Biblical Intentions for Government

I wonder what it must it have been like in the days of Noah. According to Genesis 6:5-8 the world was evil – everywhere. So, as you know God sent the flood to destroy the corruption and save the righteous. Then, He gave a decree in Genesis 9:5-6 (ESV):

And for your lifeblood I will require a reckoning: from every beast I will require it and from man. From his fellow man I will require a reckoning for the life of man.

“Whoever sheds the blood of man,
    by man shall his blood be shed,
for God made man in his own image.


Some crimes require the death of the criminal. Paul even acknowledges this in Acts 25:11. It has become the responsibility of government to protect its people. This is the reason we have a military. Government is to protect the innocent and punish the evildoer. Isn’t that what Paul tells us in Romans 13:3-4 (ESV)?

For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.


Did you notice the job of government is to bear the sword to punish evildoers? Government is not to determine good and evil, that has already been done by God. It is to protect good and punish evil. In order to do that properly, government officials must know and be good. They must do right, not wrong. That includes upholding their oaths of office.


So, in light of this, what is the role of the citizens, especially American citizens toward our government? In America, ‘We the People’ were supposed to be the government. We were to govern as a republic through our elected representatives. We use the democratic process to elect our officials, but we are not a pure democracy, we are a republic with law and representation.


It is the DUTY of the people to set government right when it goes off-course. Notice the words of the Declaration of Independence, our birth certificate

That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness.


The altering of government can be through electing new representatives when the current ones fail to represent the people, provided that the elections are fair and honest. It may be, as the Declaration declares that we abolish government and start over if it becomes too corrupt.


We noted that after the flood God required the death of murderers. That is not the only crime punishable by death. Treason is as well. Noah Webster described treason in his 1828 Dictionary as:

TREASON is the highest crime of a civil nature of which a man can be guilty. . . In general, it is the offense of attempting to overthrow the government of the state to which the offender owes allegiance, or of betraying the state into the hands of a foreign power. . . . In the United States, treason is confined to the actual levying of war against the United States, or in adhering to their enemies, giving them aid and comfort.


The Bible records treasonous activities. These include Korah against Moses; Rahab; Jeroboam against Rehoboam; and the treason uncovered by Mordecai. Treason is serious, so serious that Article III, Section 3, and Paragraph 3 of the U.S. Constitution states:

No person shall be convicted of treason, unless on the testimony of two witnesses to the same overt act, or on confession in open court.

Isn’t it interesting that the Constitution demands TWO witnesses just as in Deuteronomy 17:6? I wonder where they got that idea.


I think there are some takeaways form these documents. First, we need to be reminded of the DUTY of ‘We the People’ to hold our elected officials accountable. There is no place for carelessness in this regard. Their job is to represent the people, not the interests of companies, foreign nations, or their own pockets. Second, when necessary remove incompetent officials. Our elections are the greatest means of accountability, again, provided they are free and fair; and provided that people will vote. Third, it seems that some, maybe many, maybe most of our elected leaders are bordering on or have committed treason. We have heard reports that elected officials have been selling out the nation, their state, their community, their school board, etc. for money or favors. Where is the accountability? By the rule of law, ‘We the People’ must hold elected leaders accountable.


The privileges we enjoy in the American republic come with responsibility. Government has the responsibility to be good, to do good, and to protect its citizens from evil. ‘We the People’ have the responsibility of holding our government accountable for its duty. Let’s do our duty so government will as well.


Before we close I want to encourage you to be sure to listen this Sunday, December 5 to my interview with Pastor Dan Fisher. He will discuss Romans 13 and the misunderstanding of unlimited submission to government. I know you won’t want to miss it.


Keep The Light of Accountability Burning!