Gospel Gazette Online
Vol. 14 No. 1 January 2012
Page 14

What Is a Christian’s
Responsibility to the Government?

Roger Campbell

A Christian is to (1) Obey civil authorities. “Obey magistrates” (Titus 3:1). “Let every soul be subject to the higher powers” (Romans 13:1). “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man” (1 Peter 2:13). (2) Obey civil government “for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13). Because “the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1), resisting such authorities is equal to resisting God’s ordained arrangement (13:2). “For so is the will of God” (1 Peter 2:15). (3) Obey every aspect of civil law. “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” (1 Peter 2:13). “Every ordinance” would include what the civil authorities might decree about building codes, littering highways, tax obligations, the size of passport photos, how far a church building must sit away from a street, and you name it. We may be tempted to label some laws as unreasonable or ridiculous, but the law is the law. If I have the right to disregard a law that I count as inconvenient or excessively costly, then why would another person not have the right to disregard a different law? What is it that ensues when people decide to use their own gut feelings to determine with which government ordinances they will comply, and which they will disregard? The word is “chaos” or “lawlessness.”

(4) Obey civil authorities at all levels. Peter’s Spirit-guided instruction to submit to civil ordinances was, “whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evil doers” (1 Peter 2:13-14). This shows all branches and levels of civil government fall under the category of “the powers that be” to whom we are to submit ourselves. In our country (USA), that would include national, state, district, county, and city laws. (5) Obey civil authorities, unless they conflict with God’s law. Because God’s people are to act “as obedient children” at all times (1 Peter 1:14), if man’s laws are at odds with the teaching of the Bible, God’s children are to obey the Bible. “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). Remember, though, we are not at liberty to disobey a government law simply because we do not like it. A saint’s decision not to submit to a civil law must be based on a “thus saith the Lord” and not on his own personal likes or preferences.

Is Our Land Being Defiled by Abortion?

Robert Johnson

Robert JohnsonSince the legalization of abortion in the United States, over 49 million of them have taken place. What was originally promoted as a procedure that would only be used in emergency situations has become a commonplace occurrence. Certainly, the destruction of life in the womb has become a consequence of this practice. We know the child in the womb is a life, is a human being. Modern imaging equipment has helped us to understand this better, along with other advances in technology. However, Scripture affirmed this basic principle centuries ago. “For You formed my inward parts; You covered me in my mother’s womb” (Psalm 139:13). So many lives have been terminated by abortion that we have become desensitized to the process of death.

However, are there other ways beside the death of the unborn child that abortion defiles our land? Certainly so! When sin becomes commonplace, it only leads to further and greater sin. Paul reminds us it is lawlessness that leads to more lawlessness (Romans 6:19). What are some consequences that come when abortion is viewed as a normal part of life?

One can argue that a cheapening of the view of life in the womb leads to a cheapening of life outside the womb. If one can indiscriminately terminate an inconvenient life before birth, why not afterwards? What is called the Groningen Protocol, a procedure used by the University Medical Center Groningen in Groningen, Netherlands, offers guidelines for child euthanasia. One of those criteria has to do with the child’s expected quality of life. Life itself is no longer considered sacred, but the changing standards of human judgment are now the determining factor for what life is considered worthy to live or to be ended.

If infanticide can be indiscriminately practiced on infants, then who can say what limits can be applied at the other end of the spectrum, with adult euthanasia? How old do you have to be for someone to decide your life is not worth living? Once God as Creator is ignored, and the sanctity of life is discarded, just who defines what makes a life worth living? Who gets to say what are, or are not, “meaningful interpersonal relations?” The whole prospect is terrifying, not just for ourselves, but for our children and grandchildren.

Life is not by accident, but by design; it belongs to God. When we bequeath life as the prerogative of humanity to choose or reject, governed by sinful motives and desires, we all lose. Honor life as a gift from God, to be lived for Him! “You are not your own, for you were bought at a price. So glorify God in your body and in your spirit, which are God’s” (1 Corinthians 6:19-20).

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