By Adrian Rogers
What is Our Obligation?
1I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; 2For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. 3For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour;
1 Timothy 2:1-3
Abraham Lincoln said, “I believe it is the duty of all nations as well as men to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God.” Our nation’s Declaration of Independence from Britain was also a declaration of dependence—upon Almighty God. As Christian citizens we have a duty to our nation. The church is neither the master nor the servant of the state, but instead we’re to be the conscience of the state. Some, like the ACLU, say Christians are just supposed to go under a rock. No, we’re to come out and stand on The Rock. We’re to speak the oracles of God into the life of our nation.
In ancient Rome Christians were taken into the Coliseum and put to death before laughing, mocking mobs. But underneath the Coliseum were catacombs—passageways where believers worshipped Jesus and prayed. If we had lived in that day, we would have said, “There’s not a chance on earth these little people in their underground prayer meetings could do something about what’s going on up above.” But they ignited a spiritual revolution that turned the Empire upside down. Comparing coliseums and catacombs, I want to be in the catacomb crowd.
What does it mean to be a Christian in America today? In a word, it means to be Christ-like. Though the tide of public opinion may sway and even storm against us, we must resolutely be like Christ. As Christian citizens, the Word of God directs us to these responsibilities to our country.
- Pray for government. 1 Timothy 2:1-3
Why does God allow evil people to rise to offices of authority? When leaders are elected by the people, what does that say about us? We get the leaders we deserve. When Paul wrote this letter to Timothy, Nero was in power, a man living in the depths of depravity. Paul exhorts us “first of all” to pray and offer thanksgiving for all men, including kings like Nero. Why? Because Proverbs 21:1 promises, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of water: He turneth it whithersoever He will.” God is in charge. He can turn these leaders whichever way He wills. The battle for godly government isn’t won with upward fists of rebellion, but with downward, humble knees in prayer.
- Pay for government. Romans 13:1-7
Just as we give our tithe, we are to pay our taxes. That’s not just obeying the letter of the law, that is obeying the Master of the law. In Matthew 22:15-22, Jesus taught us to render unto the government that which it is due it, and render unto God that which is due Him. There wasn’t an issue of whether the government was doing right by its people, but whether the people were doing right by their government. Jesus said, “Even though I am free and am the owner of all things, I am going to pay taxes.” (see Romans 11:46) There’s simply no loophole when it comes to paying taxes. Jesus did it, so must we.
- Preach to government. Ephesians 4:15
We are to speak truth to our leaders. We dare not be silent. We are called to share the gospel with whomever and wherever God calls us. We need to tell every official: What is politically correct is sometimes morally wrong! It’s Satan’s strategy to keep good people silent in evil times. Your calling and mine is not to rise in the polls of popularity but to pursue holiness! Without hint of equivocation we need to speak up in truth for God’s glory!
- Participate in government. 1 Peter 2:12
“Whatever makes a man a good Christian, makes him a good citizen.” —Daniel Webster
Don’t let the world intimidate you into believing the lie that the phrase “separation of church and state” is a mandate for your eradication or worse, neutralization from governmental affairs! When you were saved, you weren’t disenfranchised from the world. You were saved to impact the world for Jesus Christ.
The only hope for America is Jesus Christ! Your mission is to pray for the Holy Spirit to call sinners to Himself and for you to have an impact in your home, your neighborhood, your workplace, your community, and even your nation for the glory of Jesus Christ.