There is a biblical reason for the rise of totalitarian and autonomous state control in the world and particularly in the United States of America. American citizens have witnessed an increase in the sheer size of the federal government and its increasing efforts to control the lives of its citizens. What that biblical reason is, and how Christians are to respond to a rising secular government, is our subject for today.
First, the biblical reason for the rise of state control begins when a nation at large rejects God. This rejection of God not only involves a rejection of His authority in the lives of a nation’s citizens, but also a rejection of God’s very existence. This scenario is set forth in Romans 1:18-23.
Romans 1:18–23 (ESV) says, “18 For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth. 19 For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them. 20 For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse. 21 For although they knew God, they did not honor him as God or give thanks to him, but they became futile in their thinking, and their foolish hearts were darkened. 22 Claiming to be wise, they became fools, 23 and exchanged the glory of the immortal God for images resembling mortal man and birds and animals and creeping things.”
A society’s rejection of God, which then accords with the rise of the state, involves four distinct but related behaviors according to Romans 1:18-23. First, there is the systematic rejection and suppression of the truth of God’s existence. Second, there then follows a refusal to honor and worship God. This is a natural consequence for if a society denies God’s existence, there is then no reason to worship and honor a nonexistent God. Third, a refusal to give thanks to God. Why, society reasons, should we be grateful to a God who does not exist? Finally, the rise of idolatry, which seeks to replace God with another object of worship. Make no mistake, people have an inherent desire to worship an object greater than themselves.
When a society and culture commits the sins set forth in Romans 1:18-23, then the state will rise to take God’s place. This scenario has been repeated throughout history, but is often forgotten. As 20th century philosopher wrote in 1905, “Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.”
What ought to be the perspective and responsible, biblical behavior to the rise of state by believers in Christ? The Bible sets forth several. Here are seven.
- Be obedient to and seek to fulfill The Great Commission. Matthew 28:16-20.
- Be Salt and Light in a morally corrupt and dark world. Matthew 5:13-16.
- Do not conform to the world’s immoral ethics and values. Romans 12:1-2; I John 2:15-17.
- Pray for government leaders. I Timothy 2:1-3; I Peter 3:13-17; 4:12-19; 5:6-11.
- Be a good citizen and submit to government as along as doing so does not violate Scripture and conscience. Acts 4:13-22; Romans 13:1; 14:1-15:13; Titus 3:1-2; I Peter 2:13-17;
- Be prepared to suffer persecution for your faith in Christ. 2 Timothy 3:12-13.
- Always remember that Jesus Christ is King of kings and Lord of lords. He is forever in control. Psalm 2; Acts 17:16-31; 1 Timothy 6:13-16.
Have a blessed day.
Soli deo Gloria!