When the Apostle Paul wrote to the Roman believers, he instructed them—and us today—in chapter 13 that we are to be in submission to (or subject to) the governing authorities. He continues that “all authority is from God” and “those that exist have been instituted by God” (v. 1). This is certainly difficult to reconcile when those rulers are tyrants – as the Christians in Rome where then subjected to, and as many in the family of Believers endure today around the world.
Paul then explains the purpose for which rulers are established. That is, as “God’s servant for your good” (Rom. 13:4). In other words, political leaders are called to act in service to God—who has all authority—for the good of the people over whom they are placed.
That begs the question: What happens when rulers stop doing good and instead permit or even promote evil?
This is the dilemma many people around the world are confronted with and the same one America’s Founding Fathers had to address. They knew that King George III was not promoting the welfare—or the good—of the people living in the American colonies. In fact, he was ignoring the colonists’ grievances and outright attacking their leaders.
With all options exhausted, the Founders declared America’s independence from England by “let[ting the] Facts be submitted to a candid World.” Stated differently, the Founders declared the rightness of their cause by appealing to the truth written on all men’s hearts. And the very first fact cited in their reasons for separation was “He (King George III) has refused his Assent to Laws, the most wholesome and necessary for the public Good.”
Sound familiar? I wonder if the Founders had read Romans 13. I bet they had.
Americans today have long forgotten the reasons which prompted such a monumental declaration and the sacrifice required during the bloody war for Independence. We have forgotten that Independence is what led to liberty and the establishment of our great nation. Instead, we enjoy the tradition of a nice summer day off from work—perhaps a local parade and a barbeque with friends and family. And, of course, the fireworks, symbolizing the birth pains of a new nation.
May I offer a suggestion to add to our traditions? Perhaps we could begin this Independence Day and every one to follow by reading the Declaration of Independence with our families. Then, in gratitude, remember the men and women who sacrificed so much – including those who gave their lives in order to give us a future grounded in liberty, as well as those who have secured that liberty over the last 243 years.
I hope we also honor our forefathers by advancing an America where God is honored, religious freedom flourishes (as found in the First Amendment of the Constitution), families thrive (liberty, and the pursuit of happiness) and life is cherished (all men are endowed by their Creator with life). When we remember the devotion of those who went before us, we are better equipped to continue the efforts to leave a better legacy for those who come after us.
Happy Independence Day!
Standing for the family of believers,
President & CEO
P.S. I want to share a huge note of gratitude to those who helped us meet our fundraising goal for the Family Policy Foundation® Statesmen Academy℠ in July.
Thanks to your generosity we ere able to realize a phenomenal $172,500 fundraising match, fully funding our academy to train and equip Christian lawmakers.