CIVIL GOVERNMENT AND THE SOVEREIGNTY OF GOD, a Devotion for 25 July 2018 Anno Domini
St. Andrews Anglican Parish Church
THE WORDS OF DAVID THE KING: “Now these be the last words of David. David the son of Jesse said, and the man who was raised up on high, the anointed of the God of Jacob, and the sweet psalmist of Israel, said, The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue. The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. 4 And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.” (2 Samuel 23:1-4; all scripture quoted is from the King James Version)
The Government of God is not a democracy but rather a Monarchy of the highest order. All righteous government and its laws descend from God. If civil government enacts laws contrary to the Law of God, they are not binding on Christian people.
Of course, all governments of man must be exercised by civil laws. But these laws should comport themselves with the spirit and intent of Divine Law. We have rules and laws galore that do not contradict the Law of God. Imagine a baseball game in which there were no rules, or a bank in which there were no accounting responsibilities. But banking laws, and even sports rules, do not contradict the government of God. In fact, banking laws are in compliance with the Commandment, “Thou Shalt not steal.”(Exodus 20:15)
Though Heaven makes all things new, there is nothing new under the sun of man’s fallen state. The same old cruelties and excesses cultivated by decades of hate and malice are practiced as a matter of the course of nature – and naturally it is a course of nature in a fallen world in which nature itself has been distorted by evil intentions of men’s hearts, and the Sovereign and Author of nature is not acknowledged in every venue of our existence.
The Founding Fathers of this good land were intent upon inculcating God’s Moral Law into our government, and to institute safeguards to insure that the nation established under the favor of a Beneficent God were righteous and fair. There intent was to establish a nation whose leaders would surely be men and women of moral fortitude and disposition. “He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God. And he shall be as the light of the morning, when the sun riseth, even a morning without clouds; as the tender grass springing out of the earth by clear shining after rain.” (2 Samuel 23:4) Such leadership brings joy to men and divine justice to the courts of the land. “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.” (Proverbs 29:2) The American government followed after the divine design of biblical government. When the twelve Apostles are to judge righteousness, so would twelve members be required of a jury to judge guilt or innocence. We have one Federal government embodied in three branches – the executive, the legislative, and the judicial. And we also have One God whose nature and character are defined by Three Persons of the Godhead – God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Ghost.
We also have laws of bankruptcy in which an individual can declare bankruptcy every seven years. We see this practice initiated in ancient Israel under the Sovereignty of God: “At the end of every seven years thou shalt make a release. And this is the manner of the release: Every creditor that lendeth ought unto his neighbour shall release it; he shall not exact it of his neighbour, or of his brother; because it is called the LORD’S release.” (Deuteronomy 15:1-2)
What an extraordinary loss of memory we have undergone in seven decades as an American Republic. Under biblical law, all offenders were treated precisely the same. Under the modern corruption of American republican principles, we have special interest groups and minorities that are treated with special awards based, not on merit, but on accident of birth. This never helps the recipient of a free handout, but rather makes them more dependent upon the handout and less likely to gain their independence from government. They simply become slaves of the Ancien Régime.
In today’s politically correct society, great care is taken not to hurt the feelings of the ignorant. Best to leave them in darkness I suppose! Is that a legitimate manner of life in a free society. We gain knowledge and understanding in questioning the righteousness of government and social policy. Without an outlet for that curiosity through public discourse, the society decays and becomes a distortion of what right society and government should be. The university becomes an echo chamber of shamefully weak minds and voices.
There is almost a maniacal opposition to any mention of the name of the Lord Jesus Christ in our day. He is shunned in every public forum. You may mention Buddha, the Hindu gods, Allah, or Ahuramazda; but for heaven’s sake, never mention Jesus! Why do we suppose this to be the case? I believe it is because the Lord Jesus is the only exclusive God. If we accept that He is Lord, our lives MUST change or we are damned. There is no middle road, and He is the only means of our salvation. We are either with Him, or we are against Him. His name is an indictment against modern, hedonistic society. So “please,” the devils scream – “do not mention Him who has come to torture us before our time under the sun.”
