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 Biblical View of Government

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SOT-Lou
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PostSubject: Biblical View of Government   Sun Feb 24, 2013 11:06 am

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What perspective should Christians have towards human authority? Should believers pay taxes? The followers of Jesus wondered these very things in the first century. Let's look at what the Bible says about officials and other leaders.

A. The Lord ordains all authority.

Leaders rise to power only through the will of God. Daniel 2:21 says that the Lord "changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings." Read Daniel 5:1-31.

What did both Nebuchadnezzar and his son Belshazzar have in common before God punished them?
How did king Nebuchadnezzar's attitude change after his mind was restored to him?
Why do you think God's judgment was more severe on Belshazzar than on his father?

We frequently attribute a political candidate's success to his or her ambition, education, campaign strategy, popularity, or financial backing. But no one is placed in public office apart from the will of God. Sometimes the Lord deliberately selects a person to accomplish His purposes. Other times, His permissive will grants people the leader they demand.

Israel insisted on having an earthly king. Read the story in 1 Samuel 8:4-20.

What were some of the burdens a king would place on the people?

There will always be a cost associated with demanding the leader of our choice.

B. What respect is due to human authority?

See: http://www.intouch.org/you/bible-studies/content.aspx?topic=A_Biblical_View_of_Government_study






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Government affects our lives daily. It tells us how fast to drive. It regulates our commerce. It protects us from foreign and domestic strife. Yet we rarely take time to consider its basic function. What is a biblical view of government? Why do we have government? What kind of government does the Bible allow?

Developing a Christian view of government is difficult since the Bible does not provide an exhaustive treatment of government. This itself is perhaps instructive and provides some latitude for these institutions to reflect the needs and demands of particular cultural situations. Because the Bible does not speak directly to every area of political discussion, Christians often hold different views on particular political issues. However, Christians are not free to believe whatever they want. Christians should not abandon the Bible when they begin to think about these issues because there is a great deal of biblical material that can be used to judge particular political options.

The Old Testament teaches that God established government after the flood (Gen. 9:6). And the Old Testament provides clear guidelines for the development of a theocracy in which God was the head of government. These guidelines, however, were written for particular circumstances involving a covenant people chosen by God. These guidelines do not apply today because our modern governments are not the direct inheritors of the promises God made to the nation of Israel.

Apart from that unique situation, the Bible does not propose nor endorse any specific political system. The Bible, however, does provide a basis for evaluating various political philosophies because it clearly delineates a view of human nature. And every political theory rests on a particular view of human nature.

The Bible describes two elements of human nature. This viewpoint is helpful in judging government systems. Because humans are created in the image of God (Gen. 1:26–27), they are able to exercise judgment and rationality. However, humans are also fallen creatures (Gen. 3). This human sinfulness (Rom. 3:23) has therefore created a need to control evil and sinful human behavior through civil government.

Many theologians have suggested that the only reason we have government today is to control sinful behavior because of the Fall. But there is every indication that government would have existed even if we lived in a sinless world. For example, there seems to be some structuring of authority in the Garden (Gen. 1–2). The Bible also speaks of the angelic host as being organized into levels of authority and function.

In the creation, God ordained government as the means by which human beings and angelic hosts are ruled. The rest of the created order is governed by instinct (Prov. 30:24–28) and God’s providence. Insect colonies, for example, may show a level of order, but this is due merely to genetically controlled instinct.

Human beings, on the other hand, are created in the image of God and thus are responsible to the commands of God. We are created by a God of order (1 Cor. 14:33); therefore we also seek order through governmental structures.

A Christian view of government differs significantly from views proposed by many political theorists. The basis for civil government is rooted in our created nature. We are rational and volitional beings. We are not determined by fate, as the Greeks would have said, nor are we determined by our environment as modern behaviorists say. We have the power of choice. Therefore we can exercise delegated power over the created order. Thus a biblical view of human nature requires a governmental system that acknowledges human responsibility.

While the source of civil government is rooted in human responsibility, the need for government derives from the necessity of controlling human sinfulness. God ordained civil government to restrain evil (cf. Gen. 9). Anarchy, for example, is not a viable option because all have sinned (Rom. 3:23) and are in need of external control.

Notice how a Christian view of human nature provides a basis to judge various political philosophies. For example, Christians must reject political philosophies which ignore human sinfulness. Many utopian political theories are based upon this flawed assumption. In The Republic, Plato proposed an ideal government where the enlightened philosopher-kings would lead the country. The Bible, however, teaches that all are sinful (Rom. 3:23). Plato’s proposed leaders would also be affected by the sinful effects of the Fall (Gen. 3). They would not always have the benevolent and enlightened disposition necessary to lead the republic.

Christians should also reject a marxist view of government. Karl Marx believed that human nature was conditioned by society, and in particular, the capitalist economy. His solution was to change the economy so that you would change human nature. Why do we have greed? Because we live in a greedy capitalist society. Marx taught that if society changed the economy from capitalism to socialism and then communism, greed would cease.

MORE: http://www.leaderu.com/orgs/probe/docs/xian-pol.html

Suggestions on how to intercede for elected officials. You can pray that they would::
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Recognize their personal sinfulness and need for the cleansing power of Jesus Christ, if they aren't already saved.

Become aware of their inadequacy for the tasks before them, and pray for God's wisdom, knowledge,
understanding, and courage.

Reject all counsel that violates the spiritual principles of Scripture, and be willing to trust divine guidance.

Resist the pressure of those who would mislead them or tempt them to violate their consciences and the will of God.

Work to reverse the cultural trends of humanism, which deifies man and dethrones God.

Ready themselves to abandon their political careers and personal ambitions if this is in the best interest of our country.

Rely upon the Word of God and prayer as their primary sources of strength and success.

Maintain dignity, honor, trustworthiness, and righteousness in their offices.

Strive to be good examples to the people of this land.

Remember that while they are in office, they are accountable to God for their attitudes, actions, and motives

_________________
"Sola Juvat Virtus"
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