God’s Plan for a Blessed Nation:
Principle #4: The Role of Government
A Stand in the Gap Transcript
July 26, 2021
Host: Sam Rohrer
Co-hosts: Dr. Gary Dull & Dave Kistler
Click HERE for PDF version.
Sam Rohrer: Well, hello, and welcome to another edition of Stand in the Gap Today, and this our fourth in our series of 10 principles to national renewal. For over 400 years, since the pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock in 1620, our founders pursued a dream of beginning a new nation blessed of God, a nation built on biblical principles where people could live free, own their own private property and train up their children in the fear of God. I’m Sam Rohrer and I’m glad to be joined again today by Dr. Gary Dull and Evangelist Dave Kistler.
Now, two weeks ago in this program, we identified the second principle in this 10 part series, and that one was, understand the nature and the role of God. Last week, we shared the theological and historical underpinnings of principle number three, the nature of man. Like building blocks, each of these 10 principles we’re presenting were identified and adopted by our founders.
They were preached by our founding pulpits and they were incorporated into early academic institutions like Harvard University, which was established to teach men how to preach. Perhaps the most carefully considered founder and then systematically, he took and laid down this concept in print, was William Penn. He did this in his Frame Of Government that he wrote in 1682, plus some other accompanying documents. Now, the focus of today’s program is principle number four, the purpose for government, which involves several different considerations.
So for instance, why is there such a thing called government? What is meant by government? Where did the idea come from and how is it to be structured? What is the purpose and who determines the right action when civil authority abuses its universal purpose? There’s a whole lot of questions. So Dave, I want to get right into this because this is such a big topic. We want to try and make it as simple as possible, but I’d like you to define some terms first. This go here, what’s the definition of government? And what’s the difference between government and authority? For instance, as in civil government, as compared to civil authority, what would you say?
Dave Kistler: Well, Sam, great questions. Again, I am thrilled to be a part of this. These 10 principles are absolutely essential for people to understand, so it’s wonderful to be a part of this. Sam, thank you for taking on this 10 part series. Let me go to Romans 13, which is the key New Testament passage that deals with government and there’s words that are used there in that passage, basically interchangeably. “Let every soul,” Romans 13:1 says, ” … be subject to the higher powers. For there is no power but of God and the powers that be are ordained of God, whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God,” and so on.
From a strictly hermeneutic standpoint, if you’re going to define the term that’s used there in the Greek New Testament in Romans 13, the word is interchangeable between government, power, authority. But Sam, there is a little bit of a distinction. If I could just create this distinction in answering your question and providing definitions. Authority is the principle itself. When the Bible says in Matthew 28:18, “Jesus speaking all authority, all power is given to me in heaven and in Earth.” That is the principle of authority is vested in Jesus Christ. So authority is the principle, government is more or less the structure that underpins that principle of authority. In other words, we have people that function in places of government.
So I would create a little bit of a distinction, though the word in Romans 13 that is used, is used pretty much interchangeably. Authority is the principle or the concept. Then government itself is the structure made up of people in positions of power authority.
Sam Rohrer: Dave, that’s just perfect because that’s going to unfold into the balance of the program. Gary, we’re coming to you at this point because unlike God rejecting people who insist on saying that the concept of government came as a natural evolutionary process of human development, which is what they say, our founders took an entirely different view, didn’t they? So you answer as you feel led here, where did the idea of government and authority come from?
Gary Dull: Well, you know Sam, I’ve heard many people say the same thing that you just implied, that government is something that just came from the natural evolution of mankind, but it did not come to us in that way. As a matter of fact, as we read the scripture and of course the Bible is always our authority, we recognize that God has established three major institutions. The first was the home and family in Genesis 2 and 3. The second one was civil government in Genesis chapter nine, that was laid out there by God unto Noah after the flood. Then of course we see that that same concept is brought out in Romans chapter 13. I might just say that the third institution of God is the church.
