About Jesus - Steve (Stephen) Sweetman

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 Contesting For Control


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 die.'"


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 21:25 reads:


"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."


Why 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.      


Post Script
I realize that more must be said about this issue, but what I have said, I believe is a fundamental Biblical truth must form the foundation of how Christians relate to government.  For more information, you can read my book entitled "The Politics Of God And The Bible,' found on all Amazon sites.

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