June 22, 2011

Living Under Authority

1 Peter 2:13-14; Romans 13:1-7

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities.
Romans 13:1


Living as God’s people may come out most dramatically in the world of politics. We need to know there are at least two God-given reasons to submit to governing authorities.

First, we submit “for the Lord’s sake.” Christians affirm that government has a limited scope, yet they recognize it may be used to advance God’s glory, for the Lord often chooses to work through government for the benefit of all people.

Second, we submit for society’s sake. Government’s role is to build and protect a good and just society for all. Establishing speed limits, for example, is a wise safety practice for everyone. And obedience even to laws that we find less than ideal helps to establish a stable society.

Of course, there is an authority above that of government. Peter’s instructions were given to a church persecuted by the Roman emperor Nero. Christians are not obligated to obey laws that call for disobedience to God (see Acts 5:29). However, Christians are not free to repay evil with evil (see Romans 12:17-21). Since all people bear God’s image, believers in Christ accept the responsibility to seek, pray for, and serve the good of society.

Who knows how the Lord will use us when we honor his appointed authorities?

Lord, thank you for the freedom I have in Christ to do good in my community. Bless our leaders with a sense of justice and good for all people. For Jesus’ sake, Amen.

About the author — Calvin Hoogendoorn

Rev. Calvin Hoogendoorn serves as senior pastor of First Christian Reformed Church in Sioux Falls, South Dakota. Previously he served two churches in Illinois. He and his wife, Carla, have three daughters.

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