright 1998, Christian Light Publications

Why be subject to the State? After all, it has its share of evil and corruption. Besides it represents the kingdom of this world, whereas the Christian represents the heavenly Kingdom. Then, of course, there are those "certain laws" with which we have problems. So why be subject to it?

"The powers that be are ordained of God." David refused to rise up against Saul because he was the anointed of the LORD. We should reject rebellion against the State because we see it as one of the powers God Himself has ordained.

"Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God." A lack of subjection to the State is tantamount to a lack of subjection to God. Would we dare?! Those that resist stand in line awaiting damnation.

"Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?" Submission brings peace and safety, because those are the results of living within the boundaries of God's plan. Doing good blesses us with a freedom from fear.

So we submit because of a certain fear factor, but we also submit because our consciences have been refined and brought into conformity with the will of God. We don't reject the authority of the State because we are God's, but quite to the contrary, we accept its authority because we are God's.

But what about war and social program taxes? What about the funding of immoral and anti-Christian art? What about seatbelts, mandatory insurance, building codes, Social Security and a myriad intrusive, freedom-abusing laws?

Yes, what about all this and more? Well, let me quote God on the subject: "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God." Hear ye Him. Then obey.

We must recognize, though, that this business of being subject to the State can easily go beyond relating to some sort of faceless entity. Personal feelings can quickly enter into the picture as we deal with or hear about State officials. Then what?

As I write, the President of the United States find himself embroiled in a real mess involving character issues and accusations on various fronts. Of course I'll be subject to him as one of "the higher powers," but what shall be my attitude toward him?

I suppose the biggest challenge I face is balancing revulsion for certain aspects of his character with compassion for his soul with subjection to him because of the power he represents. Thus, I can understand why a congressional representative of the opposing party would describe him with very uncomplimentary terms. But I cannot sanction such disregard for the man and his position and the God behind his power. I firmly believe that one aspect of fearing God is to honor the king. God's will is very clear!

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