News and Views
CHRISTIANS & GOVERNMENT
After the Provincial Election seems an appropriate time to consider what the Bible has to say about relating to government. Of course, the form of government during Bible times was not democracy, but the principles remain applicable, and our individual and personal responsibility is even greater. Let's consider first the three primary principles.
The first principle is to obey the law, whether that law is made by a dictator, a council, or a democratically elected government. Paul states this principle very clearly in Romans 13, beginning with, "Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established." (v. 1 NIV) Paul continues, "For rulers hold no terror for those who do right....Then do what is right and he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good." (v.3,4 NIV) Paul tells Titus the same thing in Titus 3:1 and Peter conveys the same message in 1 Peter 2:13-17. When Jesus was asked about paying taxes, He noted that it was Caesar's portrait on the coin, and said, "Then give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's." (Luke 20:25 NIV) Normally, Christians should be the most law abiding of citizens. Are we?
However, we must also remember that the Word of God, both written in the Bible and the Living Word, Christ Jesus, is the plumb line of truth. When human laws are contrary to God's standards, we must, like Peter and the other apostles, say, "We must obey God rather than men!" (Acts 5:29 NIV) At the same time, we must remember that to obey God is to obey all His direction, to convey both His love and righteousness. Jesus, God the Son, came and lived and died in our place and rose again before anyone repented of rebellion against God. He loved us before we believed in Him and accepted His grace and mercy. The crucifixion shows two things about God: it shows how seriously He takes our rebellion and refusal to obey Him, and it shows how much, how totally He loves us. It is important that we always convey both aspects of that message together. If Christianity is true, as we know to the very core of our beings that it is, then it is a human right requirement that every person understand this balanced message well enough to make an informed choice for or against Jesus as Saviour and Lord.
The third principle is to pray for our governments (1 Tim. 2:1-2), all of our governments at every level, to pray for both our elected officials and for the administrative systems which they hire to carry out their decisions and do the work. I wonder how much better our governments would function if every single Christian consistently brought them before the Lord, asking that His will would be done through them, asking that they might have His wisdom, understanding and compassion. I wonder if we would have better candidates and better representatives if we all made a practice of substituting prayer and appreciation for the common negative criticism so often heard. It is appropriate to again state that negative criticism and complaints are useless if not accompanied by practical suggestions toward solutions. When we think we see a problem, we need to pray before we say any other word about it; pray that we may thoroughly understand the problem in the context of its big picture, and pray that wisdom be given to find right solutions to it. After we have prayed, we are in a better position to bring appreciation, questions and criticism to our elected representatives.
So today it is appropriate to thank all the candidates in the election for running, which is necessary to make the democratic process possible. It is appropriate to congratulate the winners, to thank them and to thank God for them, that they are willing to take on this huge responsibility. And it is appropriate to pray for them, that they may have the strength, wisdom, and courage to do their jobs well, and that God will give them peace in the midst of their very stressful work.
Thank you and Congratulations!
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