Is All Civil Authority Ordained by God?

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There are a few items that are foundational to understanding how we as Christians should Biblically approach civil government. The first question that we must ask is whether or not civil authority is ordained by God. The answer to this question determines how we view our government and how we react to leaders and laws.

To answer this question, let’s take a look at Romans 13 which deals with the Christian’s relationship to civil authority and law.

Romans 13:1 says,

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”

This verse clearly states that God is the one who established civil authority.

Having answered this basic question, there are a few points that we can take away from this foundational truth:

1. God is the Source of All Power
We saw in Romans 13:1, There is no power but of God:. No man or man-made institution can give power or a mandate to rule. True power only comes from God. He has to allow a person to have power. 1 Samuel 15:23 tells us the story of King Saul of Israel when he disobeyed God’s commandment, “For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord , he hath also rejected thee from being king.”

2. God is in Control
Because God is the source of all power, we can be assured that God is in control of everything. Proverbs 21:1 shows us that God is in control of all human authorities. It says, “The king’s heart is in the hand of the Lord , as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.” We can be assured that no matter who is president, king, or even dictatator that God is in control.

3. God’s Plan is Perfect
Because God is in control, we know that everything will work out for good because 2 Samuel 22:31 says, “As for God, his way is perfect; the word of the Lord is tried: he is a buckler to all them that trust in him.” Romans 8:28 says, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”

In learning that God did in fact ordain civil authority, we can rest assured knowing that, because of this, God is the source of all power; He is in control, and His plan is perfect.

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