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Christian Civic Responsibility: A Biblical Imperative

April 1, 2010

Christians have a unique opportunity to make a difference in the civil arena.  Jesus teaches us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” As citizens of heaven and America as well, we carry a “dual citizenship,” as it were.  We play a unique role in our government as “We the People.” One question that needs asking and answering, as we try to understand Jesus’ teaching on rendering to Caesar, is this:  Who is Caesar? “Government of the people, by the people, and for the people” (in Lincoln’s words) informs our answer to the Caesar question.  Whatever the nature of the institution, we are admonished in Scripture to submit to it. In America, we also have the responsibility to shape it into a reflection of Biblical justice, freedom, and order. Christian self-government is at the foundation of our Republic. To be individually self-governed is the only way to “keep” the Republic going, as B. Franklin put it. This sort of self-governance is exactly what the Apostle Peter had in mind when he penned the inspired words:

Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts, which wage war against your soul. Keep your behavior excellent among the Gentiles, so that in the thing in which they slander you as evildoers, they may on account of your good deeds, as they observe them, glorify God in the day of visitation.
Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond-slaves of God.
Honor all men; love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king.
1 Peter 2:11-17 (NASB)

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