Wait on the LORD: be of good courage,
and he shall strengthen thine heart;
wait, I say, on the LORD.
- Psalm 27:14
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Pastor's Blog

God's Two Kingdoms 10/14/2012
Dear friends,

May the abundant grace of God, the love of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ and the communion of the Holy Spirit be with us now and always. Amen.

As we near the election day for our country in which leaders will be elected for their terms of service to our country and decisions will be made which will determine the course of our future, we as citizens of the United States have become quite interested in the political process that is largely dominating the discussions both in public and in private today. Therefore it is good for us to prayerfully review the fundamental truths that Scripture teaches concerning the relationship between the church and the state and what it means for us today.

I have formulated a number of questions which we will use to guide our study, a study which I hope to place on this blog for the next four weeks. Here are the questions that are before us as Christians, but not before us only, but which are before all the citizens in the United States of America. In today's discussion, we will begin with the first question. If you have your own questions, please reply to this blog and I will include them at a later date. The questions that I have placed will not necessarily be addressed in the order that they are in here, but will be answered as the flow of our discussion dictates.

May we be in prayer as we enter into this discussion. Here is the first question which is then followed by other questions whose answers will be drawn off of the first question.


What is the relationship between the church and the state?

Is it God's intention that the civil government be controlled by the church?

Do we have like, dual citizenship, heavenly and earthly?

How does the kingdom of God relate to the kingdoms of this world?

How do we determine whether to vote, how to vote on issues, who to vote for and so on?

Does the civil government have the inherent right to intervene in the affairs of the church?

Are we as Christians to be involved in the government? Should we hold public office?

Is it ever lawful to resist a government that is promoting evil? If so, what are we permitted to do?

What are ways that we have been called as Christians to have a godly effect on our civil government?


We will now consider the opening question "What is the relationship between the church and the state?"

We do so by placing what is the clearest teaching in the New Testament concerning this question above, the first two verses of Romans chapter 13.

ESV Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

All governments are ordained of God and all those who have been called upon to rule in His behalf are to do so as His representative. These rulers are not autonomous, but receive their authority from God. Government operates as a vehicle of governing for God, and if a government declares its independence from God, it then begins to be under human/self rule. It will soon dominate its people as opposed to serving them.

The primary purpose of government is to reward good and to restrain evil so that humanity will continue: To protect, to support and to maintain human life, animal life, property and the life of the planet. To regulate agreements, to protects one's neighbor's property as well as one's own and so on.

In creation God gave commands to the first created beings. Penal sanctions were placed upon them after they fell. They did not physically die immediately, but they did die spiritually at that time. He banished them from the Garden of Eden and placed the cherubim with the flaming sword to keep Adam and Eve from reentering the Garden. Adam and Even were given the first duty in the Garden before the fall of tending or governing over the creation. (Genesis 1-3)

We are subject to our government. This is civil obedience. Jesus taught this, Paul taught this (our text) Peter taught this also. We are not to be an unruly citizen, but to be model citizens within our government and our nation. This was written in the light of the evil times that Paul was living in, and in fact, he was killed by this government later on.

A similar question was asked of Jesus when He was on earth to the one before us concerning the relationship between the church and the state. Here is the portion of scripture that it is found in.

Matthew 22:15 Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.
16 And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.
17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?
18 But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?
19 Shew me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.
20 And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?
21 They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.
22 When they had heard these words, they marvelled, and left him, and went their way.

Pharisees and Herodians come together, even though they have totally opposite views. The Pharisees uphold Jewish tradition and the Herodians follow Herod and they are in opposition to another. They flatter Jesus in verse 16 so that they can accomplish their goal to entangle him.

17 Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

Jesus asks them for a coin....and tells them....

If Caesar is on the coin, give it back to him. Give the things of God unto God. When you look at the coin and see the image of Caesar on it, give it back to Him. He in a sense is asking them, when you look at me, what do you see? Do you see the image of God in me? No, they do not, for they do not see God. If they would see God in Him, they would hear Him. In other words, give back to God what belongs to God. They do not recognize God in Jesus.


KJV 1 Peter 2:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;
KJV 1 Peter 2:14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
KJV 1 Peter 2:15 For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:
1 Peter 2:16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants1 of God.
17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

If one disobeys the authority that God has ordained, one is disobeying God, for all powers are from God and are ordained by God. God has given all this authority through Christ, and Christ has been throned as the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. It is as if Christ is the prime minister of the New Testament.

Under Christ, we have kings, parents, policemen, school teachers, government officials and so on who are all under his authority. All the authority they have is given by Christ. (1 Peter 2:13-17)

The opposite of this is to participate in disobedience without just cause. There is in this world a context of evil, which is defined in biblical terms as lawlessness and the lowest form of human corruption is seen in this disobedience. It was lawlessness that plunged the world into sin, it was cosmic treason that was committed.

Adam and Eve told God: "We will not have you rule over us, we will not obey your laws." In the final accounting, sin is a political matter in the sense that it is related to government, for God is the ultimate Governor of our lives.


Our first question of "What is the relationship between the church and the state" is answered by the first two verses of Romans 13....

ESV Romans 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.

We will proceed with this discussion next time. In the meantime, we have questions forming in our mind like, "but what if? "you mean we obey the government in all things?' and so on. Let us be patient and allow the Bible to teach us as we trust God in and through His Word as seek to have our questions answered.

In the love of Christ and under His protection, I leave you....


Pastor Orval Wirkkala
Posted on 14 Oct 2012 by Pastor Orval Wirkkala
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