Get that Government is not God
It seems like we as a people are becoming more and more dependent on the government to be there for us, especially the Federal government. I suppose that I honestly lean increasingly toward the libertarian view of things even though there are moral issues involved that I disagree with strongly. The fact is that our government has been growing at an alarming rate and has become truly unsustainable at this point. If something is not done soon the weight of it will fall on the American people and crush them, but this is not even about fiscal problems or bloated programs, or bureaucracy, or the things that people generally talk about when they discuss the problems of government. We are following a path that has led to problems for others in the past. Read one woman’s account of what happened in Austria during WWII.
The fact is that there are many people, including some Christians, who have been duped into believing that the government has the right to make laws that it actually does not have the right to make either constitutionally, or according to God’s law. When I asked once, in a Bible class, what we would do if they passed a law that said we couldn’t get together to study the Bible or worship one woman actually said she guessed we would have to quit doing it. Let’s make this clear, no government, not the United States government, not any state or local government, not the United Nations, not a husband, not an eldership, nor any other government is God. Government has no authority except what is given from above, Jesus said as much while on trial with Pilate - John 19:11. In Romans 13:1 Paul reminds us that the government is ordained and authorized by God, not the other way around. Peter and John made it clear that we are to obey God rather than man - Acts 5:29. When discussing Obamacare and the mandate to provide funding for the abortion pill, at least one Christian said since it didn’t affect churches it didn’t matter to us and that businesses had to do what the government said, even non-profit religious charities and Christian colleges. That is not true, and I for one am glad that there are some companies like Hobby Lobby that are fighting it and refusing to obey it. Understand that just because they didn’t try to force it on churches this time does not mean they won’t soon, speak up while you can. I am often reminded of the quote that is attributed in various forms to Martin Niemoeller.
There is also a growing percentage of our population that depends on government for day to day existence rather than on God. Money is a tool the government has used effectively in only one way – to get people addicted to the next handout. What if the government completely shut down tomorrow? There would be chaos, theft, murder, and rioting in the streets next week when half the people in the U.S. who get a monthly check and/or other benefits didn’t receive them. What about you? Are you depending on the government or God? Even those in private business might have some serious cutbacks if those on welfare and social security did not get their money to spend. There would be a massive ripple, a tsunami, throughout the economy. Someone took the 23rd Psalm and changed it to reflect the thinking of many who believe “The Government Is My Shepherd”. It has been around for years and there are several variations, this is a recently updated version of it.
There is an increasing ignorance about the role of government and the history of our government. People today have completely perverted the founders’ intentions with their talk of the separation of church and state. Originally, the idea was to protect the church, religion, and Christians from the federal government. Read the amendment in the Bill of Rights and you will see that it clearly says that congress(federal government) shall make no law establishing a religion or prohibiting the free practice of religion. There was actually nothing about local laws regarding religion, in fact several of the states had recognized churches. The point was not to allow the entire nation to have only one church as had been done in England.
Consider the way that worked in the past, the Mormons were not welcome in many of the established states, so they went west and established their own in what is today Utah. That state is still strongly Mormon, but their laws have changed as others moved into the area, voted, ran for office, etc. There was a time when in Missouri a city was established for atheists. It was named Liberal and the goal was that no church building would be built there. Eventually the founder of the city became a Christian himself according to Wikipedia. Now there are at least 7 religious groups there. You can read more about this failed experiment in an article by Apologetics Press. That is what freedom is about and to some degree what was intended (although the founders had no use for atheism or any religion other than Christianity - for more on these views consider the videos The Silencing of God and America’s Most Pressing Concern available from World Video Bible School). Those kind of things could not happen today. If a group of religious people of one stripe or another decided to have a town of their own and not allow others, it would be attacked in the courts as soon as it was known. It has gotten to the point that if one person doesn’t like it he can scream about it and get any religious thing thrown out of town. You see, the truth is not afraid to stand toe to toe with a lie because it can win, but the lie can’t win in honest debate so it must resort to other means to silence truth and win the day. Today the founders' original plan has been twisted and perverted to protect government and society from religion.
As Bible believers, we know that God does not call us to go live in isolation with only other believers, we are to be the light of the world and the salt of the earth. Both light and salt are more clearly evident in circumstances where there is not much. Turn on a spotlight out in the sunshine and it would barely be noticed 10 feet away, but light a match in the darkness of a cave and everyone there can see it. Put some salt in a salt shaker and you may not notice, but put some on bland vegetables and it makes them edible. Because our country has been one that taught morality and had many religious people of various denominations who were living basically good lives but were confused on certain doctrinal issues, the contrast has often not been that great. We are used to agreeing with our neighbors on 90-95% and debating issues of worship, a doctrine about the second coming, etc. That is not the case anymore. If we will truly live for Christ, not just worship Him on Sunday but truly live as He would live, we will stand out from the crowd, we will shine as stars in a crooked and perverse generation - Philippians 2:15.
Think about how different the Amish seem to us. Will we as Christians ever seem that different to our neighbors or will we keep doing what the media and government tell us is normal. Normal is being on the road toward Hell, I don’t want to be normal. I want people to think I am strange, the Christians in the New Testament had people thinking they were strange, not because of hair styles or not having electricity, but because they did not get involved in sinful things. Just because it is legal doesn’t mean it is moral. Government approval is not God’s approval.
There can be no doubt in our minds or our children's minds that tempts us to believe that government is benevolent, our provider, all-powerful, or our friend. The government that is at odds with and enemies with God and His Law is an enemy to His people as well. We need to know that wherever we live in this world we are living behind enemy lines and in hostile territory among citizens of the kingdom of our greatest enemy, Satan.
So what do we do with a hostile government that looks on us as a danger and that we have finally recognized as a danger? How do we react? We’ll consider that further in the next installment.