“Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood.
Fear God. Honor the emperor.”
1 Peter 2:17
In just two days, we will be celebrating the birth of our nation. Although not what it once was, or so it seems to me, the 4th of July is still a big deal. Therefore, I was surprised to learn a few years ago that the revolution that started our country was not, after all, biblical.
Wait a minute! How could this possibly be? Everyone knows that the founding fathers were deeply Christian, right? Well, maybe some were, but maybe some compromised those values. Whether or not the United States was founded upon Christian principles is another question altogether. Let’s suffice it to say, for now, that the whole idea of freedom of religion is the epitome of tolerance. Furthermore, several of the founding fathers were known Freemasons, a secret society that espouses Jesus as one of many important religious deities. Who’s to say how many remained “secret” freemasons?
But, that’s not even the point that surprised me. What did surprise me is that the bible does not teach us that revolution is required. In fact, it teaches us to submit to authority, even bad authority, because God is the one who establishes government. Let me say that God doesn’t promote evil behavior, but he does raise up kings, some of which do evil.
Our founding fathers were well aware of this passage:
1 Peter 2:13-17 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.
There is no justification for revolt, that I can see. There is, however, no excuse to obey a law that directly contradicts the Word of God. The bible is full of examples of those who received extreme punishment for disobeying governments so that they might obey God. However, none of them started a revolution.
I know that there were many reasons the Colonists revolted, but my school taught that taxation without representation was on the top of the list. Does that hold any biblical merit? No, I don’t think it does.
Matthew 22:15-22 Then the Pharisees went and plotted how to entangle him in his words. And they send their disciples to him, along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are true and teach the way of God truthfully, and you do not care about anyone’s opinion, for you are not swayed by appearances. Tell us, then, what you think. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar, or not?” But Jesus, aware of their malice, said, “Why put me to the test, you hypocrites? Show me the coin for the tax.” And they brought him a denarius. And Jesus said to them, “Whose likeness and inscription is this?” They said, Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” When they heard it, they marveled. And they left him and went away.
This passage was recorded in Mark and Luke as well. Clearly, we see two things. First, we must pay the government’s tax. Second, even an evil government must be obeyed. Again, we are not permitted to obey laws that directly contradict God’s word, but we are to obey the government in all other matters. Look, Caesar claimed to be a god. Jesus knew that.
What do we say to these things? As in all matters, we need to speak of the Word of God. Do we celebrate the 4th of July? I think it’s ok because it gives us a great opportunity to bring up the whole topic. First, do a little homework. Study who the Freemasons are and how their tolerance fits in perfectly with the Declaration of Independence and our Constitution. Do the Freemasons’ principles fit with biblical Christianity? How does freedom of religion express itself in our culture? Is this a good thing? Does it honor God? Why might God raise up a government such as ours? Doesn’t it open the door to worshiping other gods or even denying the existence of any god?
I think you could find this exercise occupying a great deal of your time.
Father, thank you for establishing government to protect us. We pray for our country and leaders, that they may rule over us by honoring you, that they may come to know Jesus as the one, true, and living God and Savior, and that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way. Amen.
Copyright © 2019 Scott Powers