The Lord established civil government. It is temporal and formed by political power. It is not self-sufficient or sovereign, but it is a crucial institution of society, which is enjoyed by God’s permission. The temporal power therefore has power delegated by God, who deemed it necessary to institute laws for man’s protection and preservation. The institution of civil government is a witness and a confession to the authority, justice, and power of God.
Obedience to the state is commanded for all. But a child of God is commanded to first obey God, then the government. Christians are to respect the government and submit to it, not worship it or give it the honor due to God.
Civil disobedience is found throughout Scripture, and the declaration that Christ Jesus is Lord brings agony to the Christian’s conscience when one submits first to the state, then to the Lord. How should a Christian relate to an ungodly government? Jesus addressed this: "Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Matthew 22:21) He called believers to observe the government as an institution ordained by God for man’s benefit.
The state derives its authority from God, and its officials are God’s ministers. They are to rule according to the laws and the constitution established between themselves and the people. It is rebellious to go up against a ruler who is morally incorrect, for he will be judged by God. But what a blessing to have a ruler whose political conduct is regulated by the principles of the constitution and whose heart and life are regulated by the eternal truth of God’s Word!
God revealed a mystery in Daniel 2:18-23: He is sovereign over the political affairs of humanity, and only He can reveal His purposes. Disciples of Christ are to live by faith, continually submitting to Christ’s lordship daily, interceding for the sick, the destitute, government officials, and their own conduct of obedience to Christ.
Jesus Christ called believers to gain knowledge from past historical events and apply their knowledge of good and evil to their submission, carefully managing themselves in their relationship to God and the authorities He established. Possessing knowledge allows people to plan their way, but the Lord directs their steps and makes them sure. (See Proverbs 16:9 and Psalm 37:23.)
Christ was gloriously lifted up with all authority above the angels, principalities, powers, might, dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this world, but also in the world which is to come. (See Ephesians 1:20-22.) All these entities are at His feet, awaiting His command. Christians can take heart in knowing He is seated at the right hand of the Father, in full possession of creation. (See Philippians 2:9-11.)
Choate Baptist Church welcomes you to join them for Sunday School at 9:45 a.m., Sunday Morning Worship at 11 a.m., and Sunday Evening Worship at 7 p.m. They also meet for prayer on Wednesdays at 7 p.m. Brother Odom’s message can be heard on KAML 990 AM and KCAF 92.1 FM each Sunday morning at 8:30.