So we’ve got those three institutions of God, which really are three governments. The government in the home, the government in the civil area, as well as the government as it relates to the church. So government comes directly from God. Brother Dave mentioned Romans chapter 13 and verse one. I want to emphasize it again because it says, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers for there is no power but of God.” Here it is, “The powers that be are ordained by God.” Government is God’s idea. Man has corrupted government. The word of God gives proper principles for government and it’s up to those of us who know Christ, those of us who are part of the body of Christ, the church to see the government does operate from the biblical perspective.
But Sam, I have a question as well for you. That is, from the standpoint of why there is government and so forth. Can you tie together the previous three principles that we’ve talked about in this series with the principle that we’re talking about today, which is understanding the purpose for government?
Sam Rohrer: Gary, I can. I think ladies and gentlemen, as we go through this, understand that as we say, every one of these are linked. Principle number one, if you recall, was the principle of integrity, meaning being whole or complete, which has to happen and function around agreement with God’s definition of truth. We said virtue comes from that. Our founders talked about virtue because that’s the voluntary obedience to truth.
These things go together, put you on a right track, and then if you start on that track and want to know the truth it takes you exactly to principle number two, then talks about understanding the nature and the role of God. God as creator, God as judge, God as sustainer and our founders talked about this. Our rights come from God, the author of nature’s God, all about those things. But then they moved in and said, once you understand about God and that he’s holy. He sets the standards. Then you understand that unfortunately, there I fall. Sin came into the world and it corrupted all that God made and God, because of His justice, put into place and His love, He put into place in a thing called redemption. Genesis 3: 15 talks about it, because of man’s sin, and then that’s why we dealt with last, understand the nature of man. Sinful, corrupted, impossible to doing anything good outside what happens through redemption, which comes through Jesus Christ. That ultimately then leads us to God’s plan for the necessity of government. Then next week, we’ll talk about the purpose for law. These all connect like fingers in a glove.
When we understand we come back, we’re going to continue this discussion today. Talk about the how of government. Really, how does it work? And the structure of it.
Sam Rohrer: We’re continuing now with principle number four, the purpose for government. If you’re just tuning in, this is part of a 10 part series that we’re entitling 10 Principles To National Renewal.
We’re offering this as, actually maybe for many it’s the first time ever really considered what God laid down in His scripture as His plan for a blessed nation. Well, our founders did, they walked through these things. So as we work through these programs, we’re also going to be referring back and we have, and we will, references to founding fathers who really worked this process through. William Penn, I’m actually going to share at the end of this program, you don’t want to miss this, a section I’m going to read from his Frame Of Government, which will tie together these elements that we’re talking about today and it’ll make really perfect sense.
But the one thing that I’m always amazed with when I read the sermons of founding pastors, I’m calling them, the early pulpits of America and those like Penn, I am impressed with the profound depth of their understanding of the principles. They did not come up with ideas out of thin air. They were considered very, very well. They went to the source of truth, the word of God and the study of history and put it together. That’s important to understand.
Now we’ve referred here, Romans 13:1 already in the first segment, but the apostle Paul wrote there that, “There is no power, but of God, the powers that be are ordained of God.” Dave explained that really, that word power and others in scripture, dominions and authority, and government really comes from the same word, but they’re slightly different. Authority is that which empowers. Government tends to be more of the framework for the working out of that, perhaps empowerment, put it that way.
Set another way, I’m just going to rephrase that Romans 13:1, you could say this. For there is no authority or government which exists outside of God’s sovereignty and plan. The authorities, the empowerment, the government as a structure, which exist, are established in a ranked and subordinated order, which is what ordained means. Ranked and subordinated order by God and therefore all accountable to God, having their authority delegated to them by God and their duties, responsibilities and limitations defined by God.
Any of these authorities that exceed their God-designed purposes are guilty of treason to God and they will answer to Him and we get that from other passages. So, what is the ranked order as translated by the word ordained or instituted? We’re going to go there next. Dave, want to go to you, Gary already laid out a little bit, but I want you to take and lay out the entire concept so people can see this in their mind, so it makes sense to them when it comes to the matter of authority that starts with God, but it builds down and God has put it in order. He’s a God of order. Can you outline for us briefly that hierarchy and order of God’s instituted authorities that referring today here as government?
