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The Christian's Responsibility to Government Part 4

Grace To You / John MacArthur
The Truth Network Radio
October 26, 2020 4:00 am

The Christian's Responsibility to Government Part 4

Grace To You / John MacArthur

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October 26, 2020 4:00 am

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So we are to submit to God's ordination of government. It is from him to rebel is to resist him, and government is designed to restrain evil and certainly we as Christians want to hold up anything that restrains evil going.

We don't want to tear down what God is put in place to uphold goodness and restraint change we need. There based on a simple premise that the people currently in power are not fulfilling their basic responsibilities and only one person, the candidate asking for your vote can make government work the way it's supposed to. But in order to know what government should look like you first have to answer the question why does government exist what is its God-given purpose. Find out today as John MacArthur looks at principles relating to the Christian and government.

Now here's John in the epistle to the Romans. Obviously, the familiar portions are about salvation, the great sweeping argument of Romans is from chapter 1 really all the way to the end of chapter 11 laying out the doctrine of justification, sanctification, then, beginning in chapter 12. Based upon the fact that we've been saved and set apart under God. We are to commit ourselves to a certain kind of living and within the range of the living that a Christian is to be committed to his improper relationship to the government to the authority under which he exists. And so were looking at how we are to respond to the government and basically in verses one through seven.

Paul tells us there are two responsibilities that we have one in verse one is to be subject to in verses six and seven to pay our taxes so we are to be subject and pay our taxes.

This first point, being subject under the higher powers goes all the way down through verse five, and in this he gives seven reasons why we are to be subject to the government under which we live. Reason number one comes in verse one, and I'll just review it for there is no power but of God. The powers that be are ordained of God. In other words, government is by divine decree.

We submit to government because God has designed government for its role in protection of life and property.

Secondly, there is a great reason why we want to submit to the government and that is that if number one is true and government is by divine decree. Then point number two in verse two follows logically, resistance to government is resistance or rebellion against God. Whosoever therefore resists the power referring to the higher power referring to governmental authority, resisted the ordinance or the institution of God that leads to 1/3 reason, which flows out of the first two at the end of verse two and it is this. Those who rebel against the government, which is ordained of God and are therefore rebelling against God will be punished.

Verse two at the end says and they that resist shall receive to themselves judgment and that is not only judgment from the government, which has been given the right to exact punishment for those who violate his law but it is the judgment of God, who is behind the government as well. Now there are four more reasons for submission. Reason number four is that government serves to restrain the evil.

Therefore, to go against the government is to go against the restraint of evil so point number four. Government serves to restrain evil notice verse three for rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil works. Now that's a very basic thought government is designed to put fear in the hearts of people who do evil things, not to put fear in the hearts of people who do good things will thou then not be afraid of the power to do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same and will get into that in a moment so closely connected to the last idea about punishment. The thought of verse two is this idea about fearing the government if you do evil. The word fear.

By the way, is a word file box we get phobia from it. It has to do with a certain terror and it tells us that that terror is not to people who do the good works.

The good works being a class of deeds which are inherently good, but it is a terror to those who do the evil works, a class of deeds. The nature of which is inherently evil. The people in society against whom the government moves are those who do the evil deeds who defy the law who break the law who violate the law and the apostle says they have reason to have a certain amount of terror. For rulers are to bring terror to those who do evil.

In other words, a government to do its work. Must put fear in the hearts of evildoers.

That's a very basic factor in you and I are well aware of what happens in the government doesn't put fear into the heart of evildoers. The results of that are indeed tragic rulers should be causing evildoers to have fear now. What this indicates to us and I want to just digress for a moment.

Is this that generally speaking, rulers who are just secular, not speaking about those who know the Lord are no biblical truth or any of that. But rulers in general know the difference between good and evil is that not so they know the difference between the class of deeds that could be categorized as good and the class of deeds and are categorized as evil. That's patently obvious to them.

I can show you why go back in your Bible for a moment to Genesis chapter 2 Genesis chapter 2 verse 15. The Lord God took the man put them in the garden of Eden to till it and to keep it in the Lord God commanded the man, saying, of every tree of the garden thou mast freely eat, you can have food from everything that's here but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it, for in the day that thou eat us thereof thou shalt surely die.

