During the governments of Rome, the emperor, Caesar, had a saying: “neither is there salvation in any other name than Caesar”. The apostle Paul deliberately challenged this statement and boldly corrected Caesar, telling the Roman government that they, too, were under Jesus Christ. Acts 4:10,12: “Be it known unto you all, and to all the people of Israel, that by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom ye crucified, whom God raised from the dead, even by him doth this man stand here before you whole...Neither is there salvation in any other: for there is none other name under heaven given among men, whereby we must be saved.”
Leviticus chapters 17-20 makes it abundantly clear that God holds governments responsible for enforcing His laws. Leviticus 18:24-28 warns: “Defile not ye yourselves in any of these things: for in all these the nations are defiled which I cast out before you: And the land is defiled: therefore I do visit the iniquity thereof upon it, and the land itself vomiteth out her inhabitants. Ye shall therefore keep my statutes and my judgments, and shall not commit any of these abominations: neither any of your own nation, nor any stranger that sojourneth among you: (For all these abominations have the men of the land done, which were before you, and the land is defiled:) That the land spue not you out also, when ye defile it, as it spued out the nations that were before you.”
In these chapters of Leviticus God warns civil government to enforce His laws concerning food, swearing, stealing, lying, profaning His name, fraud, prostitution, incest, adultery, fornication, abortion, homosexuality, beastiality, psychics, wizards, murder, etc. Both in the Old and the New Testaments God’s warnings are clear that He holds human governments responsible for teaching and enforcing His commandments. Refer to Romans 1:18-32, etc.
Genesis 15:13-16 reads: “Then the Lord said to him (Abraham), Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a country not their own, and they will be enslaved and mistreated four hundred years, But I will punish the nation they serve as slaves, and afterwards they will come out with great possessions. You, however, will go to your fathers in peace and be buried at a good old age. In the fourth generation your descendants will come back here, for the sin of the Amorites has not yet reached its full measure.”
NOTE: God holds all nations responsible for following His laws. When the governments continue to fail to enforce God’s statutes, which strengthen the stability of the nation, those governments and nations self-destruct, whether it is the Israelites, the Amorites, the Canaanites, the Babylonians, the Romans, or the Americans.
Deuteronomy 9:3-5 tells us: “But be assured today that the Lord your God is the one who goes across ahead of you like a devouring fire. He will destroy them; he will subdue them before you. And you will drive them out and annihilate them quickly...After the Lord your God has driven them out before you, do not say to yourself, ‘The Lord has brought me here to take possession of this land because of my righteousness. ‘No, it is on account of the wickedness of these nations that the Lord is going to drive them out before you. It is not because of your righteousness or your integrity that you are going to take possession of their land; but on account of the wickedness of these nations...” Here the government of the Canaanites is overthrown because they would not teach and enforce the laws of God!
Understand that God uses civil government as one means by which He rules His creation!
Following the conquest of Canaan, Joshua led the children of Israel into a covenant with God. Joshua 24:20-25: “If ye forsake the Lord, and serve strange gods, then he will turn and do you hurt, and consume you, after that he hath done you good. And the people said unto Joshua, Nay; but we will serve the Lord, And Joshua said unto the people, Ye are witnesses against yourselves that ye have chosen you the Lord, to serve him. And they said, We are witnesses. Now therefore put away, said he, the strange gods which are among you, and incline your heart unto the Lord God of Israel. And the people said unto Joshua, The Lord our God will we serve, and his voice will we obey. So Joshua made a covenant with the people that day, and set them a statute and an ordinance in Shechem.”
Another encouraging example to show us all that it is never too late to establish and reaffirm a national covenant with God is II Kings 22:11 - 23:3. When King Josiah had heard the words of the book of the law of God, he immediately repented and led his nation into repentance, and God’s wrath was temporarily turned back as the nation was led by a godly king who enforced the commandments of God. When the godly king died and the nation forsook enforcing the laws of God, the nation suffered again (as America is doing today) until the nation was overthrown.
Psalms 67:4: “O let the nations be glad and sing for joy; for thou shalt judge the people righteously, and govern the nations upon the earth, Selah.” Again, God holds all nations accountable, without exception, to His standards of values and enforcing His statutes.
Jeremiah 18:7-10 warns: “At what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to pluck up, and to pull down, and to destroy it; If that nation, against whom I have pronounced, turn from their evil, I will repent of the evil that I thought to do unto them. And at what instant I shall speak concerning a nation, and concerning a kingdom, to build to plant it; If it do evil in my sight, that it obey not my voice, then I will repent of the good, wherewith I said I would benefit them.”
Jonah chapter 3 is a great example how a leader can lead his nation into repentance so God, who is holding all nations accountable to His laws, can avoid the wrath and judgment of God for idolatry!
What is the church’s responsibility in society? What is the Christian’s responsibility?
Dennis Woods states: “If the foundation of civil government is laid by God, it follows, therefore, that the “right of revolution”—the right to overthrow an existing government—rests in God, not in man. Thus, the only legal revolution is one in which duly ordained “lesser magistrates” lead the people against a tyrannical “higher magistrate” with the blessing of the clergy. Government that rejects its biblical purpose of restraining evil and administering justice becomes itself a violator of God’s law. As such, it forfeits its biblical authority to function as a minister of God in this capacity. This does not, however, provide citizens a carte-blanche excuse to flagrantly disobey government or enter into anarchical revolutionary coups. Historically, such attempts almost invariably lead to dictatorship. Witness the rise of Napoleon following the lawless and bloody French Revolution. Instead, the attitude of the people should be one of longsuffering under oppression, preparation for hardship, and prayer that God would raise up a deliverer. There should be a spirit of acquiescence to God’s rod of discipline. Such a spirit is fostered with the recognition that in Scripture God raised up foreign invaders to discipline His people for disobedience. Rather than chafing under God’s discipline, our first response should be one of repentance and a return to His law.” (Discipling the Nations, pg. 136)