If there is any one matter of a political
nature with which the Bible emphatically deals, it is the sin of
destroying, or attempting to destroy, good order in the land. In
the emphatic teachings of the week preceding his crucifixion our
Lord bade his disciples, “Render therefore unto Cæsar the things
which are Cæsar’s.”
By the hand of Paul, the Holy Ghost
wrote: “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there
is no power but of God; the powers that be are ordained of God.
Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance
of God.” Romans 13:1.
The same truth is presented in Titus
3:1, “Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers.”
And Peter echoes it in these words: “Fear God. Honor the king.”
A wide distinction must here be drawn
between two entirely different things; one, the effort to substitute
a new government in place of the old; the other, an attempt to destroy
government and substitute confusion in its place. For the one there
may be reason; for the other, none. The one has often been commanded
by God, as when he required Moses to lead Israel out of Egypt; the
One reason for this requirement of
obedience to the civil ruler would seem to lie in the fact that
the civil government is God’s representative. The king, or head
of the government, is the “minister of God to thee for good” and
“the minister of God to execute wrath.” Anarchy or sedition, therefore,
is more than resistance to a human organization; it is of the nature
of resistance to God.
Another reason would seem to lie in
the fact that good order on earth is necessary to the salvation
of souls and the work of the Church on earth. This is intimated
in 1 Timothy 2:2. Paul calls “for prayer for kings, and all that
are in authority,” and this for one special end, “that we may lead
a quiet and peaceable life,” and this with the further aim that
God “will have all men to be saved.” Disorder in the world distracts
attention from the Gospel and keeps men from thinking about their
souls. It dissipates the money which might be used in sustaining
the Gospel and sending forth heralds of the truth; often it closes
the sanctuaries and sometimes it burns them. Anarchy is an agency
for the obstruction of repentance and the perdition of souls.
In these two aspects there is reason
enough for the emphasis which God uses in his condemnation of anarchy.