THIS WEEK: GOVERNMENT…Servants of God!
Human justice is not always perfect justice.
However, God has entrusted his arm of justice to the rulers of a government.
They are God’s servants to bring “punishment on the wrongdoer.”
No problem, if you don’t break the law. Big problem if you do.
Romans 13:4-5 But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
Remember, one of the main purposes of government is the safety of its citizens. Laws are enacted (in general) to provide for that safety. The government also has a right to enforce those laws and punish the wrong doer.
Our country has been rocked recently by unrest over alleged police brutality. As a result, some feel they are justified in breaking the law or striking out against law enforcement. Without knowing all the details of every situation, I will suggest that when law enforcement is called it is because either a law was broken or the safety of individuals was at stake. Without justifying police who over step their role (for which they too are accountable to God), police are acting as servants of God when they enforce the law and bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Our court system and judges are servants of God when they apply the law and bring punishment on the wrongdoer. God is a God of law and justice. He asks the governments he has established to be the same.
So pray for all those in our government that are entrusted with the sword of punishment. Ask the Lord to give them all the wisdom to discern when and how to act as his servants of wrath.
Sounds like a strange prayer to ask the Lord to enable government to be his agents of punishment. It is, but if every government is established by God’s authority, they too are given authority to punish the wrong doer.
So God asks us to submit to the authorities, not challenge them, subvert them, or try to overpower them. They are God’s servants. If you do what is right, you have nothing to fear…only if you do wrong. If you do wrong, don’t be surprised when you encounter one of God’s servants with a badge who has been entrusted with the responsibility to bring punishment on you, the wrongdoer.
But don’t submit, just because you fear punishment. Submit because of conscience. It’s the right thing to do…especially for God’s child. When you recognize God has established the authority, he has allowed the laws of the land and called upon that authority to be his servant and punish the wrongdoer, we will naturally want to align our behavior to not just avoid jail, but to honor the LORD. A conscience guided by the Spirit of God will walk in step with that Spirit, and thus avoid facing the one who bears the sword.
“Law and Order” shouldn’t just be a TV program or campaign slogan, but the reality of a society living at peace…with authority enforcing the law to keep order and safety and citizens obeying the law to show respect not just to the governing officials, but to show respect and honor to the LORD, the one who has established governments and asked them to be servants of punishment.
Apply: How does this truth of Scripture help to guide my behavior in the country in which I live and my interaction with those that “do not bear the sword for no reason.”?
Prayer: Lord, thank you for giving your desire for justice and upholding right and punishing wrong to governing authorities. Grant them wisdom to be your servants in this arena so we may all live safe, peaceful and productive lives. AMEN.