Monday, May 9, 2016

Clinton or Trump? Why My Hope Is Not in the Political Process

Romans 13:1-5, "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.  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.  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:  For he 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.  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."
From Robert Haldane's Exposition of the Epistle to the Romans on Romans 13:1-5 (pp. 577-585):

"Every one, without exception, is, by the command of God, to be subject to the existing powers, whatever were the means by which they became possessed of the situation in which they stand...No tyrant ever seized power till God gave it him...Civil rulers, then, are the ministers of God; if so, they must be of God's own appointment.  The worst government in any country is of God, and is calculated to effect His purposes and promote His glory. Wicked rulers are necessary in God's plans to punish wicked nations.  It is not merely the form of civil government that is from God, but the governors.

If God has appointed every government that exists in the world, His people are bound to submit to every government under which their lot has been cast.  There is but one exception, and that is when anything is required contrary to the law of God.  Then duty is plain.  We are to obey God rather than men.  The people of God, then, ought to consider resistance to the government under which they live as a very awful crime--even as resistance to God Himself...If he [the Christian] obeys the laws of the country, and does the things that are good, he will have no reason to be afraid of the government.  If called to suffer for Christ's sake, he has no need to fear.

Let Christians, then, in every country, instead of joining with the enemies of its established order, be thankful for the Divine ordinance of civil government, and exert themselves to maintain obedience and peace.  It is of the utmost importance for them in every country to understand their duty to civil government.  In this way they will most effectually commend the Gospel to the world, and remove some of the most powerful obstacles to its progress.  While they show that they fear not man, where he ordains what is contrary to the commandments of God, they ought likewise to show that obedience to God, and gratitude to Him who appoints civil government for their protection, obliges them to submit to the rulers in all things temporal.

The institution of civil government is a dispensation of mercy, and its existence is so indispensable, that the moment it ceases under one form it re-establishes itself in another.  The world, ever since the fall, when the dominion of one part of the human race over another was immediately introduced, Gen. iii. 16, has been in such a state of corruption and depravity, that without the powerful obstacle presented by civil government to the selfish and malignant passions of men, it would be better to live among the beasts of the forest than in human society.

Human governments, like everything administered by men, must always be imperfect...Vengeance belongeth to God.  He hath, however, delegated this right, so far as concern the affairs of this world, to the civil magistrate, who ought to punish evil-doers...Instead, then, of submitting with reluctance, he [the Christian] ought to submit with pleasure and gratitude.  Indeed, civil government is more for the advantage of Christians than for that of others.  They need its protection more than any other class of men.  Were is not for the protection of government, Christians could not live even in the countries where there are the proudest boasts of enlargement of mind with respect to civil liberty.

It would be a hard thing indeed if God did not rule the rulers.  But the Christians have nothing to fear, when he considers that every plan and proceeding of government is overruled and directed by his God...They have peace whatever party gets into power, because they know that in everything God fulfils His purposes by them.

In the preceding five verses the Apostle makes no provision, in matters of civil submission, for any case of resistance or rebellion, under any circumstances.  He makes no exceptions, nor modifications; he discusses no hazardous cases of conscience upon emergencies not existing; but in language which none can mistake, and with an authority the commanding solemnity of which defies opposition, he proclaims to the Greek and to the Roman, to the barbarian and the civilised, Let every soul be subject to the higher powers.  The powers that be are ordained of God."

God is sovereign in all matters of life, including today's political process.  Yes, I will go and vote in the November 2016 elections (my conscience may lead me to write-in a candidate or vote 3rd party), but I'm not distraught or overly concerned about who the next president to the United States will be.  He or she is not my savior; He or she is a servant of God and will be held accountable for how s/he rules this country.  I do not support the notion that the State of Texas should secede from the USA, nor should Christians leave the country in protest.  In addition, Christians should not seek to set up a theonomy, where our modern society observes the Mosaic Law.  The current political process is ordained of God, but it should not consume a Christian's life.  My focus remains on the Word of God and how that guides my role as wife and mom.  How will I react when the next president is announced?  I'll pray for all those elected and seek to lead a peaceable life.

"I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.  For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;" (1 Timothy 2:1-3).