Dave Kistler: Yes Sam, I’d be delighted to. Genesis 1:1 says, “In the beginning, God created the heaven and the Earth.” So everything originated with God, but then you come to a phenomenal passage of scripture in Isaiah nine, verse number six, where the scripture is very clear. It says, “For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given and the government … ” we could just put the word authority, ” … there shall be upon his shoulder.” Of course, the one that was born, the child, the son, the one upon whose shoulder, government is placed, delegated by God to be placed there, is Jesus Christ, the son of God.
So God is the ultimate authority. He delegates authority to His son and then Sam, this wonderful verse in Genesis one verse 26, where God said, “Let us make man in our image and after our likeness and let them have dominion.” There’s that word, dealing with government or authority again, “Over the fish of the sea and over the fowl of the air and over the cattle and over all the Earth.”
So God delegates authority to his son, Jesus, and then Jesus and God, the Father delegate authority to mankind. We have authority over the Earth and it’s ours to subdue the Earth, God said, and to rule over it. Then Sam, further down than that, you have specific areas of authority. You have, as Gary alluded to much earlier, you have the first Genesis 2 and 3, you have the family Genesis 9, you have civil government. Then in the New Testament, beginning of Acts 2, and following, you have God’s design for the church. Each of those have an authority structure in them. So, God is very much a God of definitive order and a God who delegates authority to others. So, that’s the basic structure.
Sam Rohrer: Dave what you’re saying is that there was a design, God the maker, God the author of truth, laid down a plan for a blessed nation of which includes these things. Then He delegates authority, as you cited so excellently, and all of these interrelate.
So Gary, I want to go to you next. There’s not enough time to build this out fully, but I’d like you to do a couple of things here. Describe the primary purpose of each of these ranked authorities as it relates to their ultimate authority to God because each one of those that Dave mentioned have a relationship vertically to God.
Then I want you to take, if you can do just one of them perhaps, but each of them have a duty towards each other, if that makes sense? A horizontal. So if you can, put together a couple of these starting with the individual and then working down through, if you don’t mind?
Gary Dull: Well, I think it’s important to recognize again, as we study the scripture, that even though in the past segment, I mentioned that there are three institutions of God, the home, civil government, and the church. But when you look at government itself, you find that there is actually what we might say, four areas of government. You’ve got first of all, self-government, you’ve got secondly, and of course we see that in Genesis chapter two and three, as it relates to the fact that Adam and Eve had the responsibility to govern themselves, according to the ordinance of God. They could partake of all the fruit of all the trees in that garden, except the fruits of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. They messed up on their personal government. But what we see there is that that relates to self-government and every one of us are to govern ourselves.
Then secondly, there is the family government. Thirdly, the civil government, and fourthly, the church government. All four of those are still in operation even today. Every aspect of government is responsible to God to work out His law according to His expectations. You talk about the vertical and the horizontal. Horizontally, yes we are to see to it that as we look around and as we see civil government, and family government, and church government, and self-government, that everyone who is involved in the governance thereof, is to be living according to biblical truth. But ultimately, we have the responsibility and will be giving accountability to God for the way that we have worked out the various forms of government in our lives.
I want to go back to the book of Romans chapter 13, because I think Sam, it is all properly laid out there. For instance, when we look at Romans chapter 13 and verse one, we see the government, number one is ordained of God. Verse one says, “The powers that be are ordained of God.”
Secondly, we see, as we look at verse two, that the responsibility of the ordained powers of God, the government that God’s ordained, is to uphold the ordinances of God. You see that in verse two, where it says, “Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God.”
