The Ministers of God to Us

 •  4 min. read  •  grade level: 9
“There is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.” (What a terrible scene this world would be if there were no governments!) Although the Christian should be separate from politics, he can thank God for those whom He ordains —ministers of God to us for good (Rom. 13:44For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (Romans 13:4)).
We would caution fellow-believers in respect to a habit prevalent in the world of speaking evil of rulers. This ill-becomes us; on the contrary, we are to render “honor to whom honor” is due. While we have nothing to do with setting up rulers, we should be the most respectful of all people to them.
The Place of Prayer
Another privilege we have is to pray for them; in fact, we are exhorted to make “supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks  .  .  .  for all that are in authority” (1 Tim. 2:12). Who can measure the effect on any nation’s tranquility if separated, devoted saints of God make such intercessions! It is not by helping to select rulers, nor by mingling in politics, that this weight is effected. Consider Lot in Sodom, for instance; he was right in the midst of their politics and was of no help at all, while his godly uncle Abraham, who was separated from it, could make intercession on behalf of that wicked city. God heard Abraham’s intercession, but the wickedness of the place had gone too far then for judgment to be withheld. Lot neither perceived the imminence of judgment, nor was he fitted to make intercession for the city. His political associations blinded his eyes; his moral contacts blighted his soul and ruined his family.
The world’s history bears record to the fact that when Christians have lost sight of their heavenly calling and have sought to help forward certain political aims or have curried the favor and sought the support of “the powers that be,” they have done so to their hurt. It is not good to lean on “an arm of flesh”; rather, “it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes” (Psa. 118:99It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes. (Psalm 118:9)).
Taking Sides
As terrible and godless as atheistic communism is, it is to be feared that in many places where communists have gained control, Christians have suffered unduly by having taken sides against them and having sought by political means to prevent the communists from coming into power. In this way Christians, who should have maintained their separation, became identified with political forces. Then when the new authority was set up, they were treated as political enemies. The inflammatory remarks against communism by some Christian leaders in this country have perhaps added to the severity of persecution against Christians in such places. Satan has been very successful in seducing Christians to forget their earthly strangership and heavenly citizenship and in having them seek to adapt Christianity to the ways and aims of the world. There is little or no reproach for that compromising type of Christianity in the world. The god of this world easily makes use of it for his own ends. It has become integrated with world politics, reforms and advancements of all kinds.
Strangers and Pilgrims
In some ways we should be more like the Jewish captives in Babylon. They were taken from their own land and were strangers (not pilgrims journeying home, as we are, however) in a foreign land, but they were told by God through Jeremiah to “seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace” (Jer. 29:77And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captives, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace. (Jeremiah 29:7)). They were not to be engaged in setting things right in the land of their captivity, but they could and should resort to prayer on behalf of that place, not in the spirit of seeking its greatness, but that they might enjoy peace. In the same spirit, we are to pray for those in authority, “that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty” (1 Tim. 2:2).
May we not forget that we are “strangers and pilgrims” in this world. Our citizenship is in heaven (Phil. 3:2020For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ: (Philippians 3:20)); our calling is to heaven (Heb. 3:11Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; (Hebrews 3:1)); our hope is in heaven (Col. 1:55For the hope which is laid up for you in heaven, whereof ye heard before in the word of the truth of the gospel; (Colossians 1:5)). Yet for all that, the Christians who act accordingly and make intercession for those in authority are the greatest power for good in any land.
P. Wilson, adapted from Christian Truth, 6:26-28