The Role of Civil Government
by Brett Baggett
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R.C. Sproul once asked Francis Schaeffer what was his greatest concern for the American church. Sproul says that without hesitation, Schaeffer said, “Statism.” Statism is when the civil government becomes unchallengeable and unquestionable by the people. In their minds, though they may not realize it, the State essentially becomes god. They command; we obey. They decide; we fall in line. Usually, this happens until society gets wild enough that it wakes up even those who have been soothed to sleep by this false god’s lullaby.
Men, women, boys, and girls need to understand that God has instituted several forms of government on his earth. They are often called “spheres of sovereignty” or authority. He has instituted personal government, family government, church government, and civil government. In this booklet, we will draw our attention to Civil government and will do so for this reason: Francis Schaeffer’s concern has become a terrible reality. Statism plagues America in general, even the church in the West in particular. Before we are going to see justice established in society, first, where guilt resides, we are going to have to repent of statism in the church.
The passage that I want you to look at is very familiar to many believers, yet most, it seems, only look at what duty we owe our governing authorities, rather than looking also at everything the Lord God reveals concerning the duties of governing authorities.
For our purposes, I want to look at these few verses, Romans 13:1-4, as an outline to see what we can glean from God himself, speaking through Paul, when it comes to the role of civil government. Yet what is even more helpful is, first, looking at their identity. Understanding the identity of civil magistrates is crucial because identity determines activity and responsibility. Who you are determines what you do and that for which you are accountable.
The doctrine I wish to teach you and help you make use of in this booklet is this: Civil magistrates are servants of God who must be terrors to evildoers, approvers of those who do good, promoters of well-being, and punishers of the wicked, for the good of men and the glory of God.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
INTRODUCTION: Statism and the Church
DOCTRINE: The Aim of Instruction and Use of this Booklet
I. THE IDENTITY OF GOVERNING AUTHORITIES
I) Governing Authorities Have Been Appointed By God as His Servants
(i) The Lord God sovereignly claims governing authorities as his servants (Rom. 13:1-2, 4).
II) Use This Truth for Instruction
(i) The Lord Jesus Christ is the King of kings and the Lord of lords right now (1 Tim. 6:15).
(ii) All human authority is delegated by God, and therefore accountable to him (Rom. 13:1).
(iii) A servant does not get to choose what he does; his duty is to be faithful to his Master (Luke 17:10).
III) Use This Truth for Exhortation
The only way for a servant to concretely know what his Master commands is through his Master’s words, therefore he must be a diligent student of Scripture (Duet. 17:18).
IV) Use This Truth for Warning
(i) If a servant does not know what his Master commands, the Master will give him a beating (Luke 12:48).
(ii) If a servant does not do what his Master commands, the Master will give him a severe beating (Luke 12:47)
(iii) If a servant turns into a tyrant, the Master will cut him into pieces (Luke 12:46).
V) Use This Truth for Encouragement
The servant who makes it his aim to obey his Master will be rewarded (Matt. 25:21).
VI) Use This Truth for Comfort
The Lord will vindicate the innocent and establish justice, even bringing vengeance on evil servants who oppress those they are charged to protect (Rom. 12:19).
II. THE DUTIES OF GOVERNING AUTHORITIES
I) God’s Civil Servants Must Be A Terror to Those Who Do Evil (Rom. 13:3a)
II) God’s Civil Servants Must Approve of and Commend Good Conduct (Rom. 13:3b)
III) God’s Civil Servants Must Promote the Well-Being of Those Who Do Good (Rom. 13:4a)
IV) God’s Civil Servants Must Carry Out God’s Wrath on Those Who Do Evil (Rom. 13:4b)
III. PRACTICAL APPLICATION CONCERNING THE IDENTITY AND DUTIES OF GOVERNING AUTHORITIES
I) The Heinousness of the Abortion Holocaust
II) Repentant Fruit: What We Should Resolve to Do with this Knowledge
(i) Resolve to confess to God and repent of any hint of statism that has crept into your heart or mind
(ii) Resolve to confess to God and repent of any participation in or apathy toward the abortion holocaust.
(iii) Resolve to understand and memorize, by diligent study, what God’s civil servants are commanded to do by their Master, according to the Scriptures.
(iv) Resolve to speak truthfully and lovingly to God’s civil servants, according to the Scriptures, so that they may clearly know what their identity is and duties are.
(v) Resolve to hold God’s civil servants accountable to their Master’s commands.
(vi) Resolve to love God’s civil servants enough to warn them away from the bad and exhort them toward the good.
(vii) Resolve to love your preborn neighbors, and, by faith, speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves.
(viii) Resolve to pray and beg God to raise up godly men who will run for positions in the civil government so that we may have godly men there, upholding justice as their Master’s civil servant.
(ix) Resolve to be vigilant in vetting those who are running for office in your respective districts, even supporting those who will serve Christ in that office.
(x) Resolve to pray and strongly consider running for public office.
(xi) Resolve to trust not in chariots or horses, but in the name of the Lord our God.
(xii) Resolve to believe and memorize those promises in the Scriptures concerning Christ’s kingdom having no end, and then act like they are true.
I: WORKS ON CIVIL GOVERNMENT
II: THE FIVE COMPONENTS OF AN ABOLITION BILL
Component 1. From Fertilization
Component 2. No Exceptions
Component 3. Equal Protection
Component 4. Defy Tyranny
Component 5. Repeal or Supersede Statutes Allowing Abortion
III: EXAMPLE OF AN ABOLITION BILL