Step 4. Welcome Authority
Politics is the science of government. Government is the exercise of authority, direction and control over the actions of people in communities, societies, municipalities, states, countries, etc.. Politics is all about authority, governing, leadership, dominion and control.
The Bible tells us who is ultimately in charge of this universe – – the one over whom no one else has any control. The authority of Jesus Christ is ultimate, meaning all other powers are under his control. The whole universe is under the reign of Jesus Christ, therefore, the whole universe is the kingdom of Christ.
There is confusion in some people’s minds, even in the minds of Christians, regarding the kingdom of God because of the manner in which Christ delegated authority and the fact that He continues to allow an usurped authority (that of Satan’s) to exist.
Christ ordained human government comprised of various forms: family, church, state. Each form of government is under Christ and should be allowed to exercise its God-delegated authority without interference from the others. Human governments must obey God. When one government is in rebellion against God, God will use others to chastise it.
Anarchy is a state of society without acknowledged authorities or law. Without God’s intervention in the affairs of men, as He institutes human government, man’s epitaph could only be written in blood. It would be difficult for us today to imagine the sorts of wickedness that existed in Genesis 6:5, which resulted in humankind being wiped out by a great flood, except for Noah and his family. Civil government was formally initiated by God after the flood waters subsided.
In Genesis 9:5-6, God says …And from each man, too, I will demand an accounting for the life of his fellow man. ‘Whoever sheds the blood of man, by man shall his blood be shed; for in the image of God has God made man’.
Parents have authority over their children. With this authority, comes grave responsibility. Parents are to raise their children in the discipline and nurture of the Lord. They are to be their children’s primary educators. This is Deuteronomy 6:6-7’s instruction to parents, to the fathers in particular, concerning this matter: “These commandments that I give you today are to be upon your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.”
Local churches are to be governed by a group of elders. Paul’s letters to Timothy and Titus outline the qualifications of a church elder. Although the Bible does not provide a clear-cut job description for elders, there seems to be four distinct tasks assigned to a team of elders: a) feeding of the flock, b) providing care for the flock, c) directing the affairs of the church, and d) guarding or keeping watch over the flock
The leaders of the Church are, in effect, charged with the inward responsibility of teaching, training, and equipping the saints for their works of service so that they may attain unity and maturity (Ephesians 4:11-13) and be effective salt and light to the world (Matthew 5:13-16). Outwardly, the church’s responsibility is to look after those who are hungry, thirsty, homeless, naked, sick, and in prison, and to call men everywhere to repentance and to faith in Jesus Christ (Matthew 22:39; Luke 24:47; Acts 20:21).
Christ gives the State authority to run civil affairs. In Romans 13:1-2 the Apostle Paul tells us that, “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
The State has been ordained by God to protect life and property. This is done by maintaining peace and order and by regulating the exploitation of natural and human resources to restrain unscrupulous persons or groups. Paul warns lawbreakers that rulers do not bear the sword for nothing (Romans 13:4). Officers of the law have the responsibility to enforce the law. If they do not, or do it wrongly, then they betray their function and they tend to allow or even stir lawless and sinful activity.
God’s moral law defines the realm of instituted governments. No governing authority has the right to ask anyone to violate any of God’s laws. A person asked by any governing authority to disobey God has the moral duty to refuse. We must obey God rather than men, says the Apostle Peter (Acts 5:29). Parents may not train their children to be thieves or use them for any other illegal acts such as begging or selling things on the streets. Church elders may not allow the worship of idols. The state governor may not order Christians to work on Sundays.
Church and State have been ordained by God and given separate and distinct responsibilities. One is not to usurp the other’s God-given authority. There is separation between church and state; both existing under the authority of Jesus Christ.
There are clear lines of authority in God’s universe because God is not a god of confusion but of order.