Civil Government

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1 Timothy 2:1-4  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty. For this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Saviour; Who will have all men to be saved, and to come unto the knowledge of the truth.

“We believe that civil government is of divine appointment, for the interests and good order of human society (Romans 13:1-7); and that magistrates are to be prayed for, conscientiously honored, and obeyed. (Matthew 22:21); except only in things opposed to the will of our LORD Jesus Christ (Acts 5:29), who is the only LORD of the conscience, and the Prince of the kings of the earth (Matthew 23:10).”

CIVIL GOVERNMENT is the government of the people as a community.  Without CIVIL GOVERNMENT there would not be good order.  Without CIVIL GOVERNMENT each individual would be a law unto himself.  If he were a good man, he would respect the rights of others.  If he were an evil man, he would ignore the rights of others.  If covetous, he would lay hold dis­honestly of property not his own.  If vengeful, he would damage the property or person of the man he hated.

Under conditions like these, might, rather than right would deter­mine conduct.  There would be perpetual contention and conflict among the people.  Strength, time, and resources would be wasted in the struggle.  Civilization could not exist; savagery would be the habit of life, and men would live as brute beasts.

Without CIVIL GOVERNMENT there would be no concerted action for the common good. Evildoers could not be restrained.  The community would be split into hostile groups, each seeking to protect itself against the other.  Such a state of mind on the part of the people would make concerted action for the welfare of the community impossible.  There could be no guiding plane no dominate purpose, no agreement for the common good without CIVIL GOVERNMENT.

CIVIL GOVERNMENT is of Divine appointment.  CIVIL GOVERNMENT func­tions as a means for controlling and suppressing evil (Romans 13:1-7).  No particular form of CIVIL GOVERNMENT is recognized.  But clearly, as in I Timothy 2:lff, the aim of the Gospel of Christ is the overthrow of every form of despotism and of slavery.  But, and here we must hear the word of the LORD, the forces to be employed for the overthrow of demeaning and evil rule are spiritual, not carnal (II Corinthians 10:3-6).  Love, prayer, and evangelizing the Gospel are the dynamics of the Christian.

CIVIL GOVERNMENT does not come between the Christian and his LORD (Acts 5:29). Christ’s law is the highest law, so that, whenever CIVIL GOVERNMENT is in conflict with Christ’s law, we must obey God.

When the day of the LORD comes, then CIVIL GOVERNMENT will be given to the saints (Daniel 7:27; etc.).  But, “that day shall not come...” until the “withholder be taken away, and the man of sin be revealed” (II Thessalonians 2:lff).  CIVIL GOVERNMENT, as we now know it, will be given into the power of the Lawless one, that sin may appear as sin, and the righteous judgment of God be vindicated (Revelation ll:15f).

Because the Christian has his citizenship in the kingdom of God, he treats this present world as a pilgrimage (I Peter 1:17; 2:11,12).  Therefore, he must “walk in wisdom toward them that are without, redeeming the time” (Colossians 4:5,6).

- - - - The Scriptures below are referenced in the doctrinal statement - - - -

Romans 13:1-4  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. (2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. (3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: (4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (5) Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. (6) For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. (7) Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Matthew 22:21  They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

Acts 5:29  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

Matthew 23:10  Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, even Christ.

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