First Presbyterian Church

302 Summit Street | Winona, Miss. | 662.283.2487

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The Christian's Duty to the Civil Magistrate

Posted by Ryan on November 20, 2014 at 10:05 AM

   A couple of weeks ago in our adult Sunday School class we considered the Fifth Commandment, which teaches us how we are to live under all lawful authority. God in His word teaches us that He is the one who establishes and puts in place all authority and rulers. As such, he commands His people (and all people) to honor all those who are in authority.


   The Christian does not have the right to disregard or dishonor a civil ruler simply because he or she dislikes or disagrees with him or his policies. Many in Christian communities believe it is acceptable to speak rudely of a President, Governor, Senator, Judge, or other ruler simply because in that person’s estimation the ruler is not doing what he or she ought to do or obeying God’s mandates (in that person's estimation!).

   But such a position is foreign to historic Christianity and utterly opposed to the commands of God in His word.

   Consider two examples of how God commands His people to live toward their rulers:

   I Peter 2:13-17 “Be subject for the Lord's sake to every human institution...Fear God. Honor the emperor.”

   Romans 13.1-7 “...there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God...whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed...he is God’s servant...Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes...revenue...respect...honor...”

   We should note that respect and honor do not always entail blind obedience, for we must always obey God over men. Nonetheless, in both of these instructions the Apostles wrote of pagan governments who were actively persecuting Christ’s Church and promoting wickedness. Christ did not die so that Christians could disregard or disrespect authorities whom they don’t like.a

Are You Backing the Right Horse?

Posted by Ryan on October 1, 2013 at 10:55 AM

   Throughout the world, the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ is persecuted. From California and Michigan to China and Mongolia to Kenya and Cornwall, Christians are targeted for oppression, violence, and harassment by those who hate God and His people.

   This has always been the case. In Gen. 4, Cain murdered Abel because Abel had saving faith in God and Cain hated him for it. The book of Esther shows - in large part - the failure of conspiracy of one man to wipe out the Church from the Persian Empire. We saw more examples of attempts to destroy the church this week in Kenya and Pakistan and Scotland and Egypt.

   In spite of millennia of persecution, the Church of Jesus Christ has outlived every empire and society that has opposed her. The empires of Babylon, Persia, Rome, Saladin, Hilter, and Stalin have collapsed.

   Here in the United States and also in Great Britain, Christians have been free from persecution by and large since the 1689 Glorious Revolution. That freedom from persecution brought on one of the greatest missionary ages since the execution of the Apostle Paul. But not all the results of this peace have been fruitful.

   One of the challenges faced by the Church in Britain and America because of freedom from persecution is an unbiblical melding of Church and Nation. In America often “God and Country” are joined together as if their goals and aims are the same.

   The goal of the Church is the salvation of sinners through proclaiming Jesus Christ and preparing the saints for heaven. The goal of the Nation is preservation of order and the enrichment of the leaders.

   The present persecution of Christians in Britain and the menacing threat of persecution here may help (and force) Christians to take stock of where their allegiance and possessions lie.

   Is your allegiance to the “state”? Are your hopes and dreams caught up in the success of an earthly empire? Or do you, like Abraham and David, long for a land of eternal rest because there is no rest for God’s people here?

   It is so important for Christian living to remember that the saint’s home is not here, but with Christ in Heaven.