Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Who Is in Charge?
“Who’s in charge here?” No one likes uncertainty. Whether in a familiar or unfamiliar setting, we like to know who is in charge, who is running things, who has the authority. With someone in charge, things can run rather smoothly as planned. Without someone in charge, depending on the scale of the situation, disorder, chaos, or even anarchy can result.
Our God is a God of order, not disorder. He wanted peace and order in the world he had created, so God established government. Our God did not want life in our world to devolve into anarchy. God established government to maintain order in society for us to live with one another in peace while curbing criminal behavior with the threat of punishment and force. This is for our good, and God blesses us when the government carries out this task.
Yet there is a limit to the authority that our God has given to the government. Rules and laws protect our bodily life and property, but the government’s authority is limited to earthly matters. The government does not have power over our eternal destiny. Only our gracious God holds that authority.
We would be wise to remember this when we are tempted to look to government for something more than earthly matters. Candidates and political parties make all kinds of promises, so we are tempted to think that if only this leader or that political party were in charge, life would be the way we want it. We dare not forget that our God, who created the universe and government, is the One who gives authority to those who serve in government. They have no authority apart from him. This is especially good for us to remember when we recall that forms of government are man-made and sinful human beings serve in government. So when you look out at the political landscape, remember to look to the One who is truly in charge for your good.
O Lord of nations, you give authority to earthly rulers and government. You can also take it away. Grant wisdom and humility to our leaders and all who serve in government. Through their work as your servants, bless our land with peace and prosperity. Amen.