Authority From THE Authority
“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.” – Romans 13:6
Where does the government get its power?
In His Gettysburg Address, Abraham Lincoln described the U.S. government as being a
“government of the people, by the people, for the people.”
Seven score and seventeen years later, we are voting in one of the most contentious elections in U.S. history. Between the voting and the descriptions of our government, it’s easy to start thinking that our government gets its authority from the people.
From a civics perspective, this may be true, but in reality, no government, including our own, has any authority except that God has given it. That’s right. Whether it’s Joe Biden or Donald Trump who wins the election, today, it’s God’s sovereignty that has put this government into authority over us.
Taxes, Respect, and Honor
So, God tells us to dutifully pay taxes/revenue, give respect, and honor those who have been placed in authority over us. God doesn’t say you have to like what they do, but we are to honor and respect them.
These days, this can be a real bitter pill to swallow. Political discourse has descended to the point where people from one political party struggle to even acknowledge any good decision or act from members of the other party. Yet, we are told to honor and respect the authorities even if we don’t like the platform they endorse. We do this first and foremost out of respect for God and trust in Him. After all, He put those authorities into place.
We can disagree and even speak up or try to prevent certain political efforts from succeeding, but we should do so respectfully while obeying the laws of the land so far as they do not go against God’s Law.
Imagine what our nation would look like if we treated our government officials with respect and honor. Imagine what it would look like if we treated our political rivals with respect and honor. Perhaps we could actually have honest and respectful political discussions. Perhaps we could still show people the love of Christ even if they belong to the other party.
Let’s be the start of a new political reality in the U.S., one marked with love, respect, and honor.
You reign over all people and governments. You establish governments for the good of all people. Help me to show honor and respect to all those whom You have placed in authority and help me to treat others with respect and honor, as well, even when I don’t agree with them politically. May the unity we have in You, be greater than our political divisions.
In Christ’s Service,