How the Chief Function of Civil Government Should Influence Our Choices in Tomorrow’s Elections

November 3, 2014

The results of the elections tomorrow will surely go a long way in playing a major role in the future of our country. With that reality in mind, every Christian needs to remind himself of what Scripture teaches is the chief function of civil government and then let that truth guide his decisions about what he chooses to do tomorrow.

The Clear Teaching of the Premier Passage in Scripture about Civil Government

Romans 13 is the premier passage in Scripture about civil government. God plainly provides us with instruction about the chief function of civil government through the first seven verses of this chapter:

Rom 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.

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 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 for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they 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.

These verses emphasize that civil government has the vital God-ordained function of being God’s judicial agent (“no power but of God” [13:1]; “ordained of God” [13:1]; “the ordinance of God” [13:2]; “the minister of God” [13:4; 2x]; “God’s ministers” [13:6]) for the punishment of the wicked and for the praise of the righteous (13:3, 4). Other NT revelation confirms that this is the premier function of civil government (cf. 1 Pet. 2:13-14).

Romans 13:1-7 and Decision Making in Tomorrow’s Elections

Based on the divinely ordained chief role of civil authority, we as believers must reject false views about what comprises good government. Contrary to the assertions of various entities, good government is not chiefly to concern itself with providing economic prosperity, adequate healthcare, educational opportunity, etc.

Rather, good government from divine viewpoint is government that foremost promotes God’s righteousness and opposes all unrighteousness. Although properly exercising this chief function will have a profound salutary result on economic and other social concerns, governmental officials must seek to fear God and promote the fear of God and the keeping of His commandments among its citizens (Eccl. 12:13-14) above all these lesser concerns.

Given the clear teaching of Scripture about the chief role of governmental authority, we as believers must base our decisions about what we choose to do in tomorrow’s elections so that our choices will best promote righteousness in our country and oppose all unrighteousness. May God have mercy on us all in tomorrow’s elections and raise up righteous leadership in our country at every level of government and may He grant us all wisdom to know what role He wants us to play in our seeking to secure godly government throughout our land.

Rajesh

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