Then as you work your way down through to verse four, you find that those who are involved in government are the ministers of God. That word minister is where we get the word deacon from, which means that those in government are servants of God. So you’ve got the government that’s ordained of God. You’ve got the fact that those in government are to uphold the ordinance of God. Then they are to serve as ministers of God, according to God’s direction, according to that which God leads them to do from the biblical perspective. Therefore, all government, whether we are talking about the self-government, the family government, the civil government, or the church government, is going to be getting ultimate responsibility and accountability to almighty God. It’s up to those of us who are alive now to make certain that all government functions according to biblical truth. Glorify God.
Sam Rohrer: Okay, Gary, you brought up a lot of things that are excellent there. Ladies and gentlemen, think about this. Gary mentioned the word minister in Romans 13. Those in civil authority are ministers of God and it talks about it there, but you know what? So is the pastor in the pulpit, he’s a minister of God. In other places in scripture, you know that you as a dad in the home are a minister, servant and are not each one of us individually servants? We ought to be. We are in God’s design. A common denominator of all of this, ladies and gentlemen is that every one of them are answerable to God.
You and I will give an account to God personally, for how we respond to what He says we are to do. Well, so is mom and dad, and so is those in elected office, and so are those who are in the pulpit. Because that verse, Romans 13:1, the word ordained, if you want to go and look there, that word ordained literally means ranked and ordered. It’s God-ordered and he ranked, starting with the individual that Gary talked about, goes to the family, goes to civil, and then it goes to the church and they all relate to each other because if they do what God says, they are relating to him vertically first.
Now, that concept is powerful. Our founders understood it. William Penn understood it. The founder preachers understood it. Makes all the difference when they were thinking about putting together a nation that could be blessed of God or for us in our day, what we need to do to renew our relationship with God so that He can bless us again. When we come back, now we’re going to talk about the what. Actual function, the purpose, what is government authority? What’s it to do?
Sam Rohrer: Welcome back to Stand in the Gap Today. This is the fourth in our series of our 10 part series. I just want to remind all of you if you’re just listening in, that I encourage you to go to our website, standinthegapradio.com, or you can pick it up off of your app, but when you search and I encourage you to do so, you can search for 10 principles. That’ll probably come up and you’ll find it as an example but then all of these programs in this series, you will then be able to find.
If you start at the beginning and you begin to listen and walk through, you will have a set of instructions. That probably, I’m going to say, because we know what’s not being preached and I’ve been an office for a long time, I had been, and I know I had never heard any preaching or teaching on the kinds of things we’re going through that our founders knew like the back of their hand and used to be preaching the pulpits. If we want to know what we can do in these days, when our nation and our freedom is so greatly challenged, this set, this series will give you an education like you cannot get anywhere else right now in college, I’m telling you. It’s just not being done, but it will also help significantly know how to think, and to act, and how to respond to the kinds of challenges that are facing us in our nation. So, that’s the purpose, I encourage you to do that.
Our founders understood that once the choice was made to pursue truth, as defined by God, integrity is what they were saying, there’s God the author of truth and they said, clearly the Bible. They said they could do that with integrity and virtue. I’ve defined that virtue, meaning nothing but voluntary submission to truth. Wow, they were people of virtue.
Are you a person of virtue? Do you voluntarily submit to truth as defined by God’s word? Because that’s what virtue means. They said that’s where you had to begin. Then they went from there to principle two, understand the nature and the role of God. And then three, that leads to understanding the nature and the role of man, that he’s a sinner, he’s corrupt from birth, and without redemption through Jesus Christ, simply incapable of doing good or establishing government of freedom, making laws that are just, or even acting as an individual, respectful of someone else or their property. That brings us to our principle today, number four, is that understand the purpose for government because as God designed empowerment, given to people, He’s also outlined certain structures for the carrying out of that. We’ve defined them, the individual, the family, the civil, and the church, but it brings us down to what ultimately in God, as a God of order, what does he lay out as to the purpose?
