“Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good work,” (Titus 3:1 ESV).
“Jesus is Lord is an affirmation that is difficult for human beings to hear and truly believe. In confessing the lordship of Christ we are denying human autonomy, the idea that we are a law unto ourselves and are not subject to any higher authority. To bow the knee to Jesus is also to admit that no human government is absolute, that we will always follow our Savior’s demands when they are contrary to the demands of the state (Acts 5:27–29),” explains Dr. R. C. Sproul.
However, believers in Christ have a responsibility to the state. God has created several social institutions. These include the family, labor, the church, community, the state, and the relationship between man and God. If believers in Christ are to be godly (Titus 1:1; 2:11-12), we need to have a biblical perspective toward the state; or government.
The Apostle Paul commanded Titus to do something. This was to remind believers (ὑπομιμνῄσκω; hypomimnesko) to recall, to remember or to call to attention (John 14:26; 2 Tim. 2:14; Titus 3:1; 2 Peter 1:12; 3 John 10; Jude 5) their responsibilities toward the state.
To begin with, believers are to be submissive (ὑποτάσσω; hypotasso). This refers to being responsible to and responsible for government. It is to be obedient to the government’s delegated authority as long as government does not violate God’s Word. When the state disobeys God and mandates its citizens to do the same, the believer in Christ cannot comply (Acts 4:19-20; 5:27-29).
Rulers (ἀρχή; arche) and authorities (ἐξουσία; exousia) are those who have the authority to govern. Yet, all authority comes from God and He alone sovereignly appoints people into government service (Daniel 2:20-23; Rom. 13:1-7).
Believers are to be obedient (πειθαρχέω; peitharcheo). This is a present, active and infinitive verb. This command includes the attitude of respect for those in government authority (I Tim. 2:1-2; I Peter 2:13-17).
Finally, believers are to be ready for every good work. This means to be prepared for all kinds of honorable tasks in the country we live. Christians are to be excellent citizens.
“During the present age, God establishes His kingdom as a society that must live within the kingdoms of this world. Many who are now citizens of these earthly dominions have been chosen before the foundation of the world to be citizens of the heavenly kingdom as well. As we submit to secular laws we show that faith in Jesus does not produce lawlessness, and the Spirit can use our witness to make His kingdom attractive to those who are elect but have not yet come to faith in Christ. This is apparently one of the means the Lord used to convert the Philippian jailer (Acts 16:25–34), and He can do the same today as we obey laws that do not force us to compromise our faith, even if some of these laws are burdensome. Disobedience is not permitted merely because we find regulations foolish or do not like the people in power,” states Dr. Sproul.
Examine your thinking, emotions and decisions today regarding the subject of the state. Examine your speech and behavior. Are you primarily critical of your government, its leaders and policies? Do you cheerfully obey laws which you may not particularly like, but which do not compromise your faith in Christ? As a church leader, do you set an example for other believers to follow regarding a biblical perspective toward earthly government and biblical citizenship?
May the LORD convict and challenge all of us to be more godly in this area of our lives. Have a blessed day in the LORD.
Soli deo Gloria!