Before Throwing Off Governments
The Apostle Paul wrote this to the believing members of “the church,” which is “the body of Christ” concerning proper conduct under governments
1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God [for the good, often as blessing in the form of correction, or judgment]. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he [the ruler] is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6 For this cause pay ye tribute [taxes] also: for they [the rulers] are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our [ultimate] salvation nearer than when we believed. 12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering [Illicit intercourse] and wantonness, not in strife and envying.
14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof. Romans 13:1-14 (KJV)
Before throwing off a government there are a few things you should sincerely consider. Read the first seven verses of Romans 13 (above) and the quotes below that are from the “Declaration of Independence” as examples for your consideration.
“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”
2. Government is needed. God ordained governments (Romans 13:1).
“That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men…”
3. Be sober. Resistance to powers God ordained has consequences (Romans 13:2).
“Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes…”
4. Do no evil. Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. (Romans 13:3).
“But when a long train of abuses and usurpations… a history of repeated injuries … To prove this, let Facts be submitted to a candid world.”
5. Don’t be first to draw the sword. They bear the sword to revenge and execute wrath upon the evil doer (Romans 13:4).
“He has plundered our seas, ravaged our Coasts, burnt our towns, and destroyed the lives of our people.”
6. Check your motives. You answer to God. Be subject for conscience sake (Romans 13:5).
“We … appealing to the Supreme Judge of the world for the rectitude of our intentions, do, … declare, That these United Colonies are, and of Right ought to be Free and Independent States.”
7. The end does not justify the means. Act honorably. Render therefore to all their dues (Romans 13:7).
“In every stage of these Oppressions We have Petitioned for Redress in the most humble terms …”
“…And for the support of this Declaration, with a firm reliance on the protection of divine Providence, we mutually pledge to each other our Lives, our Fortunes and our sacred Honor.”
8. Do not put off a government and replace it with nothing. Put on Christ (Romans 13:14).
“… it is the mutual duty of all to practise Christian forbearance, love, and charity toward each other.”
This last quote came from the Virginia Declaration of Rights Section 16, which was adopted a month before the Declaration of Independence and greatly influenced the Bill of Rights. The Declaration of Independence does not mention the Lord Jesus Christ, and that is where it fell short.
“where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.” – 2 Corinthians 3:17
Until there is a nation of men all filled with the Spirit, liberty will be quickly corrupted and hard to keep. One day that nation will exist on this planet. It will be named Israel. Christ will be its king. At that time the whole world will be full of the knowledge of the Lord and his liberty.
Remember the true source of liberty as you celebrate one of the greatest declarations on liberty1 outside of scripture this 4th of July.
“Stand fast therefore in the liberty wherewith Christ hath made us free, and be not entangled again with the yoke of bondage.” – Galatians 5:1
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1 Many of these greatest documents on liberty are very short reads and worth your time. The U.S. Constitution, Bill of Rights, and Declaration of Independence can be found online at the National Archives website.