About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman
Few of us like being
controlled by another. We'd
rather be the one in control. We,
thus, are angered when government exercises what we believe is
inappropriate, even unbiblical control over us. Some
even defy such control in the name of the Lord.
However you think about such defiance, the fight for control is
rooted in the Garden of Eden.
God granted Adam certain
freedoms, but freedoms within controlled boundaries.
Genesis 2:16 and 17 read:
"And the LORD God
commanded the man, 'You are free to eat
from any tree in the garden; but you must not eat from the tree of the
knowledge of good and evil, for when you eat from it you will certainly
A human was created to
be an individual living in community; the first created expression of
community being marriage. The
moment Adam defied the command by his grab for control was the moment
his community crumbled. Adam
blamed Eve, Eve blamed the serpent, and both hid their naked selves from
each other and God. When
self-promoting human arrogance wrestles for ultimate control, community
suffers disabling division that ends in death as Genesis 2:17 states.
When community fractures
into stubborn self-promoting parties, or where there is no authoritative
control, community will crumble, as seen in national Israel
in Old Testament times. Judges
"In those days Israel
had no king; everyone did as they saw fit."
When there is no king,
no form of institutional authoritative control within community, or,
when self-promoting uncooperative factions fight for control, community
will become paralyzed. It
will end in the community self-destructing, as was the case with Israel.
The apostle Paul
addressed this control issue. He
taught that God establishes governmental authority, including the
dictatorial Roman authority that executed him.
Romans 13:1 and 2 read:
"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. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority
is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will
bring judgment on themselves."
in the name of God did Paul tell his readers not to rebel, but to submit
to their ungodly government? If
they rebelled, they would be rebelling against what God had established
and would suffer judgment? I
believe Paul realized that if God establishes government, then
government is God's problem, not his problem.
Paul would not involve himself in God's fight with government.
Besides, "Vengeance is mine," says the Lord (Romans
12:19). In the long run,
God, not Paul nor us, will bring all national governments down as seen
in Revelation 17 and 18. God
causes government to both rise and fall (Daniel 2:21).
I would, therefore, think very soberly and seriously before
defying God-instituted government.