OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT
WE BELIEVE THAT CIVIL GOVERNMENT IS OF DIVINE APPOINTMENT, FOR THE INTERESTS AND GOOD ORDER OF HUMAN SOCIETY; AND THAT MAGISTRATES ARE TO BE PRAYED FOR, CONSISTENTLY HONORED, AND OBEYED; EXCEPT ONLY IN THINGS OPPOSED TO THE WILL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS THE ONLY LORD OF THE CONSCIENCE, AND THE PRINCE OF THE KINGS OF THE EARTH.
I. "WE BELIEVE THAT CIVIL GOVERNMENT IS OF DIVINE APPOINTMENT, FOR THE INTERESTS AND GOOD ORDER OF HUMAN SOCIETY."
A. Romans 13:1 "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."
1. Baptists have always believed in being law abiding. Their Master, the Lord Jesus Christ believed in abiding by the law of the land.
2. The word "power" in this verse refers to authority to rule and carry out the rule of command.
3. Since man in himself is a natural lawbreaker he needs someone to rule over him and to keep him in check. This comes from being depraved in nature.
4. God has given certain men down through the ages a divine appointment to rule over nations, families, tribes, cities, towns, villages, etc. In trouble with this world and its lawmakers is that we just do not look to God for grace and wisdom to live as God would have us to.
5. It must be noted that God always worked through the earthly leaders he established.
a. Jesus never rebelled against the government of Rome.
b. He established that government, and to rebel against that government was the same as rebelling against himself.
c. God established Pharaoh as head of Egypt, and sent Moses to Pharaoh, commanding him to let Israel go from Egypt.
d. God did not want Israel to rebel against Pharaoh, or Egypt.
e. God does not want us to rebel against any governmental authority he has established over us – and God has established every governmental authority over us.
f. There is no governmental authority except as established by God – whether we like that authority or not – whether the government abuses their authority or not.
B. Romans 13:2-7.
1. Paul says that those in authority are not given to man to terrorize him, but to protect him.
2. Paul also tells us that God counts all who resist those in authority as resisting Him. For it is God who set them in the office of authority.
C. In giving the law to Israel, God in Deuteronomy 16:13 said, "Judges and officers shalt thou make thee in all thy gates, which the LORD thy God giveth thee, throughout thy tribes: and they shall judge they people with just judgment."
D. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. II Samuel 23:3 – "The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God."
2. Exodus 18:23 – "If thou shalt do this thing, and God command thee so, then thou shalt be able to endure, and all this people shall also go to their place in peace."
3. Jeremiah 30:21 – When God restores Israel, the governor shall be able to approach to God, as no man has ever been able.
II. "AND THAT MAGISTRATES ARE TO BE PRAYED FOR, CONSISTENTLY HONORED, AND OBEYED."
A. Matthew 22:21 - Our blessed Savior Himself said, "Render (give back unto) therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s and unto God the things which are God’s"
1. We obey all the laws of the land, whether we agree with them or not, as long as those laws do not restrict our worship.
2. All the planning and zoning laws (and all the procedures required by government officials) are to obeyed.
3. Do not do something that you know are against governmental laws, or procedures.
B. I Timothy 2:1-8.
1. God’s people are instructed to pray for all those in authority.
2. We are to pray for them not only for their good, but that we might lead a quiet and peaceable life in all Godliness and honesty.
C. God requires that we honor the office of the one who is in authority. We may not like the man’s personality but we are to honor him for the offices sake.
III. "EXCEPT ONLY IN THINGS OPPOSED TO THE WILL OF OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST, WHO IS THE ONLY LORD OF THE CONSCIENCE, AND THE PRINCE OF THE KINGS OF THE EARTH."
A. God’s people are expected to obey in authority upon this earth as long as it is not against the teachings of God’s word.
B. Baptists have always been a people who spoke out when man’s law was contrary to God’s.
1. Acts 4:18-20 – Peter and John were commanded to stop preaching in the name of Christ, but they replied they would obey God, not man.
2. Abortion and homosexuality are both sins against God, and Baptists should continually speak against such wickedness.
C. Acts 5:9 "We ought to obey God rather than man."
1. When it comes to the question of whether we should follow man and sin against God, we should always refuse men.
2. America has one of the greatest governments in the world because those who are called Baptists today fought and died for the liberty and freedom of men.
3. It would be good for every saved person to read Cathcart’s, "Baptist Patriots" and "The American Revolution".
D. All men who are in authority today are under the authority of Jesus Christ.
1. They may not believe this or act like it, but the time will come when they shall stand before God and give account of their actions while in the office of authority.
2. Revelation 19:16 – "And he hath on his vesture and on his thigh a name written, KING OF KINGS, AND LORD OF LORDS."
3. Romans 14:9-13 – These verses speak of Christ, our final judge; who we will all give account to.
a. Because Christ is our final judge, Christians should not judge one another.
b. This does not mean we cannot know if a fellow Christian is doing right or wrong; it means we do not condemn them.
c. We can condemn wrong actions, but we are not to condemn people.
E. Other scriptures that teach this to be true are:
1. Titus 3:1 – "Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,"
2. I Peter 2:13-16 – Christians are to submit themselves to every governmental authority because this is the will of God, and that foolish and unlearned men may be put to silence.
3. Daniel 3:15-18 – Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego told Nebuchadnezzar they would disobey his command to worship the golden image he had set up, even if they died.
4. Daniel 6:7-10 – Daniel continued to pray three times a day even when he knew King Darius had signed the decree sentencing any person to the lion’s den if they asked anything of any God or man except him.
5. Matthew 23:10 – None of us should want to be called "master" or be over other Christians. The real master is servant of all.
6. Romans 14:4 – We have no right to judge another man’s servants. Therefore we have no right to judge (condemn) another Christian because we are all the servants of God.
7. Psalms 72:11 – "Yea, all kings shall fall down before him: all nations shall serve him."
8. Psalms 2 – God shall laugh as the calamity of men and nations, because his plan (will) shall be accomplished.