52. BEHIND THE BADGE

CIVIL GOVERNMENT is ordained by God (Romans 13:1). Its possession of power does not pose a threat to His supreme sovereignty because it is only by His authority that government has power (John 19:10, 11).

God has granted all authority in this age to Jesus Christ (Matthew 28:18). God Himself once ruled over the governments of earth; Christ now reigns over them as His Messiah (Psalm 2). Christ is the Ruler of the kings of the earth (Revelation 1:5). He is head over every principality and authority (I Peter 3:22). He will never be King of kings and Lord of lords more than He is today. The difference between now and later is that every tongue will confess His sovereignty then, while many now have never heard of it and others refuse to acknowledge it.

Should any authority or government claim Satanic rule and assert itself against God, Christ still is Lord. He has conquered every demonic power by His perfect life and resurrection from the dead (Colossians 2:15). As the Body of Christ, composed of redeemed individuals, the church shows its submission to Christ, in part, by being obedient to the existing civil authorities (Romans 13:2; I Peter 2:13).

The church is to pray for all rulers (I Timothy 2:1-3). It is to give them total obedience – as duly authorized agents of Christ and God — so long as they do not assert themselves against the supreme authority of Christ by commanding something which conflicts with His instructions. When this happens, the church remains loyal to Christ rather than to His disloyal minister — the rebellious civil government.

Government exists, under God, for a specific purpose. That purpose is to maintain such tranquility that its citizens can live peaceable and godly lives. This entails a dual responsibility: rewarding the person who does good, and punishing the person who does evil (I Peter 2:14; Romans 13:3, 4).

When a government fails to praise the right-doer, it fails in a God-given duty. When it allows evil-doers to go unpunished, it perverts its Divine authority. Yet even in that condition government can command the prayers and obedience of its Christian citizens — so long, again, as it does not assert itself against Christ’s ultimate Lordship by requiring disobedience to Him.

There is no provision in the Reign of Christ for disorder, rebellion or confusion. God’s creative Holy Spirit the hallmark of the present Age — is a Spirit of order and peace (Galatians 5:22; I Corinthians 14:33).

Let those of us who recognize Christ as Lord commit ourselves to welldoing and to respect for every authority. This is the will of God.