THIS WEEK: GOVERNMENT…Servants of God!
Even the ungodly ones?
Established by God?
Even the ungodly ones are established by God.
This line of reasoning is hard to swallow, but it comes from the Apostle Paul, who ministered under the reign Emperor Claudius and then was executed by Emperor Nero in AD 66. Claudius expelled the Christians from Rome and Nero became one of the greatest persecutors of Christians.
They too? Established by God?
The Apostle Paul writes in Romans 13:1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.”
The statement speaks to the origin of authority in government and to the reality that there is a higher authority than the governing authorities. Paul knew this and God wants us to know this. Whether the governing authority recognizes or reveres God or not, he rules under the authority God has established.
Every ruler has a beginning and end to their reign. God doesn’t. His reign and authority last forever. Mary in her Magnificat reflected the fact that God is at work in bringing down rulers and raising them up.
Luke 1:52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones but has lifted up the humble.
Jesus when questioned by Pilate reminded Pilate of where his power comes from, yet ironically submits to that power even though his power as God superseded that of Pilate.
John 19:9-11 “Where do you come from?” [Pilate] asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?”
11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above.
Governments and governing officials are not perfect and do not always acknowledge God as the source of their authority. However, it doesn’t change the fact that God is the one who allows governing authorities to exist and we are subject to these authorities.
Whether we agree with them or not, we live under the authority that God has allowed governing officials to have. As long as they do not demand we disobey God, we live as citizens of our nation, honoring God by honoring and falling under the authority they have been given.
It’s no wonder that Paul encouraged Timothy and us in 1 Timothy 2:2 “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
The godly and ungodly governments, all established by God.
Apply: How does your interaction with governing authorities change when you realize that the authority they have has been entrusted to them by God?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for our government. As imperfect as it is, you have established it for our good. As we are subject to these officials, we do pray that they lead in such a way that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. AMEN