So Gary we’ve talked about Romans 13, 1 Peter 2, we didn’t talk about yet, but it gets into this area. God, again, as a God of order, He never lets us guessing. If He’s going to hold us accountable, He can’t keep us in the dark and He doesn’t. So when it comes to authority, He does lay it out and He says, “All right, two duties, evildoers, punish them. Those who do well, praise them.”
So, I’d like you to take the first part and then I’ll go to Dave on the second one, but take this first part of punishing those who do evil. If you can, connect that to who God is, the character and the nature, and the role of God in his justice and explain at the same time, what God is wanting to be communicated to people when this is done properly, because … Anyways, I won’t say anything more. Take it from there.
Gary Dull: Well, let me revisit Romans 13, as well as take a look at 1 Peter, first of all. We’ve mentioned Romans 13, I think in every segment here so far the program, but look at verse three where it says, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.” Then it says, “Wilt thou not then be afraid of the power, do that which is good and thou shalt have praise of the same.” What we see in that particular passage of scripture, Sam, is that the rulers, God’s rulers, those in government really have the responsibility, not to terrorize good works, but to terrorize the evil things. In other words, to deal with that which is wrong.
I’m going to come back to that, but let me just put it this way at this point, to deal with and to punish that which is biblically incorrect. Now, just hold that in your thinking for a moment, but then let’s go over to 1 Peter chapter two, where we find these words in verses 13 and 14, “Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether it to the king as supreme, or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him for the punishment of evildoers and then for the praise of them that do well.”
Dave’s going to talk about that. But one of the responsibilities of government before all mighty God is to punish the evildoers, to punish those who do wickedness. Now, I mentioned a moment ago, I think in the last segment, that every level of government, whether we are talking about self-government, family government, civil government, or church government, is directly responsible to God. In what area? Well, to lay out and to order and to execute as it were His justice.
You mentioned that phrase, the justice of God, what is the justice of God? Well, the justice of God is simply, and somebody gave this definition, that it is God’s fair and impartial treatment of all people. Isaiah chapter 13 verse 18 tells us that God is a God of justice. In this essence, justice is that which is right in the eyes of God. Therefore, government has the responsibility to be the instruments of God’s justice on Earth and government is to reflect the justice of God.
So, when it comes to the responsibility of government as it relates to the justice of God and the punishment of evildoers, number one, we need to … From the biblical perspective Sam, all those in government should be upholding biblical truth. We have a problem with that in our country today, don’t we, and in the whole world? But government is to uphold biblical truth. Then when biblical truth is violated by evildoers, then it’s got to be dealt with from the perspective of the government so as to reflect the justice of God in that punishment, to ultimately honor and glorify God.
So in reality, the purpose of government is to uphold the justice of God and to glorify Him in all things. Don’t you wish we would get to that in our country today?
Sam Rohrer: Gary, I do. And unless we get back to that, which right now we’re running so far away from it, Gary, that we are running into the judgment of God on this nation, because we are failing to do what He has told us was necessary for a blessing on a nation. Because that’s a whole discussion that our founders walked through. But Dave, let me go to you now because limited government we referred to is limited because are two primary functions, punish those who do evil and praise those who do well. That’s where I want to go to you next. Explain biblically what is meant and why God picked up praise those who do well.
Dave Kistler: Well, Sam, let me just quote a passage of scripture and then give an illustration. I think that will help us understand that second aspect. We live in a world that is so focused on people that are breaking the law that are doing bad, things that a lot of time, the first purpose of government, which is to punish evildoers, takes all the attention. We really give very little consideration to the fact that government instituted by God is supposed to praise those that do well, not just punish those that do evil. Hebrews 11:6 says this, that, “Those that come to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of them that diligently seek Him.” God is a rewarder on multiple levels.
Number one, he’s a rewarder of those who seek after Him, and He gives us salvation eternal salvation, which is the greatest gift God could give, but He rewards in a lot of other ways as well. Since He, as the author of all things and the ultimate authority, rewards as he delegates authority to lesser magistrates, they are to become rewarders of those that do good as well. Let me give you an example. Sam, I was reading the story earlier today, had no idea that this would come up on the program today, but something happened earlier this year in Chippewa Falls, Wisconsin. I’m very familiar with that area, I’ve ministered in that area.
