“Above all, you must live as citizens of heaven, conducting yourselves in a manner worthy of the Good News about Christ.” — Phil. 1:27a
To live as citizens of heaven includes understanding that a multicultural, pluralistic society is not a threat to Christ’s ability to impact the world of man. If we truly believe in the power of the Word, wouldn’t the need to legislate it into effect represent a lack of faith? What need of government did Christ have in establishing His Church? Why would we feel it necessary today?
The protection of our Constitutional freedoms as Americans is significant consideration for us all, but fundamental to protecting those freedoms is protecting the freedoms of all. The debate has now become zero-sum. Too many believe “I can’t have my beliefs unless everyone I come into contact also shares those beliefs, and I’ll carry those beliefs so far that I am willing to sacrifice my freedom to get my point across.” Christ died. He did not revolt. It was in His death that His battle began, and it was in His resurrection that the battle was won.
The United States government is not the arbiter of spiritual doctrine. Why would we expect it to be? For those who advocate for a religiously-based government, be careful what you wish for because a zealot prevailing will be a zealot governing, and your interpretations of scripture may be very different. That is not to say that the beliefs of our governing officials don’t matter. It’s simply suggesting the legislation of morality is not necessary for the word of God to take hold so long as men and women of sincere and noble faith rely on the Word to guide their own lives.
Legislating morality is likely to lead to outcomes unanticipated by well-meaning people. Do any of us want our faith dictated by a group of self-appointed, “religiously pure” individuals who find themselves governing? No. Just as none of us want to find ourselves governed by a plutocracy of technological elite who limit religion, freedom, and speech according to their views.
Paul submitted to authority even when contrary to his best interest.
Paul was arrested for preaching ideas that were contrary to the customs of the time. Acts. 16:21. Paul, along with his fellow evangelist Silas, was denied due process, beaten, and then asked to disappear in an effort to cover up their treatment, yet they didn’t lead a revolt against the government responsible for this action. Acts 16:37. In fact, Paul called for submission to the authority of the same government that treated him in this way, stating:
“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men.” — Titus 3:1–2 (NASV).
Regardless of the political message and intent of the governing body of our country, every person is to be subject to that governing authority because there is no authority except from God and, as is made clear by Paul, those authorities which exist are established by God. Rom. 13:1. As Christians, we must believe that both Donald Trump and Joe Biden have been made President based upon God’s will. To believe otherwise is to disregard Romans 13 and minimize God.
Those who protest a faith and following in and of our Lord Jesus Christ must refrain from revolt and submit to the government and its officers. Christ is above all rulers or authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age, but in every age to come. Eph. 1:21. Paul goes so far as to let us know that whoever resists authority opposes the ordinance of God, and will receive condemnation. Rom. 13:2.
No political cause is worth opposition to God. And the elevation of any one personality to a position which enables the manipulation of the actions of his or her followers is contrary to the characteristics of living as a citizen of heaven. This applies to following political and religious leaders alike, i.e. political party leaders, megachurch pastors, those whose personality has preempted their message. There is no place in the life of any Christian for opposition to authority based on a political cause or or firebrand. Rom. 13:5–7.
The political involvement of Christians is not the concern of this post. Good men and woman should always involve themselves in the oversight and governance of a democratic society. The concern for those of faith is the progression from involvement to complicity in disobedient insurrection that we are warned of by Paul. Citizens of heaven have no need to concern themselves with sedition. Let peace be your hallmark.
“Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts…” Col. 3:15