and should pray toward the end that only
good men be placed in positions of power so they could take advantage of the
Bible’s promise that “[w]hen the righteous
are in authority, the people rejoice: but
when the wicked beareth rule, the people
mourn” (Proverbs 29: 2).
The Bible, however, contains just as
many examples of God raising up wicked
and unjust governments and using them
to accomplish His purposes. God turns
the most wicked and vile ruler’s heart
however He wants it: “The king’s heart
is in the hand of the Lord, as the rivers of
water: he turneth it whithersoever he will”
(Proverbs 21: 1).
Sometimes God uses hostile powers to
punish His people (Jeremiah 51:11a). At
other times He uses them to rescue His
people (Daniel 2: 37–38). At still other
times, God uses wicked people to proclaim His salvation (John 19: 10–11) or to
glorify His name (Romans 9: 17, Exodus
9: 16). No ruler rises up unless and until
God gives him the power and authority
to do so.
Thus, when Christians stand before
a court or a state legislature, they are
standing before an institution raised up
by God, whether that arm of government
is good or bad. Fortunately, in the United
States, God has instituted a government
in which Christians can play an important and active role.
III. Government is sustained and
removed at God’s pleasure.
Governments succeed and fail according to God’s good pleasure. When God
ceases sustaining a government, that
government is finished governing. Many
Old Testament passages show how it
pleased God to remove certain rulers.
The book of Daniel describes how
God removed Nebuchadnezzar, the
King of Babylon, from power. Nebu-
chadnezzar was a vile man, vaunted
in his imagination and almost unsur-
passed in his wickedness. After he
dreamed a troubling dream, he called
Daniel to interpret it. Daniel reluctant-
ly told Nebuchadnezzar that, although
God had raised him to great power
and authority, He was going to remove
Nebuchadnezzar from his position as
king. For seven years, Nebuchadnezzar
would go insane and live like an ani-
mal and then would be restored to the
throne when he recognized that God,
not the king, was in control:
This matter is by the decree of the
watchers, and the demand by the
word of the holy ones: to the intent
that the living may know that the
most High ruleth in the kingdom of
men, and giveth it to whomsoever he
will, and setteth up over it the basest
of men (Daniel 4: 17).
succeed and fail
according to God’s
The dream was fulfilled according to
God’s Word. Indeed, the king’s sanity
was restored to him when he blessed and
praised God for His everlasting dominion and kingdom. Nebuchadnezzar finally declared:
And all the inhabitants of the earth
are reputed as nothing: and he doeth
according to his will in the army of
heaven, and among the inhabitants
of the earth: and none can stay his
hand, or say unto him, What doest
thou? (Daniel 4: 35).
necessarily obeying God. In fact, Christians are not obedient to government
because they are good citizens; Christians are good citizens because they are
obedient to God.
Christians must not determine to obey
only a just government, because there
will never be a truly just government
until Jesus rules and reigns in eternity.
Christians may only disobey that portion
of the law that violates their faith, and
they should always be careful to obey
those portions of the law that do not violate their faith.
The obedient Christian should obey
every part of the law that he can without actually violating his faith. A Christian’s credibility is destroyed when an
opponent proves in front of a judge and
jury that most of the Christian’s disobedience is not attached to his faith. Disobedience of laws for reasons unrelated
to faith and conscience is disobedience
to God Himself and could very well destroy the righteous stand being honorably taken by the Christian.
Fortunately, as Americans, we can still
thank God for His blessing in raising up
a good government for our nation. Not
only is our government good, but its
foundational documents based our laws
on the laws of God. It is a blessing to obey
laws that are based on God’s law.
IV. Christians who want to obey
God must obey government.
Obedience to government is obedience
to God. Conversely, to disobey government is to disobey God, which is a
sin. Christians are to obey government
because God commands it, not merely
because they are politically conservative
or patriotic or good citizens. Christians
are not to obey only those governments
that are just. Many people who are conservative or who love their country
or who are good U.S. citizens are not
Attorney David C. Gibbs III has represented Americans across the country in issues of life and liberty. For twenty years he
served as general counsel at the Christian
Law Association and is the current president of the National Center for Life and
Liberty ( www.ncll.org and www.home
schoollegaladvantage.com), with offices
in Texas, Florida, and Washington, D.C.
Mr. Gibbs is the father of four children and
husband to Mrs. Carin Gibbs.
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