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Communities being torched, out of control mobs of rioters (some paid), a total disregard for law and order, and officers that are not given the liberty to do their job, is sadly identified with American culture.
Romans 13:1-2 in the New Testament has some relevant words: “Let every person be subject to governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore, he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God, and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.”
What does this mean in the context of what is happening in Portland, Oregon, and other localities? Let’s break it down piece by piece.
One, it is clear that government is established by God. Two, we are to be subject to governing authorities. Three, those who resist government will bear consequences.
Down through biblical history God has placed government to accomplish his divine purposes. This does not mean that all government is always good. They may be evil and corrupt. Government can reveal how evil and corrupt human nature really can be. This will hopefully help people see a need for God. Governments can also be a blessing to nations whose God is the Lord.
Does this mean that people are always supposed to be subject to governments? It would be easy to be subject to a government that seeks to always do what is right and just. But, what about the opposite? Are there times when revolt against governments is justified?
Before going any further a distinction must be made between revolting and an organized effort to destroy democracy. It is one thing to resist those people and causes with which one does not agree. It is a First Amendment right to peacefully assemble, with emphasis on the word “peaceful.” The moment it becomes destructive it is no longer peaceful.
In some cases, as we are seeing now, it is also necessary to obey God rather than govermnent, like churches that are worshipping together in defiance of governors’ orders to not do so, to exercise their freedom of religion and conscience.
With all of this said, it is quite a different thing to seek to bring down a God-ordained government, and law and order. Yes, we are talking about doing away with law and order, and even some mayors and governors are going along with it! According to the above passage of scripture those who are doing this will have their “day in court” with God.
The next two verses, Romans 13:3-4, address one of the chief functions of government: “Rulers are not a cause for fear for good behavior, but for evil...Do what is good and you will have praise from the same, for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid, for it does not bear the sword for nothing, for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon those who practice evil.”
What can be gleaned from this? One of the primary functions of government is to maintain law and order so people can live together in peace. I will come out and say it. It is against the ordinance of God for any government to not allow its police force to do its job when it comes to fighting criminal activity, like what has happened in Minneapolis, Seattle, and Portland.
Worse yet, there is a denial of reality. Rep. Jerry Nadler, who chairs the House Judiciary Committee, reportedly has called the Portland rioting a “myth.” How stupid is that?
Matthew 24:12 lists lawlessness as one of the signs just prior to the return of Christ. It also states that the love of people will “grow cold.” There will be absolutely no regard for human life. This is what we are witnessing.
The bottom line is that governments are established by God with his agenda in mind. A chief purpose is to maintain law and order against a fallen humanity that has fallen far short of righteousness and justice. Law enforcement must be allowed to do its job with that end in view.
The real solution is to have transformed hearts and character so that people want to think and act right. That comes through a recognition of each person’s sinful condition and calling upon the grace of God.
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