Eternal Savior Lutheran Church

A member of the Lutheran Church - Missouri Synod

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Lafayette, CO 80026
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January 18 – Being Subject To Our Governing Authorities

“Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.” Rom. 13:1-3a

Devotional Thought For The Day

This is a general rule, based upon a premise that is generally true, that “rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad.”  Therefore, we are to “be subject to the governing authorities” – they receive their authority and power from God, and we should not “resist what God has appointed,” especially not what He has appointed for the general good of all people, the punishment of evil and the rewarding of good behavior.

The circumstances are a bit more complex in America, and other nations which conduct their governance “under” a more basic and overarching set of governing principles – like our Constitution. We have an agreed upon and orderly protocol for changing these principles – making and passing “amendments.”  But it is the responsibility of those in “office” to restrict their governance and conform it to the agreed upon “authoritative” principles of our Constitution which bind us together as a nation.  When our government behaves contrary to or outside of these principles, or seeks to denude us of the rights and privileges that are set forth in our Constitution, the government is no longer behaving “legitimately” – and under such circumstances, our higher “governing authority,” the Constitution itself, prescribes that we not “obey” those in office, but rather submit and conform to the higher, overarching authority of our Constitution.  This complexity requires that we be “citizens” and not “subjects,” people who take the time, energy, and risks of responsibility for governing ourselves, rather than being subjugated to “men” – even those men we have elected into an office.  This is what the Revolutionary War was all about.

Today, many of these principles of our “Constitutional authority” are being debated as if they are “political” issues – and as if they are subject to erosion or removal at the whim and will of the executive branch of government, and/or the legislative branch of government.  This is in itself contrary to, and dismissive of the “governing authority” of our Constitution – and hence outside of and contrary to that authority, and also a betrayal of the offices to which these politicians have been elected.  It doesn’t matter what some “constituents” want and demand – the “governing authorities” are to be obeyed by all, especially by those elected to office, and in our nation that means the Constitutional principles and guarantees made to all citizens.  These principles trump the hue and cry of constituents [until they are properly amended], and those who hold office in our nation are bound to be statesmen and leaders, not politicians!  When elected “authorities” act outside of and contrary to the “governing authority” of the Constitution, they are no longer acting in their office, and whatever “authority” they may claim for doing so is “illegitimate” – and obviously this would include any effort to erode or destroy our Constitutional rights.

There is much debate today about just how the government should NOT “terrorize” people engaging in “good” behavior, and how it should be a terror to those engaging in “bad conduct.”  This includes discussions on welfare, healthcare, immigration, national security, religious freedom, and gun control.  However we feel about these issues, and the best solutions for the general good, we must remain subject to “the governing authorities,” and chief among these in America is our Constitution. We can change it if that is what the majority of the people demand – but such changes must occur with the proper authoritative protocol.  Regardless, no one has the right to ignore or disobey these “governing authorities,” especially not Christians.  This means that Christians have an intensified duty in such difficult times, and greater responsibility, to be good “citizens” and not mere “subjects.”  This requires clear thinking and willingness to learn and grasp what our citizenship requires of us.

Prayer For The Day

Dear Lord Jesus, we marvel at the wisdom and courage that You gave to our founding fathers, and the great blessings that our nation has enjoyed through the Constitution they composed and made the glue of our nation.  Grant the same great wisdom to our citizens today, that we eagerly obey and conform to this “governing authority.”  Grant that those in office also conform to it, that the common good be achieved, and that we may also remain subject to them.  Amen.