Chapter 24 Of the Civil Magistrate

Table of Contents

The Introduction

In the same vein, we will keep this chapter short because the chapter is short.

24.1 Of the Civil Magistrate: King of Kings

God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates to be under him, over the people, for his own glory and the public good; and to this end has armed them with the power of the sword, for defense and encouragement of them that do good, and for the punishment of evil doers.

Allow me to speak as an Americans to my fellow Americans. Inasmuch as we might think that we, American, get to choose whom represents us, makes laws for us, and rule over us as though we have some semblance of control over who has power over us, it honestly don't pick who rules over us.

Daniel 2:21 (CSB) He changes the times and seasons; he removes kings and establishes kings. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding.

Proverbs 8:15–16 (CSB) It is by me that kings reign and rulers enact just law; by me, princes lead, as do nobles and all righteous judges.

It is God. I speak not in an ultimate sense or in the end sense, but rather, from start to finish, God will place rulers over certain nations and lands because Christ alone is King of kings and he alone rules the universe since his perfection obedience to the Father, he has inherited everything (Hebrews 1:1-2)

Some American Christians will either balk at this notion or simply ignore it all together. But one will only have to look at the candidates and conclude that it would be the sovereign judgment of God to give wicked leaders to such a wicked nation. And to lest we think we get a choice in the manner, look at our options.

I rest my case.

All that considered, the fullest extent of Romans 13 is on full display.

Romans 13:1–4 (CSB) Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the one in authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. For it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For it is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong.

The character and morals of our leaders are found wanting. That will always be the case since the fall of mankind.

Genesis 6:4-6 (CSB) The Nephilim were on the earth both in those days and afterward, when the sons of God came to the daughters of mankind, who bore children to them. They were the powerful men of old, the famous men. When the LORD saw that human wickedness was widespread on the earth and that every inclination of the human mind was nothing but evil all the time, the LORD regretted that he had made man on the earth, and he was deeply grieved.

Whatever God deems to be correct, just as we are subjected to the King of kings, we are to obey the good and moral laws of this land. If they are not sinful against God and they do not violate our conscience, we are to obey the laws of the lands.

24.2 Of the Civil Magistrate: Lord of Lords

It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate when called thereunto; in the management whereof, as they ought especially to maintain justice and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each kingdom and commonwealth, so for that end they may lawfully now, under the New Testament, wage war upon just and necessary occasions.

2 Samuel 23:3 (CSB) The God of Israel spoke; the Rock of Israel said to me, “The one who rules the people with justice, who rules in the fear of God,

Psalm 82:3–4 (CSB) Provide justice for the needy and the fatherless; uphold the rights of the oppressed and the destitute. Rescue the poor and needy; save them from the power of the wicked.”

Luke 3:14 (CSB) Some soldiers also questioned him, “What should we do?” He said to them, “Don’t take money from anyone by force or false accusation, and be satisfied with your wages.”

I am not a theonomist. I fully believe that we are between two worlds. We citizens passing from one kingdom to the next. Now that said, it is lawful and good for Christians to take office to help govern the land.

In multiple instances, Christ uses the example of unjust, dishonest, and evil rulers in the land:

Luke 18:6 (CSB) Then the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says.

Luke 16:1 (CSB) Now he said to the disciples, “There was a rich man who received an accusation that his manager was squandering his possessions.

Luke 11:13 (CSB) If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will the heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him? ”

Amazing. Christ himself says you are going to have unjust, dishonest, and evil rulers over you.

So it would stand to reason that if you sought an office, how much better that would be for your neighbors whom you are called to loved.

24.3 Of the Civil Magistrate: The Almighty God

Civil magistrates being set up by God for the ends aforesaid; subjection, in all lawful things commanded by them, ought to be yielded by us in the Lord, not only for wrath, but for conscience’ sake; and we ought to make supplications and prayers for kings and all that are in authority, that under them we may live a quiet and peaceable life, in all godliness and honesty.

Romans 13:5–7 (CSB) Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath but also because of your conscience. And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s servants, continually attending to these tasks. Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor.

1 Peter 2:17 (CSB) Honor everyone. Love the brothers and sisters. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

1 Timothy 2:1–2 (CSB) First of all, then, I urge that petitions, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for everyone, for kings and all those who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.

We are to submit to all lawful things commanded by our God appointed leaders--when they do not sin against God or violate one's conscience. But in addition, under the premise of loving your neighbor, we are to pray and intercede for our leaders.

Don't like that your politician didn't get elected? Cool. Pray for the one who governs over you.

And live a quiet, peaceable life, in all godliness and honest--in the real world and doubly so on the Internet.