Being good citizensBro. David Chancellor
7/1/2007 6:00 PM
Blessed be the Lord my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight: My goodness, and my fortress; my high tower, and my deliverer; my shield, and he in whom I trust; who subdueth my people under me. Lord, what is man, that thou takest knowledge of him! or the son of man, that thou makest account of him! Man is like to vanity: his days are as a shadow that passeth away. Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke. Cast forth lightning, and scatter them: shoot out thine arrows, and destroy them. Send thine hand from above; rid me, and deliver me out of great waters, from the hand of strange children. Whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood. I will sing a new song unto thee, O God: upon a psaltery and an instrument of ten strings will I sing praises unto thee. It is he that giveth salvation unto kings: who delivereth David his servant from the hurtful sword. Rid me, and deliver me from the hand of strange children, whose mouth speaketh vanity, and their right hand is a right hand of falsehood: That our sons may be as plants grown up in their youth; that our daughters may be as corner stones, polished after the similitude of a palace: That our garners may be full, affording all manner of store: that our sheep may bring forth thousands and ten thousands in our streets: That our oxen may be strong to labour; that there be no breaking in, nor going out; that there be no complaining in our streets. Happy is that people, that is in such a case: yea, happy is that people, whose God is the Lord.
Our government needs us. It needs the church for the land to prosper and succeed. It needs the church to provide good citizens. The church is part of what makes the country governable. The church helps to teach the rule of law and submission. By teaching what helps people to be governable, it helps our land to prosper. David was glad that the people realized there was a God they would answer to, because it made his job easier. God needs to work in people to help them to be content. We need to consider, not only our obligation to God, but also our role in civil society.
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. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 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: 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. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Paul was referring to the power of government. To be subject to God, we must also be subject to the law of the land. We need to train our conscience to where we won’t do anything that would be displeasing to God. This means wherever possible we abide by the law of the land. We pay our taxes because of this. There is a respect for government that is ordained of God. Government officials are there for your good. Cops are there for your protection. Public servants work for the good of society. We need to be good citizens. Our obedience to the law of the land should be equal to our obedience to God. If you obey, you don’t have to worry about who’s watching.
1 Peter 2:11-17
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul: Having your conversation honest among the Gentiles: that, whereas they speak against you as evildoers, they may by your good works, which they shall behold, glorify God in the day of visitation. Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men: As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God. Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.
Peter admonishes them to obey the law of the land. Not doing so hinders your testimony. People need to see us respecting the law of the land. Eventually people saw that what was being preached was beneficial to the government. When people became Christians, they became better citizens. Most laws in our country adhere to the Christian principles. Our nation prospers because of its basis on Christian principles. If we pick and choose our laws, eventually we’ll have chaos and anarchy. We need to obey the laws at each level of government. We’re free but we can’t afford to misuse our liberty. Our liberty has been given to us to allow us to do what is right. Honor the office even if you can’t honor the holder of it. There’s a purpose for it.
But that it spread no further among the people, let us straitly threaten them, that they speak henceforth to no man in this name. And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said unto them, Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.
We obey the laws of God first and of men second. There is only a choice between the two when they are directly in conflict. People need to know how and when to take a stand for what is right. When you take a stand, you choose to suffer for doing what is right, but choose to do right anyway. The country is benefited by this because these are people of character. We obey God first and the law of the land second (where it doesn’t conflict with God).
The Lord knoweth the thoughts of man, that they are vanity. Blessed is the man whom thou chastenest, O Lord, and teachest him out of thy law; That thou mayest give him rest from the days of adversity, until the pit be digged for the wicked. For the Lord will not cast off his people, neither will he forsake his inheritance. But judgment shall return unto righteousness: and all the upright in heart shall follow it. Who will rise up for me against the evildoers? or who will stand up for me against the workers of iniquity? Unless the Lord had been my help, my soul had almost dwelt in silence.
We need to be able to stand against evildoers and workers of iniquity. Have it settled to do what God wants you to do.
If thou forbear to deliver them that are drawn unto death, and those that are ready to be slain; If thou sayest, Behold, we knew it not; doth not he that pondereth the heart consider it? and he that keepeth thy soul, doth not he know it? and shall not he render to every man according to his works?
When we take a stand, we need to have a concern for others. We don’t want to be party to injustice. We need to stick up for others when they’re unjustly accused. We need to be concerned about others and work to be a help. We can work to help others and fix bad laws. We owe it to our government to be good citizens.