"The Powers That Be"

February 02, 2018 0 Comments

As many of you know, I have been working diligently (every morning from 6 to 8 AM!) on a New Testament version of STRENGTH FOR TODAY, a companion volume of the daily devotional book I wrote on the Old Testament. As it so happened, I was writing the devotional from Romans 13 on the same day the President was giving his State of the Union address to congress. Interesting timing.
The 13th chapter of Romans begins: "Let every soul be subject to the higher powers (governing authorities), for there is no power except from God; the powers that be are ordained of God". This is the first of three very important principles laid down by the Apostle Paul in this chapter--a chapter which describes the believer's responsibility to government.
FIRST, I am to recognize and accept those whom God has placed in positions of political power. According to verse 4, our President is "God's minister to you for good". Judging from the expressions on the faces of the Democrats during that speech, it is clear they have no sense of the truth of Romans 13 at all. They have not accepted the reality that GOD (not the Russians) put this man in power. In Daniel 2:21 we read: He (God) changes the times and the seasons, He removes kings and sets up kings". So first of all, if you believe the Bible, you have to accept the fact that every President who has ever been elected was GOD'S CHOICE, for the Lord is sovereign over the kingdoms of this world.
SECOND, I am to understand the PURPOSE of government. Why did God, in Gen. 9, establish human government? It was to stop violent criminals from hurting innocent civilians. The only legitimate purpose of government is the protection of it's citizens. God ordained capital punishment as the chief responsibility of the state. The is clearly taught both in Gen. 9:6ff, and Romans 13. "He beareth not the sword in vain". Today people expect their government to do everything for them, from welfare to education to disaster relief. But the only biblical reason for the existence of human government is the protection of the people. We, as Christians, should support any legislation that is geared to do just that.
THIRD, I am to respect and honor the office of the President, whether I agree with his policies or not! Paul writes: "Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor". The absolute anger and hatred that I saw displayed during the President's address was appalling. There have been times in the past when I didn't like a President's policies, but I still respected the office. We are to give honor to whom honor is due. And the Apostle Peter exhorts us to: "Fear God, honor the king" (I Pet. 2:17). One thing is certain. Right now in America there is a political party that has gone far beyond "loyal opposition" to outright hatred and disrespect for the office of the Presidency. And as a Christian who loves our country, this low level of civil discourse is frightening.

Richard Seefried
Harrisonburg, VA
Richard Seefried has a Master’s Degree in Christian Ministry, and is licensed & certified by the NCCA as a clinical pastoral counselor.