The New President of the United States

Barack Obama has been reelected as President of the United States.  Are you happy with this outcome?  No matter your political affiliation and no matter who you voted for,  there is something important for every Christian to remember.

God’s reminder comes to us from Romans 13:1, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.”  There are three important phrases to emphasize in this passage.

1) “Every person.”  Every person must submit to the government.  There are no exceptions to this command.  This does not mean we agree with everything the government does, but we must “submit to the governing authorities” nonetheless.  Keep in mind this command was written to people under the corrupt, evil, and persecuting rule of the Romans.  We need to submit to our government, which is not nearly as bad as Rome’s was.

2) “Established by God.”  Even though some very evil and corrupt men have come into power in times past, this verse clearly says God establishes the all governing authorities (c.f. John 19:11).  This certainly does not mean God accepts and stands behind the government’s decisions, Jesus sure didn’t during His time, but God has at least allowed these people to come into power.  Therefore, whether we are happy about Obama’s reelection or not, we must recognize God has placed him into power and, as stated above, we must be in subjection to him.

3) “No authority except from God.”  This is by far the most important phrase of this verse.  No matter who is in charge, no matter what laws are passed, God is still in charge.  None of the governing authorities would be in power at all if God did not allow them to be.  Our Lord is the ultimate authority in the world.  As such, this means God’s laws come first even above ones established by our government that may contradict God.  Being in subjection to Obama does not mean we should set aside any of God’s commands, even if the President calls for us to so.  God is the true and supreme authority above all others.  In fact, God has even called for Christians to correct those in error, which would include governing authorities (2 Timothy 3:16-17; 4:1-5; etc).  However, we need to be careful not to speak evil of a ruler (Acts 23:5), but to correct with love (Ephesians 4:15) and with a submissive and respectful attitude (Romans 13:1).

It’s easy to get emotionally attached to one candidate or another and become disheartened if another is chosen.  However, let’s remember we still must stand in subjection to the President and all governing authorities because God establishes them.  We are even called on to pray for such men (1 Timothy 2:2).  Beyond all else though, let’s draw comfort from the fact that our God is the King of kings, the Lord of lords, the Ultimate Authority, the Supreme Ruler, and the Perfect President.

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2 thoughts on “The New President of the United States

  1. I think you made a mistake in the second to last paragraph, you wrote: “Being in subjection to Obama does mean we should set aside any of God’s commands, even if the President calls for us to so”, I believe the “does” should be “doesn’t.
    But I think we should broaden you article to include criticism of the authorities when they are not following God’s laws and just being evil. If we look at the old testament, Moses Criticized pharoah to let his people go. Prophet Nathan told Prophet David to repent for killing a man for his wife. Jonah told the Ninevites and their ruler to repent and turn from their wickedness and so on in the OT. Then st. John the Baptist criticized Herod for marrying his brothers wife and disobey God’s law and to repent. The in Christian History, when their were Christian Kings, people like St. John Chrysostom, heavily criticized the Emperor to change his ways. Then there is St. Basil the Blessed of Russia who criticized Ivan the Terrible for his ways. The list goes on. We should not let blind allegiance to any human in power makes blind to lawlessness. But also importantly, we should know that the US is a republic where the rule of law governs and the people is supposed to govern through representation. The president is supposed to the protector of the constition and the liberties of the people, quite the opposite of a Monarchy. Government is to serve the people and in our constitution dissent is suggested when govt becomes oppressive and is not following it’s own laws and constitution. So in the US, dissent would be patriotic when govt is corrupt, immoral, lawless etc.

    • Thanks for the good thoughts, and for pointing out my goof up. I did indeed mean to say “does not.” The adjustment has been made.

      I agree the article could possibly be broadened to include criticism (though I prefer the word correction). Part of the reason I did not include this initially was because it wasn’t really the message I was going for, but also because of Scriptures like Acts 23:5, “And Paul said, ‘I was not aware, brethren, that he was high priest; for it is written, “you shall not speak evil of a ruler of your people.”‘” I think many people cross this line way too often and speak evil of their rulers under the cloak of “correction” and “criticism.”

      Nonetheless, your point is valid, and we need to correct the President and government officials when they are wrong. However, this must be done in love (Ephesians 4:15) and in a way that still shows submission (Romans 13:1). For this reason, I decided to take your advice and point 3 has now been expanded.

      Thanks for speaking your mind in the civil and respectful way you did.

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