A. God, the supreme Lord and King of the world, has instituted civil authorities to submit to him and govern the people : Psalm 82: 1; Lk. 12:48; Ro. 13: 1-6; 1 Peter 2: 13.14.
B. To the glory of God and the public good: Gn. 6: 11-13 with 9: 5,6; Psalm 58: 1,2; 72:14; 82: 1-4; Pr 21:15.; 24: 11.12; 29: 14.26; 31: 5; Ez. 7:23; 45: 9; Dn. 4:27; Mt. 22:21; Ro. 13: 3.4; 1 Tim. 2: 2; 1 Peter 2:14.
C. And to this end, has provided them with the power of the sword, for the defense and encouragement of those who do good, and for the punishment of evildoers: Gn. 9: 6; Pr 16:14.; 19:12; 20: 2; 21:15;28:17; Acts. 25:11; Ro. 13: 4; 1 Peter 2:14.
A. It is lawful for Christians to accept positions within the civil authority when they are called to fill them :Ex. 22: 8, 9, 28,29; Daniel; Nehemiah; Pr 14:35.; 16: 10.12; 20: 26.28; 25: 2; 28: 15,16; 29: 4.14;31: 4,5; Ro. 13: 2, 4.6.
B. in the performance of such charges must especially maintain justice and peace, as good laws of each kingdom and state; and so, now for this purpose, under the New Testament, they can lawfully war on just and necessary occasions: Lc. 3:14; Ro. 13: 4.
A. Having been instituted by God civilian authorities with the aforementioned purposes, they should be held subject: Pr. 16: 14.15; 19:12; 20: 2; 24:21, 22; 25:15; 28: 2; Ro. 13: 1-7; Tit. 3: 1; 1 Peter 2: 13.14.
B. in the Lord in all things lawful: Dn. 1: 8; 3: 4-6,16-18; 6: 5 to 10.22; Mt. 22:21; Acts. 4: 19,20; 5:29.
C. to send, not only because of wrath but also for conscience; and we should offer supplications and prayers for kings and all who are in authority, that under his government live a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty: Jer. 29: 7; 1 Tim. 2: 1-4.
In Latin America there is talk and much written about the separation of church and state. Originally, this idea drew attention to two different institutions, both created by God, ordained by God, they must give an account to God, or that they were "under" God's orders. Each institution had to develop different tasks and none should usurp the sphere of authority of the other.
The task of the church is to preach the gospel, administer the sacraments, protect the souls of its members, etc. These tasks do not correspond to the state. The responsibility of the state is ordering society, collect taxes, regulate trade and society, maintaining the armed forces, protect life and property, etc. These are not part of the tasks of the church.
The state is given the power of the sword; the church, no. The apostle Paul tells us: Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities; because there is no authority except from God, and there, by God they have been established. So who opposes the authority, established by God resists; and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers they are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Would you have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and thou shalt have praise from it; because it is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword for he is God's minister, an avenger to punish the wrongdoer (Romans 13: 1-4).
According to the view of Paul, the civil government has been authorized by God. When a civil governor is vested with power, in a sense, it "orders" as a minister of God.
His government is not independent of God. Westminster ministers wrote: God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates to that under his aegis, are above the people, for his own glory, and for the public good; to this end, he has armed with the power of the sword for the defense and encouragement of those who do good, and for the punishment of those who do evil. Civil magistrates may not assume to himself the administration of the Word and the sacraments; or the power of the keys of the kingdom or heaven; even interfere on issues of faith .
Nowadays, the concept of separation of church and state has been widely reinterpreted (and misinterpreted) to mean the separation of state and God. Increasingly, the government seeks to avoid being "under" God. Try a power and an autonomous authority. When the church yells "missing", he criticized the church for meddling in the affairs of state. The church, however, is not trying to usurp the functions of the state.
The church, offering his prophetic criticism, is calling the state to be the state as God commanded and governs.
There is a sense in which the gospel is no political blush. He declares that Jesus is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. Jesus occupies the seat of ultimate authority. All lower judges are accountable to Him on how they have exercised their government.
The civil magistrate has the power of the sword. The state is authorized to use force to ensure justice and protect its borders. Governments do not govern by requests or suggestions. Governed by the law, enforced by coercive legal means. While governments with the power of the sword have the authority to exercise the death penalty and engage in just wars, will be responsible before God for their use of the sword.
The Bible encourages Christians to be models of civil obedience wherever possible. We honor Christ by praying for those in authority over us and being submissive and obedient to their laws.
We must do everything possible to fulfill our civil obedience. We must obey the magistrates long as we do not order something that God forbids, or forbid us to do something that God commands. In these two cases we can not only disobey the authorities, but we disobey.
1. The church and state are two different institutions, ordained by God and accountable to Him for their respective tasks.
2. The civil authority was ordained by God and has the power of the sword.
3. No government is autonomous. No government can be independent of God.
4. When governments seek to be autonomous, the duty of the church is criticizing them .
5. Obedience to the authority of government is a sacred duty for all Christians. Civil law must be scrupulously fulfilled provided it is not contrary to the Word of God.
BIBLICAL PASSAGES FOR REFLECTION
2 Chronicles 26: 16-20, Psalm 2: 10-12, Romans 13: 1-7, l Timothy 2: 1-4, 1 Peter 2: 13-17.