An excerpt from a sermon by JAMES COATES
Government’s responsibility is to protect rights, of which the right to life is only one, but it’s a package deal. They have a responsibility of upholding all of the inalienable rights given to man by God. Again the death penalty functions to prevent murder, which in turn protects a person’s God given right to life, at least until God takes it away. The one who was murdered is already dead so it’s not protecting them, but it does provide a law that is to prevent and restrain murder from taking place. And so it’s not primarily protecting life itself. So what’s it protecting? Rights! — the right to live! Another human being does not have the right to take the rights of another individual through murder. This is really critical! If you believe government has the responsibility to protect life, then you’re like, buttoning up a shirt with the wrong button and you’re going to get the whole thing wrong.
So again this is critical to understanding the limits and purpose of government man is made in God’s image, God has given to man the authority to exercise dominion over the earth, and invest him with certain inalienable rights to accomplish that end. To facilitate this God puts in place government and its responsibility is to protect these inalienable rights so that man can accomplish his mission, in order that it would be a minister of God to you for your good as Paul explains in Romans 13. As citizens of God’s kingdom while dwelling in the earth, when it comes to worldly politics, we vote for the party that will best fulfill its God-given mandate – to protect our right to live in peace and our freedom to fulfill OUR mandate, namely to worship God and be ambassadors of the Kingdom of Heaven in the earth. If government does its job to ensure that your God given rights are protected, are you not going to delight in government? If government facilitates you fulfilling your mission in life, in exercising dominion over the earth through employment and provision for your family and having a family and all the rest of it, are you not going to love and delight in government? In a democracy are you not going to vote for such a government? Of course you are!
However, government doesn’t GRANT these rights. Instead government is obligated by God to RECOGNIZE and to PROTECT these rights! Government does not impart these things. They’re already ours from and by God! Government must simply recognize and protect them. Now that sets clear limits on government authority. Because when government begins to get in the way of man accomplishing his God-given mission, it is no longer functioning as God intended. Instead of that, instead of functioning that way, it’s failing to facilitate the kingdom mandate that we have, and is oppressing it. And what that does is it establishes the purpose as well as the boundary of government’s authority. And really, to critique, whether or not government policies remain consistent with the God-ordained role and function of government.
Romans 13 says, “Therefore rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior but for evil? Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same for it is a minister of God’s you for good, but if you do what is evil be afraid for does not bear the sword for nothing for it as a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”
So as we would expect the purpose of government based on what we just saw is to praise good behavior and avenge evil. What’s the obvious question? Who gets to determine what’s good and what’s evil? Whose prerogative is that? Who defines, good and evil, and the answer should be obvious…