For two weeks, we’ve been thinking on Sunday morning about the relationship between the believer and the government from Titus 3:1.
The primary principles and their implications in this passage could be summarized this way:
- Our responsibility before the Lord is not to change the government but to submit to it (v. 1).
- We are not trusting government to accomplish transformation of the world. We are waiting for and trusting God to accomplish that when Christ appears (2:13). So no matter what happens in this world, we will trust and believe that God is still sovereign and we will live contentedly and peacefully.
- Christ did not come to change political powers, but to change the hearts of men (Acts 1:6ff). Our emphasis should be the same.
- My attitude and behaviors toward the government are a reflection of my salvation (2:15 – 3:1). If I am angry and cannot speak about my government with godly words and tones (3:2) and if I am not submissive and obedient to the government (3:1), then it reveals a condition of my heart that is inconsistent with my salvation (2:12ff). I may not be able to change the laws, but I can respond with a godly heart.
Here, then, are also a few questions to see examine our hearts in relation to the government:
- Are you anxious about the current political climate, or are you peacefully trusting Christ?
- Are your concerns driven more by your concern for the morality of the culture or the impact on your bank account?
- Do you want to preserve your civil liberties or do you want to have greater opportunity for ministry? (All the moral changes taking place in our country are making it much clearer who’s a believer and who’s not — providing increasing gospel opportunities.)
- If you are resistant to these truths, have you merged your cultural values with your Christianity? Are you really willing to let Scripture say what it says? (E.g., “be subject to rulers” really is not too hard to understand; in general, we just don’t like the implications of those words.)
- God is most concerned about your holiness and everything He does is to conform you to Christ. Are you more concerned about your tax bracket or about your holiness and Christlikeness?
So, be involved in the process as much as is allowed by God and the government, but do not trust the government to effect heart change in people and do not be discouraged if things do not change. Whatever happens, you can be sure that God is in control, producing exactly what He desires in our country and in the world.