Lesson 2 - Our Obligations to our Government
Give, and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
One of the fundamental functions of any government is to provide public order. A government that cannot enforce the rule of law over its citizens cannot achieve its objectives. This is the underlying reason that Paul exhorted us to be subject to higher powers. The authorities that exist have been established by God to promote order. Romans 13:1 Paul warned us that to resist authority is to rebel against God. Romans 13:2. Paul continues to exhort Christians to pray for the government and pay their taxes.
The Jews looked forward to receiving a king who would usher in a glorious reign and banish all oppressions from imperial Rome. They hated the Romans for they were corrupt and oppressive. Yet Jesus announced that his Kingdom is not of this world. John 18:36
Christians, therefore, live in two kingdoms: first, the spiritual Kingdom of God and second, the physical kingdom of earth . The Bible teaches us to be good citizens in both kingdoms.
But being obedient in everything does not justify carrying out commands that contradict the will of God. We must obey God rather than men. Acts 5:29 Should we disobey the government under these circumstances, we must be ready for persecutions, but let us rejoice that we suffer for what is right. 1 Peter 3:14
Jesus paid his taxes to exemplify respect and honor to the government . When required to pay his tax, he summoned Peter to go to the lake and catch a fish, and take the coin from its mouth to pay for both of their taxes. Matthew 17:27
Apostle Peter pointed out that obedience to government authority is in reverence for the Lord's sake. 1 Peter 2:13-14
The Church, therefore, must not be involved in partisan politics for any reason. Church leaders should not use the Church and its members as a source of influence to support their political agenda. They should not bind the flock in support of political issues and things of this nature, simply because this exercise may offend those in the authority, who might take retaliatory steps to suppress the Christian's freedom to worship and assemble.
The Church and state are separate. The Church does not need a special favor from any government in order to survive; it only desires freedom to assemble and worship in a holy and peaceful manner. Therefore, as we are commanded, let us pray with thankfulness that we may continue to assemble and fellowship in peace. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
Pray for those who make laws to give us laws which are just, to benefit the majority and not only a selected few.
Pray for the head of state, to properly execute the law without prejudice and discrimination; to be prudent but strict in the implementation of ordinances and laws; and to give equal opportunities to everyone.
Pray for those who judge, that they may bring justice swiftly, and that all matters under their judgment have been examined to the full satisfaction of the law.
Pray for governments all over the world to grant us the freedom to worship and assemble.
It doesn't take a whole nation to pray in order to be heard by God Almighty. It only takes two or three Christians gathered in Jesus name, praying in faith. Matthew 18:19-20
To sustain and support its objectives, and to attain economic stability, a government imposes taxes on its citizens. Every government needs money to defray the cost of salaries, supplies, and such other costs that are necessary in government administration. To support the government, Paul encourages us to pay our share. Romans 13:6
Blessed are those whose governments look at the welfare of their people. Woe to those whose governments are ruled by tyrants and the corrupt. But let us not harbor hatred against them, instead let us pray for them. Ponder on these encouraging words:
○ Vengeance is mine says the Lord. Roman 12:19-20
○ God is just. II Thessalonians 1:6
and more . . .
○ Woe unto them that decree unrighteous decrees. Isaiah 10:1
○ Those who receive gifts in exchange for favors will be overthrown. Proverbs 29:4
○ To the judges, take heed. 2 Chronicles 19:6
Even as we worship and assemble in peace, let us offer prays for our brothers and sisters, who suffer persecution because of their faith, from a repressive government that is ignorant of the power of God.
We will end this lesson with an urgent plea: will you now pray for your government? If your answer is yes, look for a brother or sister in the faith and start praying together. From this time on, always include those in the government authority in your fellowships & prayers.