Dear Brothers and Sisters in Christ,
A new document sat awaiting some of the most prominent men in North America. All it needed was John Hancock’s “John Hancock” and the signatures of the other delegates. Imagine yourself in line, ready to grasp the quill pen and make your mark. What are your thoughts? The fighting that started over a year ago? Are you worried about pledging your life and possessions plus your sacred honor to the cause of independence from Great Britain? Are you excited? Afraid? Hold that thought as you consider this Bible verse:
“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.” (Romans 13:1)
Let’s be honest; there are times when government decisions seem ludicrous, even sinful. Strange projects are funded with taxes you paid. Wars against people who never bothered you drain tax coffers that you filled. Laws authorize or allow behavior we know is sinful. Federal court decisions can even end the lives of unborn children in every state of the union.
If we all did as we pleased, the chaos would be unimaginable. Either we would cower in our homes afraid to go out or we would be speeding past, cutting off, or crashing through others. God’s servants for your good don’t want this to happen any more than you do.
Satan gave Jesus ample opportunity to rebel against authorities. Jesus showed who ruled and it was His Father. This loyalty of Jesus He displayed as a man, honoring earthly authority and obeying its laws. This perfect citizen of heaven and earth now confers citizenship rights on us. In Baptism, we have immigrated from the principality of Satan to the kingdom of Christ. As Christ taught His followers so He teaches us: The Father reigns supreme through His beloved Son.
The line has shortened, and it’s almost your turn. Weighing the Word of God, carefully considering His commands and His promises, you make a decision not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. What is that decision? No one can tell you. You have been freed by Christ to be a responsible citizen of His earthly and heavenly kingdoms. For whatever government you have, no matter how free or oppressed you seem to be, you know that in Christ you are free indeed. Free to live, to love, to serve God, neighbor, and government.