Romans 13:1: God and the Government
There are two extremes we need to avoid as we investigate the biblical teaching on our relationship to the government. We can call these overrealised and underrealised views of the kingdom. The overrealised view of the kingdom totally confuses the governments of this world with the rule of Christ. That rule which will one day rule over the new creation is attempted to be installed now. This results in conflating the work of the church and the state. This spiritualises the work of political activism as kingdom activity. It tends to be a liberal tendency and attaches to liberation theology, and the social gospel. Historically the Roman Catholic Church which viewed the Pope having power over the kings of the earth is a case of an overrealised view of the kingdom. On the extreme, we have underrealised views of the kingdom. There are those that view the whole notion of government as a necessary evil that has come about after the fall. Traditionally Anabaptists have had an antithetical relationship with government. Separatism that seeks to isolate itself from the influences of government as if they are somehow dirty do not recognise the fact that God has made the institution of government.
We have already laid the foundation that Christians can submit to the government without compromising the rule of Christ, and that they can have a relationship with the church that does not demand that the state become an arm of the church. Today as we continue looking at Romans 13:1 we want to establish that God has created government as a good thing, and will look at this sphere of authority along with the others appointed by God.