“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. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed and those who resist will incur judgement.” Romans 13:1-2
This is a hard teaching, and one many people seem to disagree with during this time of political transition. However, it is the plain words of Scripture–God is the one who is in charge of everything, even governments, even elections. Does this mean politicians are always choosing wisely and following God’s will? Of course not. However, even things that seem very bad to us may be used for good in God’s plan (read the story of Joseph in Genesis for an example of this).
How does this fit in with our free will? Well, I’ve been studying that. It’s also a thorny question that is hard to wrap our human minds around. I would recommend a book by Randy Alcorn called hand in Hand. It explains that while we can choose to violate God’s moral will(God’s laws), and we do this often by sinning, we can never violate his decretive will, the things that God has promised and decreed will come to pass. How does this all work out? It’s a mystery, we must leave it in God’s hand.
And are the bad things that happen really for our good? Well Alcorn says that things that seem to us to be for our immediate good, are not always for our ultimate good. How do we tell the difference? I don’t think we can, we have to trust God. It’s one of those things Lutherans are content to admit we cannot completely understand or reconcile in our human way of thinking.
This was the verse for my devotional reading today:
“Some trust in chariots and some in horses, but we trust in the name of the Lord our God.” Psalm 20:17
If we trust in God, we don’t have to fear earthly governments and powers or try to take events into our own hands. Our free will can never thwart God’s will for us and for the world. Of course, the Bible also tells us there is a time to “obey God, not men”(Acts 5:29) but I will take that up in my next post!