Sadly, we live in a time when the United States Government is unable to do its job because it does not understand what its job is. Scripture clearly explains that God has ordained government to maintain order in society–and to protect law-abiding citizens from evil persons and evil forces (Romans 13:1-4). When the government itself, however, loses its own ability to discern the difference between what is good and what is evil–and it even goes so far as to celebrate evil over good (i.e. abortion and homosexuality), then hope begins to fade as God gives people over to themselves, and to the consequences of their wickedness. This “Romans One scenario” is being played out before our very eyes in America today. It is a frightening reality with a predictable and tragic end. God’s wrath of abandonment awaits all of those who “call evil good,” and who “substitute darkness for light (Isaiah 5:20).”
So how is it that the present-day Christian is to behave while under the umbrella of an increasingly godless government? As one might expect, the Bible has much to say about the matter. To begin, Scripture makes it expressly clear that we are to submit to all human authority (Romans 13:1-2, 1 Peter 2:13). At the same time, Scripture also commands us to affirm and uphold all of God’s revealed standards (Philippians 1:27, 2:14-16; Jude 3). Although these commands may seem incompatible in the present age, they must be able to be satisfied simultaneously–otherwise, God would not have issued them. While the tenets of our faith certainly do put us “at odds” with much of what is endorsed by our government today, the extent of this is not any greater now than it was in Biblical times.
According to God’s wisdom, submission trumps rebellion every time when it comes to bearing witness for Christ. As such, it is always preferable for Christians to be known by what they are “for” rather than by what they are “against.” By specifically affirming and defending Scripture as the ultimate authority regarding all matters of living, we put all of those who disagree with our values and behavior in direct contact with Biblical Truth.
Doing so encourages these individuals to consider that they are now in a position whereby they must either accept or reject Scripture as God’s authoritative revelation. By pointing people to Scripture in this manner, we can rest in the assurance of Isaiah 55:11 which states that God’s Word will not return to Him empty without accomplishing what He desires. Since God’s Word is “living and active” (Hebrews 4:12), it will either judge and condemn, or it will convict and regenerate. All such results will be to God’s glory according to His eternal purposes.
Again, it is very important to remember that, rather than “standing up for” what WE say or do, it is far better to “affirm and defend” what GOD has already said and done. We are not engaged in “self-defense,” but rather in God’s defense. By eliminating or minimizing the use of the word “I” in our statements and, instead, relying heavily upon the phrase, “the Bible says,” we minimize the undesirable possibility of conveying self-interest, personal rights, or pride. As we consistently reference Scripture–and as we trust in God’s promises, and in the power of His Holy Spirit, we can have confidence that those who hear us will never be the same again.
When we do encounter formidable circumstances that require us to “hold our ground,” Ephesians 6:10-18 is the “golden” Bible passage that we must bring to bear on the matters at hand. As these verses state, the key is to stand firm in God’s power and in confidence, knowing that the ultimate battle has already been won.
The wisdom of these verses does not instruct us to fight, but rather to hold onto the ground that has already been conquered. We do this by putting on “the whole armor of God,” and then by standing together with our brothers and sisters who are likewise clad with eternal invincibility. The “sword of the Spirit,” which is God’s Word, is the primary weapon of self-defense in this arena. However, this weapon is of little use if we are not well-practiced with it. We have got to know exactly what God’s Word means by what it says, and then direct our speech and behavior accordingly. As such, it is diligent Bible study that ultimately enables us to stand firm. We may lose a battle here and there in the physical or temporal realm–but the war has long since been won at the cross for all those who “believe unto righteousness (Romans 10:10).”
In closing, the familiar saying that “appearance is half the battle” holds much merit when it comes to upholding the Christian faith before an increasingly godless government. Our lives should continually demonstrate an unmistakable pattern of obedience to God’s prescribed way of doing all things–regardless of the consequences. We want to be readily recognized as individuals who predictably and consistently abide in the Truth–and who actively promote this Truth in love, and without compromise. In order to maintain a proper attitude and perspective along the way, we must keep ever-mindful of our Lord’s own over-arching perspective concerning human authority. In John 18:36, Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world.”