But yesterday, a young man by the name of Alex Conrad was honored for something he did. He’s driving across the Chippewa Falls Bridge. He sees a man standing along the railing. He drives on by something inside of him says, “Wait a minute, that doesn’t look right.” So rather than just going on about his business, he stopped, he backs up. He realizes the man is standing there contemplating suicide. What Alex Conrad does as a young man, is prevent a suicide from taking place. Yesterday, the Chippewa Falls Police Department honored Alex Conrad for his actions and gave him an award called the Citizens Meritorious Award for his act of heroism. I want you to listen to what the police department said about Alex. They said, quote, “Conrad’s quick thinking, compassion and initiative saved a life of a person in crisis.” They went on and said this, and this is the point I want to stress. “It is an important honor because it’s a small way that we as police officers,” an authority, given authority by God, ” … can show how much we appreciate our community members who go above and beyond for their fellow citizens.” Sam that is a police department that understands, whether they understand the biblical underpinnings or not. They understand that part of their job is not just punish the evildoers, but praise those that do good.
Sam Rohrer: And ladies and gentlemen, just one quick application, all of you listening to me right now, are a son or a daughter, maybe you’re a father or your mother, you may be a grandfather or a grandmother. You all in positions of authority. Have not you all found, or we all been the recipients of knowing what it means when our authorities above us, our mom and our dad, praised us as children for doing well, not just chastised us when we wrong? Does not it encourage us to do well when we are praised? Does it not encourage our siblings to do well when they are praised? Any authority, including civil government, plays that role because God gives blessings to those who do well, so should good government authority, and also to chastise and discipline when there is a violation of the law. When we come back, we’re going to read from William Penn. I think you’ll be amazed at this.
Sam Rohrer: Well, before I go into the final segment where we look at the framework of government and I’m going to read a section from William Penn’s Frame of Government, I think you’ll be amazed at this. I want to say another comment in regard to the last segment, the purpose of government. When as a minister of God, Gary made that clear, everyone in a position of authority created by God, the individual, mom and dad, and civil, church, were all ministers of God. They are servants of God because we derive our authority and our position from God. Why do we then need to be concerned at whatever level about addressing those who do evil and praising those who do well? Well, here’s the reason.
We as individuals don’t have the right to come up with a definition of what is evil or what is right. We as servants accept the delegation of authority from the one who gave it to us, that’s God, our father in every position. When we do what He says, we reflect Him as his minister, which then causes Him to say to us, “Well done, good and faithful servant,” when we have done it. And He will also punish us if we do not do what He says, but if we do it well, what do we do? If we punish well, justice-wise, interpreted by God and we praise those who do well biblically and do what God says, we actually are engaging and leading in worship. We actually encourage those around us to look to the God of heaven, not us.
They look to ultimate truth, God, Himself, as the ultimate determiner. When we do that, and that’s why God says to do that, when that happens, then in fact, our founders knew, then you could be on your path to holy experiment, that God says in Deuteronomy 28 and other passages that he would then bless.
So back to William Penn, when William Penn coined his Holy Experiment in freedom, where the world wanted an example, he considered a critical aspect of this concept in a 1682 Frame of Government treatise. In part he said, and I’m going to read out directly from his Frame of Government words here, from where he was speaking, really reflecting the great minds of his time, both the pulpits and those who would come into positions of civil authority. Here’s what he said in one part. “This then settles the divine right of government beyond exception, and that for two ends, first to terrify evildoers, secondly, to cherish those who do well, which gives then government a life beyond corruption and makes it as durable in the world as good men shall be. So that government seems to me,” he said, ” … a part of religion itself, a filing sacred in its institution, an end. For if it does not directly remove the cause, being sin, it crushes the effects of evil, sin and is as such though a lower, yet an emanation of the same divine power.”