What addendum do what you do disobey God and what ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Therefore, Adam and Eve when they sinned, entered in to a knowledge of what good and evil that knowledge has been passed down through all the sons and daughters of Adam and everyone man and woman coming into this world as an inherent and basic knowledge of good and evil. We find in Romans a similar idea in chapter 2 and verse 14 it says when the heathen that is those who are unconverted. Those who are not a part of the covenant of God who have not the law. That is the written law. Those who have not the written law, do by nature the things contained in the law. These, having not the law, are a law under themselves, who show the work of the law written in their hearts they could stop that the unregenerate world has the law of God written in their heart.

What is that mean the knowledge of good and evil. That's a part of conscience that's a part of what we call in theology natural revelation as opposed to special revelation which is Scripture. So the government of man knows the difference between good and evil. Even pagans understand basic morality through human reason through natural revelation through common grace.

They understand what is a basic morality, not even the most evil society. Even the worst government will hold to a basic preservation of property and life and frankly some good governments do very poorly at this and some evil dictators do very well at it, even the poorest government is a blessing compared to no government.

Can you imagine what would happen, for example, in a society where there was absolutely no one in control. It would be an instant self-destruct if no one could protect his or her life except by himself. No one could protect his or her property except by himself. You have constant war. So even a corrupt government.

There has been built in by God to the heart of man, a sense of what is right and wrong, at least in very basic terms only give you little bit of an insight into how government is to act if it fulfills its God ordained role to the maximum. And I don't want to belabor it, but there are some passages that you might find interesting. Back in chapter 19 of Deuteronomy. In verse 13 we learn that a government is to act against evildoers without pity without pity. It talks here about a murder someone was taken a life and it says in verse 13, thine eyes shall not pity him, but thou shall put away the guilt of innocent blood in from Israel that it may go well with the in other words, if you don't do to that murderer.

What he is done to someone else and therefore put away the guilt of the innocent bloodshed you can know that it will not prosper with you. That's God's promise. This thing is to be dealt with without pity. A government is to act against an evildoer without pity. It says and out of verse 21, and I know I shall not pity but life shall go for life. I for I tooth for tooth, hand for hand, foot for foot.

In other words there is to be equal retribution without pity. Why verse 20 says so that the people will fear and henceforth commit no more.

Any such evil among you, and if you do not exact punishment without pity, then people don't have that fear that restrains them from doing evil not go back to Deuteronomy chapter 13 and I'll give you a second principle in which the government is supposed to express its leadership is not only to act without pity, but it is to act by God's design, without partiality, without partiality.

In other words there is to be no one set apart because of some respect of persons because of some preference verse six of Deuteronomy 13, if thy brother, the son of thy mother or thy son or thy daughter or the wife of thy bosom or thy friend who is as thine own soul entice the secretly saying let us go and serve other gods, which thou hast not known nor thy fathers, namely of the gods of the people who are round about you near unto you far off from you from the one end of the earth to the other end of the earth. Thou shalt not consent to him nor hearken unto him, neither shall thine eye pity him, neither shalt thou spare, neither shalt thou conceal him, but thou shalt surely kill him, and thy hand shall be first upon them to put them to death, and afterwards, and of all the people, and I shall stone them with stones, that he died because he thought sought to thrust the away from the Lord. I got abruptly out of the land of Egypt and the house upon the principle here of course is unique in a sense to Israel because it was a theocracy, and the crime was leading people to the worship of a false God, but the point that I want you to see is in the restriction of bringing death. There was a clear word that it doesn't matter if it's your brother or your son or your wife or your friend or whoever it is there's no partiality, and exacting.

The law of God and then verse 11 says then all Israel will hear and fear, and do no more. Any such wickedness as this among you. If government would act without pity and without partiality it would go a long way to convince evildoers to change their way.

There's 1/3 principle in the 25th chapter of Deuteronomy, and it shall be if the wicked man be worthy to be beaten in the judgment comes in verse one and verse two says it is worthy to be beaten. The judge shall cause him to lie down and be beaten before his face. According to his fault by a certain number 40 stripes he may give him a not exceed that's over the so another words when he finds him guilty, he puts him down right on the spot and he beats him and gives him what retribution is due. This means government is to act without pity, without partiality and without delay without delay. It needs to be an immediate kind of punishment and immediate response so that it is apparent and obvious to all that there is fast judgment. If government acted without pity, without partiality and without delay. It would be a terror to evildoers right. Unfortunately, we have seen the erosion of that kind of principle have very often we hear all the hue and cry of pity for the criminal and I understand that and I understand the need for mercy, but I also understand what happens when that becomes the norm, and everybody thinks they can do whatever they want an escape judgment and then we are well aware of those kinds of times and places where some people seem to receive partial treatment for things that they have done for which others are more severely punished and then we all know that punishment is anything but without delay is.

