Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that beare ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Romans 13:1-2)
Government: What’s a Christian to do?
Have you ever listened to a Bible teaching on Romans 13:1 and come away believing all an American Christian can do is vote, and then trust God for everything that happens after that? Well if we lived in a country where all we were allowed to do was vote, that would be true, but that is not the case in the United States. Voting is only one of several activities that the government (whom we are submitted to), encourages it citizens to exercise. It could be argued that if you’re not exercising all your liberties [as they pertain to government function and personal citizenship], then you are not wholly submitted to these higher powers.
What are those activities? Here’s the short list:
Rights, Responsibilities, and Duties of a U. S. Citizen (and Christian)
- Serve on a jury
- Run for office
- Become eligible for federal grants and scholarship
- To communicate with the world.
- Demonstrate and/or protest
- To express and/or publish one’s opinions or those of others.
- To practice one’s religion
- Support and defend the Constitution
- Serve the country
- Participate in the democratic process
- Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others
- Participate in your local community
- To enjoy equally the rights, privileges and protections of personhood as established by law.
- To petition an official for redress of grievances
- To petition a court for redress of grievances
- To petition a legislator
- To help enforce laws and practices and to resist those which are not
Jesus Didn’t Do These Things
Jesus didn’t vote either. One reason may have been because the government in Jesus’ day gave little or no such freedoms to their citizens. I suspect if the topic of voting was brought to His attention (and if voting was a liberty granted by Caesar), Jesus would have said ‘vote,’ and vote wisely.
Without any doubt, there is ‘no authority except from God, and those governments and officials that exist are established by God,’ but is God establishing these offices based on our civil participation (or lack of participation) in the legal process?
- Do we get political tyrants because we have only voted and did little else?
- If our government grants us liberties and we ignore them, can we consider ourselves submitted to these higher powers?
- Are we resisting the very ordinance of God laid out in Romans 13:1-2?
- Are we in fact getting what we deserve?
How do these things line-up with Psalm 37?
Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers. For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Psalm 37:1-3
It cannot be argued that Christians are ‘strangers and pilgrims’ here on earth, but nowhere in the Bible are we counseled to forgo our responsibilities towards stewardship in citizenship. Quite frankly I believe the United States is in the downward spiral that we’re in because Christians have not been faithful with these duties. Some Christians don’t even vote! That is a complete failure in submission to Christ Jesus and His ordinances regarding this matter. If something is wrong with government locally, federally, or on the state level, and we’re sitting on our hands and biting our tongues until the next election, then we deserve whatever political wrath that comes down the pike.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Genesis 1:28; Colossians 3:23-24)
Consider the list of liberties above and how God would have you exercise your freedom as a citizen subjected to those with authority over you. If you have been given rights by your government (like voting) and you ignore those rights, you are submitted to apathy and negligence rather than those who rule over you.
What are your thoughts?
Please use Bible Scripture to support your position if possible.