That’s the minister of God portion, I’m inserting that. “And God, divine power being both the author and the object of pure religion.” And then Penn goes on and he cites four points. Some of this you may recognize, he said this. “First, men side with their passions against their reason and their sinister interests have so strong a bias upon their minds, that they lean to them against the good of the things they know.”
Number two, he said, “Secondly, I do not find a model in the world that in time, place, and some singular emergencies have not necessarily altered, nor as it is easy to frame a civil government that shall serve all places alike.” Thirdly he said, “I know what is said by the several admirers of monarchy, and aristocracy, and democracy, which are the rule of a one, a few or many, and the three common ideas of government when men discourse on this subject. But I choose to solve the controversy with this small distinction and it belongs to all three.”
He says this, “Any government is free to the people under it, whatever the frame of government it may be, where the laws rule and the people are a party to those laws. And any more than this is tyranny, oligarchy or confusion.” He said, “But then lastly, when all is said, there is hardly one frame of government in the world so ill-designed by its founders that in good hands would not be well enough. And history tells us the best in ill frames of government can do nothing that is great or good, witness the Jewish and the Roman states.” He said, “Governments like clocks, go from the motion men give them and as governments are made and moved by men, so they are ruined by them, too. Wherefore governments rather depend upon men than men upon governments. Let men be good and the government cannot be bad. If they be ill, they will cure it. But if men be bad, let the government be ever so good and they will endeavor to warp and spoil it in their turn.”
He finishes by saying, “I know some say, ‘Well, let us have good laws and then no matter the man who execute them,’ but let them consider,” he said, ” … that the good laws do well, good men do better. For good laws may lack good men and may be abolished or invaded by ill men. But good men will never lack good laws nor suffer ill ones. It is true,” he said, ” … good laws have some awe upon ill ministers, but that is where they have no power to escape or abolish them. And the people are generally wise and good, but a loose and depraved people, which is the question.”
This is what Penn’s saying. “Depraved people love laws and an administration like themselves. That therefore, which makes a good constitution, must keep it. That is men of wisdom and virtue, qualities that because they descend not with worldly inheritance, must be carefully propagated by a virtuous education of the youth.”
Wow, wouldn’t that make a difference, ladies and gentlemen, if that were viewed by people today? And with that, I think Gary, I want to go to you for just a final thought from you. The phrase here, talks about government, is connected directly to religion. What are your thoughts on that in this day when people want to tell us that what we have never came from God and it just happened?
Gary Dull: Well, certainly everything that we have does come from God. As we emphasized in the first segment, it’s God who ordained government and the church. Biblical truth is to uphold biblical truth and of course, is to bring that biblical truth in all levels of governance. But you know, William Penn made a statement there, Sam, that is interesting that I just want to throw out as we draw this program to an end. He said there, in that fourth statement, “Let men be good and government cannot be bad.”
One of the problems that we have in government today, no matter what era you’re talking about, self-government, family government, civil government, even church government, is many times those who are responsible for leading those areas of government are not living according to biblical truth. As we brought out before, a government is to reflect the justice of God.
So I think it’s up to the church, it’s up to those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ to number one, pray that God will place into government those people who respect God and His word. Then we need to do everything that we can, pastors over the pulpits, those who are in the pew, to stand up for a biblical truth, to push back that which is evil and to promote that which is good, so as to reflect God in every aspect of society.
Government is of God. If government is going to truly reflect God, it’s up to those of us who know the Lord Jesus Christ to see as the pillars in the ground of truth, that we speak truth to government so that government might know how to act in reference to God’s truth.
Sam Rohrer: Ladies and gentlemen, this verse, we didn’t even mention it yet but, “When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice.” Why? Because they do exactly what God says. And when the evil bear rule, men talked about it, the people mourn. What’s our problem in America today? Well, we have people who have no respect for God. What we do need are people who do uphold God’s plan and pursue it His way.
Thank you for being with us today, ladies and gentlemen. We’ll see you back here tomorrow, the Lord willing, right here on Stand in the Gap Today.