This will deter the criminal and this will put fear in the hearts of the evildoers, so we are to submit then to God's ordination of government. It is from him to rebel is to resist him to resist him is to bring punishment and government is designed to restrain evil and certainly we as Christians want to hold up anything that restrains evil, don't wait.

We don't want to tear down what God is put in place to uphold goodness and restrain evil we might stop at this moment and asked the question what one of government treat you badly. What if government takes your freedoms. What if government encroaches upon you in ways that you feel are unfair or unjust or inequitable. Well the pattern that you need to look back to would be the example of the apostle Paul, the apostle Paul was put in jail in Philippi was any. He was put in jail.

There he didn't do anything to deserve it. He was accused. It says in acts 16 it says these men being Jews exceedingly trouble our city and teach customs which are not lawful for us to receive neither to observe being Romans and the multitude rose up together against them.

The magistrates tore off their clothes and commanded to beat them. The whole place is in an uproar in Philippi. They haven't done a thing is just a mad mob and they laid many stripes on them through them into prison charge the jailer to keep them safely. They made their feet fast in the stocks and what they do. What were Paul and Silas doing and midnight singing praise with yes they were treated badly by government.

Yes, they were treated unfairly and inequitably and unjustly absolutely. But it's the same Paul it was treated that way.

Who said they were to submit to the government. The apostle Paul knew what it was to endure injustice. In fact he endured it rather frequently from place to place three times. He was beaten with rods, once stoned still the truth stands in spite of the fact that there are those times when government overstepped its bounds. When government goes beyond its limits. There are those times when there is injustice and inequity. Still, the principal stand 90 chapter of acts in verse 35. Remember the story in Ephesus when the Town Clerk acquired the people, he said you men of Ephesus. What man is there that knows not that the city of the Ephesians is a worshiper of the great goddess Diana and of the image which fell down from Jupiter seeing then that these things cannot be spoken against you ought to be quiet and do nothing rashly, for you have brought here. These men who are neither robbers of temples, nor yet blasphemers of your goddess. Wherefore if Demetrius and the craftsmen who are with him, have a matter against any man. The law is open and there are deputies let them accuse one another and here the Town Clerk stops the mob that would've just eliminated those who were proclaiming Christ and says let's bring this to the law. Let's bring this to lawful assembly says in verse 39 for we are in danger to be called in question for this days uproar for there being no cause for which we may give an account of this concourse and when he had thus spoken, he dismissed the assembly just on one hand we see in acts 16 where government acts against the apostle Paul. We go to acts 19 and up government acts. In his defense and rescues them from a mob. We don't want to obviate the principal there are times when government may overstep its bounds.

There are times when we may be very dependent upon its provision.

You remember when they were going to scourge the apostle Paul in acts 22 he said to the one who was going to lead them into the scourging, is it lawful for you to scourge a Roman citizen and he pulled ranked in the in the Senate.

He reached out for his Roman citizenship as a protection against what they were going to do to him so the truth stands whether government is protecting us, or whether government seems to be overstepping its bounds in acting unjustly toward us. We need to be submissive. That leads us to 1/5 principle back to Romans 13 we are to be submissive because government serves to promote good, it serves to promote good in verse three. Again, it says will you then not be afraid of the power you want to have it so you're not afraid of government then do what is good and you will have praise of the same and I still believe our government is in place to bring praise to those who do good, who do well and so Paul says do what is good and you don't have to fear because you will have praise from the same that is from those in authority. If you enjoy a quiet and peaceful life. If you live a life of goodness. If you demonstrate the love of Christ and godliness and virtue, and if you are not a troublemaker letter maker and a rabble-rouser. You will find that you will receive praise and government becomes in a sense verse for the servant of God to these four good is not a wonderful statement, the servant of God to the four good the diaconate us the deacon of God to the four good and here's the ruler's purpose not only to be a terror to those that do the class of deeds called evil, but to be appraised to those who do the class of deeds called good and his title is one of great honor is a servant of God, the president of the United States is a servant of God, the senators and assemblymen of the United States. The justices all the way down into the states.

The mirrors and the people who function in the city level of government.

