I urge … requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority. 1 Timothy 2:1-2
In the 1920s world attention was focused on the conviction and execution of Nicola Sacco and Bartolomeo Vanzetti for the payroll theft and murder of a guard in Braintree, Massachusetts. Because they were anarchists, some thought they were being victimized because of politics. However, recent laboratory tests give evidence that the men had indeed committed these crimes.
Anarchism is a dangerous philosophy. It holds that all forms of government unjustly infringe the rights and freedoms of the individual. It represents the ultimate in individualism. It turns liberty into license. At its worst it leads to acts of terrorism. Personal liberty is one thing and must be defended against tyranny. License is something else. It is like a river leaving its banks and becoming a rampaging flood.
Government at local, state, and federal levels enables citizens, in the words of Saint Paul, to “live peaceful and quiet lives.” For this reason he urges “that requests, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone – for kings and all those in authority.” The government is there to protect the people, not only against foreign enemies but also against homegrown criminals. And private citizens are a force for good when, on the basis of righteous laws, they assist the governing authorities to maintain peace and decency in the land.
Jesus said: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s” in other words, give to the government what it has the right to ask: loyalty, obedience, payment of taxes. Then Jesus added: “and [give] to God what is God’s” (Matthew 22:21). God asks of us a higher love – a love that exceeds the love we owe our fellow human beings. This love is our response to His great love that granted us a Savior from sin in the person of His Son, Jesus Christ. This love, once for all, shuts the door to anarchism and opens the door to a God-pleasing life here and now, and in the world to come.
PRAYER: Thank You, Lord God, for giving us responsible government so that we may have peace and order in the land. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)