Q. According to the Scriptures, what should the government do for people?
A. This question allows us to remind ourselves that governments have moved beyond their responsibilities to an absurd and dangerous degree in our time. The Scriptures say (Rom. 13) that governments should be a terror to evil works and an encouragement to good works. Government should not be the participant, but rather the umpire in the activities of people. Too much government control destroys human volition and then life itself loses its point and purpose. When the umpire leaves his position, picks up a bat and plays in the game, then the game is over. Presumptuous government in our time certainly will soon mean that the game is over.
Q. Why do governments fail?
A. There are certainly many reasons, but the root reason we must consider. The Scriptures say, The wicked shall be turned into hell, and all the nations that forget God (Psalm 9:17). In the last analysis, the failure of government is not simply foolish economics or weird voting patterns. The Bible says that everything is built on a spiritual base. When a government loses its spiritual base, it is but a physical thing unprotected by God. Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn said the reason for the failure of the Soviet Union was they have forgotten God. In this, there lies a sage advice for all governments.
Q. What must rulers do to properly lead the governments?
A. Happily, we have a precise answer to that question. King David said, The Spirit of the Lord spoke by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spoke to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God (II Samuel 23:2,3). Above all else, the ruler must be God-fearing and just. If he intends to lead, he must be well-reputed for moral living, spiritual insight and divine wisdom. Nothing else will suffice at any time, and especially in a world like this.
Q. What should the people do in the midst of a government?
A. Christ told us that we should render unto Caesar the things that are Caesars and unto God the things that are Gods. We are to render tribute to whom tribute is due. We also are admonished to pray for those in authority over us. God help the ruler who becomes the enemy of the people and, therefore, causes people to pray against rather than for him.
We should also be a voice in the midst of government. Christ spoke to the governor of His day, Pilate, and said, You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Any government needs to hear this more than often.
Q. What real authority should government have?
A. We must remember that, as we mention Jesus said, the government has no authority whatsoever except by divine commission. So when government takes to itself its own authority, it becomes humanistic rather than a divine instrument. The government must not inhibit righteous activity on the part of individuals. Christ was speaking about the salvation of the society when He spoke to Christians saying, Ye are the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13).