August 20

Romans 13:1-3 1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.

The Bible encourages us to be good citizens of the country in which we live. The reason given is that it is God who has placed those people in positions of authority. Understanding that God is sovereign over all the affairs of men gives us the incentive to see rulers as God's appointees. To rebel against them is to rebel against something God has established. Should you incite insurrection, the authorities will exercise judgment upon you. If you don't want to live in fear of that, be a good citizen and you will be commended.

Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world. When we get involved in attacking the government under which we live, we are involved in the temporal instead of the eternal. We have a much bigger battle to fight. Our focus should be on living as useful soldiers for the kingdom of light.

You might think that Paul could write this because Rome was a relatively good power. Remember that Paul was tried and put to death by Rome. He never changed his teaching, even in the face of persecution. He knew the Emperor demanded to be worshiped. He would never break the law of God to obey the laws of man. He is not asking us to do that. He is merely saying that we should recognize that God has given authority to keep order and peace to those who rule in our government. A good Christian will be a good citizen. Even when the Christian could not burn incense to the emperor, he was not disloyal or planning to rebel against him. Eventually Rome understood this. Don't get involved in the wrong battles.

Remember: Keep your focus on what is eternal and trust God to deal with your government.