Q & A

What should our attitude be to the government?

The votes have been cast, the people have spoken. We have elected a new government. The Bible makes it very clear what our response to government should be.

Pray for the Government

Those elected to govern need our prayers. We are instructed to petition God on their behalf. Major decisions will face our new government during their term of office, decisions that will have both an immediate and long term effect upon our country. Issues such as health care, homelessness, crime, immigration, social justice, employment, etc. need to be addressed. And godly wisdom and discernment will be required by those making these decisions.

‘I urge, then, first of all, that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone — for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Saviour.’ (1 Timothy 2:1-3)

Honour to Whom Honour is Due

The Bible makes it clear that government is ordained of God. That is not to say that we give blind obedience to the State. On the contrary, when the Roman authorities forbade Peter and the other apostles to teach about Jesus, Peter resisted and said, ‘ We must obey God rather than men.’ (Acts 5:29) Neither is this to say that God endorses one particular political party. But he has instituted government for the well-being of society in general.

‘Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors … Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honour the king.’ (1 Peter 2:13-17)

‘Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves … Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing.’ (Romans 13:1-6)

The purpose of government, according to the Bible, is to care for the overall welfare of all the citizens. And we are entitled to expect fair and honourable treatment from our elected officials. Whenever power is abused or citizens become law-breakers, they dishonour and disobey God.

To pray for our elected government and to give honour to whom honour is due are not party political activities. They are a Christian response to what God has commanded.