Magistrates, like everyone else, have the responsibility of
subjecting themselves to the "higher powers." Since God is the
Author of all authority and the sole Lawgiver (James 4:12) every
soul is responsible to acknowledge His authority by rendering
cheerful obedience. "Let every soul be subject to the higher
powers." This is the will of God. It was just such willing
subjection to Godís authority that made paradise Of Eden, and that
makes paradise in Heaven.
Since "there is no power, or authority, but of God," and "the
powers that be are ordained of God" every soul is obligated to
subject himself to Godís government so long as he is a part of Godís
creation. All breathe the air He has provided and all live because
of His gift of life that flows through their veins.
Since God is the Author of authority, all who resist God-
appointed authority fight with God, "and they that resist shall
receive to themselves damnation." "They that do such things (i.e.
cause sedition) shall not inherit the kingdoms of God." (See:
It was the good pleasure of God to identify the kind of authority
He has appointed: "For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to
the evil." Tyrants therefore have no legitimate authority. Their
rule is a mockery of the kindly rule of God. Calvin states
"...Dictatorships and unjust authorities are not ordained
governments."1 "They are not to rule on their own account, but for
the public good. Nor do they have unbridled power, but power that is
restricted to the welfare of their Subjects. In short, they are
responsible to God and to men in the exercise of their rule."2 God
may chastise nations by raising up tyrants to rule over them as in
the time of Israelís judges, but when His people humble themselves,
and pray, and seek His face, and turn from their wicked ways, He
will hear from Heaven, He will forgive their sins, and He will heal
God-ordained rulers are a terror to evil-doers, and are a glory
to the good. For this reason Godly people revere their authority,
and yield lawful obedience, but is it lawful to yield obedience to
lawless rulers, and to obey those laws that disregard the mandates
of Heaven? Since there is but one Lawgiver, it is not possible for
lawful legislation to contradict the Law of God. Is it in accordance
with the Law of God, and consistent with His will for us to obey the
laws of men when they are contrary to the Law of God? Peter
addressed this issue twice in the book of Acts. In Acts 4:19, he and
John curtly said, "Whether it be right in the sight of God to
hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye." And again in chapter
5, verse 29, Peter and the other apostles answered and said, "We
ought to obey God rather than men."
Under our form of government, taxes are paid on a voluntary
basis. Therefore if we know that when our tax money should be used
for the public good, government-funded bureaucrats will use it to
finance the murder of children, what kind of monsters are we if we
comply? Such people as they are have made a covenant with death, and
are in league with Hell, (Isaiah 28:15) How long can true saints
flaunt the Law of God? Will we not cry out in guilt with Lady
Macbeth, "Out, out damn spot!" What betrayal of the next generation!
What kind of Christians can we be? And, what betrayers of the public
trust are they who hunt for the precious life of the innocent to
take it away!
Was it the intention of the constitutional convention to
establish a socialistic state in which people are encouraged not to
work, but rather to have tax advantages if they live together out of
wedlock? Was it their design to promote and finance such programs
that aim to instill sodomy in our society? If we continue to close
our eyes to such naked wickedness, it will be a pity our children
have had such parents!
A Christian is a friend to civil government: not its enemy.
Am I a good American and a man of God if I finance those winds
which must of necessity bring Godís wrath like a whirlwind upon my
country? Calvin states that every man has a duty to render obedience
to civil authorities provided Godís Law is not violated, for all
legitimate law is subordinate to the Law of God. God retains our
supreme allegiance. When civil authorities usurp the rights of God,
they are to be denied.3
Chrysostom declared that when civil authorities take what
properly belongs to God, namely the definition of Right and Wrong,
by commanding what is sinful --to pay such tribute is not being
obedient to "Caesar", but is doing the work of the Devil.4
"If Caesar should intrude into the things of God, coin a new
creed or broach a new Gospel, and affect to rule the conscience
while he rules the state, in these things Caesar is not to be
obeyed; he is taking the things of God, and he must not get them.
Give not, therefore, Godís things to Caesar." So wrote Adam Clarke.5
Matthew Henry states, "If Caesarís commands interfere with Godís,
we must obey God rather than men."6
In his commentary on the New Testament, John Trapp declares we
are to be obedient "in things lawful only." He then quotes Polycarp,
a disciple of the Apostle John, who, when he was commanded to
blaspheme Christ and to swear by the fortune of Caesar, refused
saying "We are taught to give honor to princes and potentates, but
such honor as is not contrary to Godís religion." 7 Is it contrary
to the religion of God to finance murder? And is not sodomy a
perversion of the right order of God? Do not the devils in Hell
laugh at the pretended piety of Christians who can be made to
finance the works they have planned in Hell?
"We ought to obey God rather than man." (Acts 5:29) Matthew Henry
shows this is a maxim universally recognized, and points out in Acts
4:19 that it is a rule in the common law of England that if any
statute be contrary to the Law of God it is null and void. "Nothing
can be more absurd than to hearken unto...men...more than unto
God... Can you think it right in the sight of God to break a Divine
command in obedience to human injunction? That is right indeed that
is right in the sight of God...."9
"Better obey God with whom we must ever live, than men with whom
we have but a while to continue", said Antigona in Sophocles. 10
"Should we not obey the commands of princes?" asked Euripides.
