How in the world is it possible that my next sermon in the book of Romans arrives right on the week of the public hearings for the impeachment of a sitting president? I can only explain it as one of those things that I see as the hand of God. Some people believe in coincidence. I believe in God’s sovereignty.
If you clicked on this link to read my opinions about the impeachment proceedings in the House of Representatives, then let me warn you that this blog may disappoint you. I am very careful to only encourage you toward Biblical thoughts. My opinions have very little value, and I do not imagine my opinions about these things matter very much.
Instead, I want to throw what the text of Romans 13:1-7 commands into the mix of the mess of our current political climate. I believe that if we as believers align ourselves more readily with Scripture, and less readily with a specific side of the aisle, then we will stand in a place that can speak reason into the chaos. If we enter into the political fray with our second amendment guaranteed arms ablazin, we might just find that we can win arguments while losing the “war”.
It is interesting that the instruction to believers in Christ to “submit to their governing authorities” comes on the heels of Romans 12:21 where we are also commanded to “overcome evil with good”.
Submission is a word of attitude. It is a word that requires the recognition of hierarchy and authority. Our world is low on esteem for our leaders. Our respect for government must be near record lows. I know it dipped pretty low in the 60’s but our current cultural climate must be close to those chilly depths of distrust.
This is a good time to be a Christian, so long as we are willing to think Biblical thoughts and respond in Biblical ways. So here are five things I am seeking to apply in my mind as a Christian who is seriously wrestling with what it means to submit to my governing authorities.
1. I am praying for leaders (and not just the ones I like)
2. I am trusting that God has instituted this government (whether for blessing or judgment I need not know).
3. I am grateful for the massive freedoms and rights I have lived under for 46 years!
4. I am thankful for local and state law enforcement that has served as a deterrent to evils against me and those I love.
5. I am grateful for God’s Word that even gives me purpose (Romans 13:7) when I pay my taxes!
At every turn we are being encouraged to disparage government officials on either side of the aisle. We are being told that we need to be divided. We are being told that we are living in dark days.
I contend that we have much to be thankful for. I would suggest to you that a Biblical perspective of grateful submission is a heart stance that puts us in a better place to speak with grace into a very divided nation. Let’s be a church that submits to our governing authorities with a heart stance of submission to those who have been placed over us.
Oh, wait! Where are all the caveats to obeying government!? Let me encourage you to read Romans 13:1-7 and if these instructions apply to you as a blood-bought born-again follower of Jesus Christ, then please consider what these words are calling you to do. There are certainly caveats, loopholes, and exceptions. But Paul chose to not even offer them in the context of his letter to the Romans. He wanted to leave his radical instructions . . . radical!
What does it mean for you, if you are a follower of Christ, to submit to your governing authorities? I would love to hear your answers to this question on Facebook or here on my blog!