Going into this year’s elections, depending on who you listened to, our nation was about
to be destroyed; it would never be the same. The problem is – no matter who you heard, the result
was exact – if the other side wins – America collapses.
Pause for a moment, look out the window; notice that the sun is in the sky; if it happens
to be nighttime where you are, you will see stars. The fact that the sun came up, and stars still
shine tells us that God is still in control.
All authority comes from God, Romans 13:1, “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.”
The President of the United States and the sixteen-year-old shift leader at the local fast-
food restaurant receive their power and authority from the same person – God. Parents, teachers,
bosses at work, the two fifth-grade captains picking teams during PE, all of them and more,
receive their authority from God.
The next verse in the passage, Romans 13:2, tells us resisting the powers that God
ordained is the same as resisting God.
However, a lack of resistance and total obedience is not the same. In Acts chapter five,
we read of the Apostles’ arrest for performing miracles and preaching the gospel. That night, God
sends an angel who opens the prison doors and tells the Apostles, “Go, stand and speak in the
temple to the people all the words of this life” (Acts 5:20).
First thing in the morning, the Apostles go straight to the temple and start preaching Jesus
Christ. Once discovered, the powers that be order the Apostles in for questioning. When confronted by the High Priest about the mandate given them not to teach in Jesus’ name, the Apostles respond by saying, “We ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29).
Now, let us mosey back to Romans 13.
God makes it clear that He has placed leaders in charge to praise good and punish evil.
Romans 13:3-4, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be
afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the
minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not
the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth
Therefore, leaders must understand where their authority comes from and the difference
between good and evil to perform their duties correctly.
Both those in authority and those subject to that authority have the number one
responsibility to God. Excellent leaders have humility, an awareness of God, and a decision-
making process that includes knowing the difference between right and wrong. When it comes to
the citizenry, our responsibility is to God first while paying our leaders the utmost respect.
Jesus, who is God, treated Pilate with respect while Pilate was exercising his God-given
authority as the judge at Jesus’ trial. Jesus even acknowledges to Pilate that Pilate’s power over
Him came from God (John 19:11).
In summary, being the best leader and being the best follower takes an understanding that
God is in control and humility. This mindset enables everyone to act in a respectful way toward
God and each other.
Where does that leave us moving forward?
America is not a very humble place. When confronted with something we have done
wrong, instead of contrition, excuses abound. We believe circumstances permit wrong behavior,
or we do not believe what we have done is wrong. Remember from earlier, those in leadership
must have an understanding of good and evil. That is difficult to accomplish when everyone,
leaders, and followers alike, do not recognize wrong or explain it away.
Understanding that God is in control is challenging in a nation that has tried to keep God,
the Bible, and prayer out of our court system and classrooms for sixty years. Many churches treat
prayer like an Aladdin’s lamp with infinite wishes. The commandments of God are considered
intolerant or acted upon as if they were suggestions.
One thought that might be too dreadful to consider – what if both sides were right? Could
both be right that America is on the road to destruction? But what if both are wrong about the
reason? What if America’s ruin is not by the political party in power, but because we have
ignored God’s ultimate authority?
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With houses of worship currently closed or restricted across much of the nation, the editors of the Baltimore Post-Examiner are inviting an array of spiritual teachers to share insights from the ages along with words of comfort and encouragement. These timely messages are not exclusive to any particular faith walk and will be included in our ongoing Spirituality series.
Preacher Tim Johnson is Pastor of Countryside Baptist Church in Parke County, Indiana. His weekly column “Preacher’s Point” may be found at: www.preacherspoint.wordpress.com