They are all servants of God that is in a unique sense, not in the sense of a believer necessarily not in the sense of one who ministers in the church, but in the sense that they carry out a God ordained service. They uphold the divine institution personally. They may not know God at all, but they represent him. They represent his desire for peace and safety among men. And so we do all we can to keep peace to live honorably to live with sobriety and dignity to cultivate harmony to be model citizens, but those who are carrying out a service to God in government may honor us and certainly beloved and we would try to say this in the whole series we who are evangelical fundamental Christians who really hold the name of Christ up should be the model of what a citizen should be in society that those who are in the governmental sense. The servants of God may see in something utterly unique and attractive Robert Haldane many years ago, wrote a marvelous commentary on Romans, and in it he says this the institution of civil government is a dispensation of mercy and its existence is so indispensable that the moment it ceases under one form, it reestablishes itself in another. It's a very good statement when you see a coup in a country where you see the country overturned or a revolution.

It'll never be the elimination of government will only be the exchange of government because man cannot survive without that Haldane goes on to say, the world ever since the fall when the diminutive one part of the human race over another was immediately introduced has been in such a state of corruption and depravity that without the powerful obstacle presented by civil government to the selfish and malignant passions of men. It would be better to live among the beasts of the forest and in human society as soon since restraints are removed. Man shows himself in his real character. When there was no king in Israel and every man did that which was right in his own eyes." So Paul is still building his case. We are called to submission because God is the source of government to rebel is to resist God to resist God brings judgment government is set to restrain evil and we want to uphold a government that restrains evil and government is there to promote good and we want to be good so that we might enjoy the benefits of government that's John MacArthur showing you why you should be thankful for your leaders even if they do not follow Jesus Christ. John has titled our current study on grace to you.

The Christian and government. John it's always obvious when you preach that you spend hours doing research you dig into the Bible's original languages in the history the grammar of the culture and all of that and that's obviously crucial for someone like used teaching the Scriptures, but you don't do that so that we don't have to. I know you'd say it's an important duty for everyone who study Scripture to take it seriously and do the hard work. Yeah that's absolutely right. I do it so that I can teach you how to do it. You can preach, you could say okay I studied this and here's what it means.

So trust me this is what it means. This means this and this means this and this means this and take my word for it on the expert. I studied it. That's not really convincing and said that doesn't help somebody know how I came to that conclusion right.

If I tell you this, what it means but I don't tell you why it means that I haven't helped you. You have to trust me. At this the sort of me speaking like the expert you know this is me. So sit there and take it that's never been my approach to expository preaching. My approach has been let me show you what this means and what it has to mean by looking at the text itself so that you're going through a process with me of saying wow clearly that is what it means and I'll even use Greek or Hebrew word sometimes to show you that all use history 00 expand the context all use other passages to speak to the one at hand.

So the great impact of expository preaching is this that I'm teaching you how to understand the Bible so that you can teach somebody else and I've said this through my whole preaching ministry. I'm concerned with the next line of people not concerned that you know what this means. And that's okay. I'm concerned that you know and understand why this has to mean that so that you could pass it on to someone else and I'm looking at giving you the baton and having you give the baton to someone else in the process of this I've written 34 volumes on the New Testament digging deep into every everything in the New Testament it would be wonderful for you to have that commentary set. You can order the entire series. 34 volumes at a very large discount. You can purchase individual volumes at a very reasonable price and course on US orders shipping is free so pick a couple of commentaries, Romans, or whatever you like or get it all and do that soon because it'll become the resource the go to resource for the rest of your Christian life friend.

There are probably passages in the New Testament that confuse you or you just want to know more about these commentaries will give you the answers you're looking for to order the MacArthur New Testament commentary series.

Contact us today. Each volume is available for $19. The Romans commentary that John mentioned comes into volumes and again, if you purchase all 34 volumes at once. You will enjoy a discount on each commentary Jordan MacArthur New Testament commentary series, call toll-free 800-554-7223 that numbers easy to remember as 855. You can also order online at TTY.and while you're at

Make sure to take advantage of the thousands of free resources that are available. You can listen to broadcasts you may have missed. Watch grace to you. Television, or download any of John's 3500 sermons. All of them are free of charge in MP3 or transcript format. If you're not sure where to start. Try grace Street it's a continual broadcast of John's teaching beginning in Matthew and taking you through revelation so whether you have a few minutes on your break at work or couple of hours to study log on and start learning the website one more time. for John MacArthur on Phil Johnson. Thanks for listening today be here tomorrow as John continues to show you how to honor God by honoring your government leaders to another half hour of unleashing God's truth one verse at a time on grace to you

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