Many decades ago, the evolutionists humbly came to the public schools and begged to teach evolution alongside Creation Science. They insisted that they did not desire to squelch the teaching of biblical Creation; they simply wanted an equal forum. (see Scopes Monkey Trial) They received that public forum and have now grown to such audacity as to demand that even God’s name not be mentioned in any public forum.
Can a Christian man or woman remove their robes of salvation at the door of government and take upon themselves the robes of the secular humanist? I think not, and neither did our Founders. Space will not permit me to provide the many quotes of the Founders on the importance of biblical faith in maintaining the Republic which they gave us at the hand of God. But the Revolution of 1776 was the product of strong Biblical preaching from the pulpits of the Colonies in an appeal to the Author of Liberty Himself who is God. There was no equivocation or hesitation even at the cost of persecution.
I encourage each reader to acquire the full sermon delivered by the Rev. Samuel Cooke to the royal Massachusetts House of Representatives in 1770, entitled, THE TRUE PRINCIPLES OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT. His sermon began with the same quote from 2 Samuel that is the header for this devotion:
THE TRUE PRINCIPLES OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT by the Rev. Samuel Cooke (an excerpt)
“The solemn introduction to the words now read, respectable hearers, is manifestly designed to engage your attention and regard, as given by inspiration from God, and as containing the last, the dying words of one of the greatest and best of earthly rulers, who, by ruling in the fear of God, had served his generation according to the divine will. Transporting reflection of when his flesh and his heart failed, and his glory was consigned to dust.
“From this and many other passages in the sacred oracles, it is evident that the Supreme Ruler, though he has directed to no particular mode of civil government, yet allows and approves of the establishment of it among men.
“The ends of civil government, in divine revelation, are clearly pointed out, the character of rulers described, and the duty of subjects asserted and explained; and in this view civil government may be considered as an ordinance of God, and, when justly exercised, greatly subservient to the glorious purposes of divine providence and grace: but the particular form is left to the choice and determination of mankind.
“ In a pure state of nature, government is in a great measure unnecessary. Private property in that state is inconsiderable. Men need no arbiter to determine their rights; they covet only a bare support; their stock is but the subsistence of a day; the uncultivated deserts are their habitations, and they carry their all with them in their frequent removes. They are each one a law to himself, which, in general, is of force sufficient for their security in that course of life.
“It is far otherwise when mankind are formed into collective bodies, or a social state of life. Here, their frequent mutual […] [interrelationships], in a degree, necessarily leads them to different apprehensions respecting their several rights, even where their intentions are upright. Temptations to injustice and violence increase, and the occasions of them multiply in proportion to the increase and opulence of the society. The laws of nature, though enforced by divine revelation, which bind the conscience of the upright, prove insufficient to restrain the sons of violence, who have not the fear of God before their eyes.
“A society cannot long subsist in such a state; their safety, their social being, depends upon the establishment of determinate rules or laws, with proper penalties to enforce them, to which individuals shall be subjected. The laws, however wisely adapted, cannot operate to the public security unless they are properly executed. The execution of them remaining in the hands of the whole community, leaves individuals to determine their own rights, and, in effect, in the same circumstances as in a state of nature. The remedy in this case is solely in the hands of the community.”
Should we not have many more such men of God to preach in our churches of America today.
“Prenez en Gré”
In Christ Alone
in TRINITY SEASON
† Jerry L. Ogles , D.D.
Anglican Orthodox Communion Worldwide & Chancellor, Faith Theological Seminary
“Metus improbo compescit, non clementia.” – Syrus, MAXIMS: Fear, not kindness, restrains the wicked!
Archbishop Thomas Cranmer – HOLY SCRIPTURE:
“If there were any word of God beside the Scripture, we could never be certain of God’s Word; and if we be uncertain of God’s Word, the devil might bring in among us a new word, a new doctrine, a new faith, a new church, a new god, yea himself to be a god. If the Church and the Christian faith did not stay itself upon the Word of God certain, as upon a sure and strong foundation, no man could know whether he had a right faith, and whether he were in the true Church of Christ, or a synagogue of Satan.”