"No" he answered, "if they command evil things." 11 Such is a
personal, and not an authoritative command."
"I love and embrace you, Athenians," said Socrates, "but yet I
will obey God rather than you."12
Three times in Romans 13:4-6, civil authorities are said to be
the ministers of God. In verse 4, they are said to be the ministers
of God to society for its good. Is it a good thing that the highest
court in our land has made public education a godless institution.
Is this the reason the Pilgrims, and Baptists, the Lutherans the
Presbyterians, etc. came to these shores? Are the judges in our land
acting in subjection to the "higher powers" when they persecute the
victims of crime sold release stark offenders who will prey upon
society? Are civil authorities serving as the ministers of God who
encourage open forums to sodomites but who shut the mouths of school
teachers and their pupils who would pray publicly and uncensored?
Is it for the good of society to murder unwanted children? --
what about the unwanted elderly? and the unwanted dissenters? Will
not such "antiseptic eliminations" invoke the judgment of Him in
whom all authority is vested both in Heaven and on earth?
In the same verse, civil authorities are said to be the ministers
of God who serve as Godís representatives to revenge evil by
executing wrath upon evildoers. As the ministers of God they bear
not the sword in vain. Therefore the people of God must be subject,
not only for fear, but also for sake of conscience.
"For this cause pay ye tribute" because they are Godís ministers
attending continually upon this very thing. What "very thing"? the
good of society. This involves revenge upon evildoers. The good of
society is the reason God has delegated authority to magistrates.
When, therefore, any magistrate refuses to subject himself to the
authority of God, and to act in accordance with His Law, he has
himself become lawless, and has forfeited the authority God gave
him. At such times, we had better obey God rather than man. We are
commanded to give to all their dues, but we are not authorized to
give unjust exactions.
Since there is no authority but what is given by God, everyone
who sets his mandates above the mandates of Heaven is full of hot
air, and must not be obeyed.
Brethren pray, lest the fear of man ensnare our souls. "And I say
unto you, My friends," said Jesus, "Be not afraid of them that kill
the body and after that have no more that they can do.í But I will
forewarn you whom ye shall fear: ĎFear Him; which after He hath
killed hath power to cast into Hell:í I say unto you, "Fear Him!"
1 Calvin, John. The Epistles of Paul The Apostle
To The Romans And To The Thessalonians. Translated
by Ross Mackenzie, edited by David and Thomas Torrance. Copyright
1960 by Oliver and Boyd, London. p. 281.
2 Ibid. p. 282.
3 Calvin, John. Calvinís Commentaries. A Harmony Of The
Gospels. Vol. III. Translated by A, W. Morrison, edited by David
and Thomas Torrance. Copyright 1972 by St. Andrews Press, Edinburgh.
4 Trapp, John, A Commentary Or Exposition Upon All The
Books Of The New Testament. Second edition. Copyright
1656 by R. W., London. p. 280.
5 Clarke, Adam. The New Testament Of Our Lord And Saviour,
Jesus Christ. Vol. I. Copyright 1856 by Carlton and Philips, New
York. p. 213.
6 Henry. Matthew. Matthew Henryís Commentary On The Whole
Bible. Vol. V. Fleming Revell, New York. p. 320.
7 Trapp, p. 648.
8 Henry, Vol. VI. p. 64.
9 Ibid., p. 46.
1O Trapp, p. 535.
12 Ibid., p. 538.
It should come as no great shock that a generation that savors
processed foods and processed culture should also savor processed
Cheap culture is the cause of many "mental" or philosophical
disorders within our society. Cheap or hasty affections are the
cause of most of our social disorders. It should come as no great
shock that a generation like ours, that has been raised on instant
mashed potatoes and whipped oleo, that finds beauty in artificial
flowers and wax fruit should also relish cheap religion --one that
causes them no serious reflections, and makes no demands on them. A
society that exists in the "fast lane", that lives on fast foods, fast music, and hasty
family relationships finds a "quickie" religion their speed!
The literature, the music and the art of this century is almost
totally void of masterpieces. Gold gives the deathblow to culture,
and everything today is made to sell. Popularity is the measure of
success. The same is true in the realm of religion. But what else is
to be expected from a society that finds blobs and globs evidence of
genius, and that pays $6.95 for a ten cent novel.
Instead of crying out to God until He sends revival to our land,
it is much easier for our plastic generation to manufacture their
own by setting up their shingle. Instead of seeking after the power
of God, most people use the instant method of using crowd psychology
in an altar call. Instead of seeking the humility that God sheds His
grace upon, and which is the result of convicting Bible preaching,
most people prefer to be entertained with the rhinestone image.
CALVIN ON ABORTION
The fetus carried in the motherís womb is already a man; and it
is quite unnatural that a life be destroyed of one who has not yet
seen its enjoyment.
For, it seems more unworthy that a man be killed in his home
rather than in his field because for each man his home is his safest
How much more abominable ought it to be considered to kill a
fetus in the womb who has not been brought into the light?
(Quoted from "Calvary Visitor", published by
Calvary Bible Church, 3180 West Elm Street, Lima, Ohio, Frank
Zechariah 4:10ó"Who hath despised the day of small things?"
It is the error of worldly-minded people to measure the
importance of things by their size.