If Jesus is the ultimate King how should we, the Church, behave in the earthly kingdoms we currently reside
Rather than subscribing to a sacred/secular divide in our political engagement, the Church has an active role to play in the governance of the world. The behaviour of the Church is to be distinctive from the world around us, however, and this is seen primarily through submission and prayer in order that Christ might be honoured.
Passage: Romans 13:1-7
The Church is to submit
- Why is the Church called to submit to governments?
- For there is no authority except that which God has established v1
- To rebel against authority is to rebel against God’s institutions v2
- Not simply out of fear of punishment but for integrity of conscience v5
- If the government is given authority and purpose by God, what are they supposed to do?
- For the common good – they are to do and to promote good v4
- They are to punish wrongdoing v3 and v4
- Serve God v4 and v6
- To govern (basic administrative and ordering tasks) v6
- What does submitting to the government look like?
- Is this what we think of when we think of the role and duty of government?
- Where do we find this call difficult? How does our attitude towards government need to change in light of Romans 13? (Take this further by looking at Titus 3:1-2).
- As individuals?
- As the Church?
- If we are called to submit to governments, is it ever appropriate/necessary to disobey government? If you have time look at the following passages...
- Acts 5:17-42
- Daniel 3 and 6
- Exodus 1:1-22
Different Christians will settle at different places in this discussion on when is it right to submit. Why might this be? How do we show grace to one another?
It is worth remembering that the authorities Paul and Peter (1 Peter 2:13-17) urge Christians to submit to were tyrannical and abusive, so any decision to disobey must not be taken lightly. At the same time, Christians cannot accept injustice or evil under the guise of submission – Micah 6:8 makes it clear what our calling is.
Passage: 1 Timothy 2:1-4
The Church is to pray
- What does Paul tell Timothy and his church to do?
- Why does he command such things?
- How is does this command differentiate us from the world?
- Are we living in light of this truth? Is our chief concern the salvation of people, even in our political behaviour?
- What would it mean for the Church to obey this call to submission and prayer in the UK?
- Practically how would this shape our political involvement?
- Thank God that governments are given by him to do good and restrain evil
- Pray for Christians living under harsh and oppressive governments as they figure out what these commands mean for them
- Pray for our government in line with 1 Timothy 2