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Thought for the Month- October 2014
It would seem reasonable to view our lives as believers from four aspects. 1) My spiritual life lived before God. 2)My assembly life lived before my fellow believers, 3) my family life lived in the home, 4) my secular life, lived in a world system in rebellion against God.
With the background of unrest and division which has affected our country over these past weeks, and which will possibly not be resolved by the decision reached, I felt a personal need to consider what the Scriptures teach in respect of my responsibility to Human Government. I judged that the letter Paul wrote to the Roman believers gave clear guidance in ch.13 vv1/7 to my concerns. Human Government was placed in the hands of Noah after the Flood, with its implementation quickly failing on account of man’s inherent sinful nature. In these verses emphasis is placed on,1) The Leaders of a Nation, and their responsibilities 2) The Christian’s responsibilities to them. In vv1/2 Human Government is appointed by God: and is described as Higher Powers/No Powers but of God/The Powers that be are ordained by God, (Power/s carries the idea of delegated authority). Governments may be weak or strong, just or oppressive, wise or foolish but in each case God will always move His own purpose forward. There are two notable books in the OT; Esther and Daniel where the hand of God is clearly seen as being in total control. The first function of the Leaders is in the sphere of Safety; v3a. The second function has to do with Finance; v6. The increased lawlessness of our society coupled with a spirit of rampant corruption has now made these two functions impossible to control, but this does not remove responsibility from National Leaders as our verses show.
What then are our responsibilities? Since Governments are ordained by God, they should be obeyed, however we must be mindful that circumstances may arise when “we ought to obey God rather than men”, Acts ch.5 v29. Perhaps a much more sensitive aspect of these verses comes in vv6/7 where the matter of monetary support to the Government is dealt with. Paul wisely does not enter into the rights and wrongs of the taxation systems, he simply states that a nations leaders have a right to monetary support, therefore we are expected to pay our taxes, and I think Paul means without complaint!!