Although Genesis 6:5 can rightly suggest that in some sense things could not get any worse, our society seems to be sliding more towards lawlessness. Consider first the standoff last month in Philadelphia where six officers were shot by a gunman while crowds of onlookers taunted, shoved, and threw things at the police. Consider second a school curriculum with anti-police rhetoric proposed last month by the California Department of Education (but eventually withdrawn). And, other examples abound.
To be sure, there are bad apples in every profession, and legitimate complaints against them should be investigated and sanctions levied, but trust ultimately placed in God’s justice and vengeance.
Authorities that exist, such as police departments, have been instituted by God, and resisting such authorities is resisting what God has appointed (Romans 13:1-2). Unless they go against God (Acts 4:19-20; 5:29), rather than resisting them, we should be subject to and pray for them, so that we may lead peaceful and quiet lives, godly and dignified in every way, which is pleasing in the sight of God, Who desires all people to be saved by coming to the knowledge of the truth about the one Mediator between God and people, the God-man Christ Jesus, Who gave Himself as a ransom for all (1 Timothy 2:1-6).
Our praying for all who are in high positions is significantly connected to God’s desire for all to be saved by repentance and faith in Jesus! The rule of law serves the Gospel. That principal was true when the peace of Rome facilitated the spread of the Gospel in the early Church, and that principal is true today.
Maybe society’s slide towards lawlessness would be slowed by more teaching of God’s law, such as the Ten Commandments’ calling both for our fear, love, and trust in God above all things and for our honoring, serving and obeying, loving and cherishing our parents and other authorities. But, even if not, greater teaching of God’s law does serve His Gospel by showing us our sin so that we repent and trust God to forgive our sin for Jesus’s sake.
The Rev. Dr. Jayson S. Galler is Pastor of Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Kilgore.You can reach him through the congregation’s website: www.pilgrimlc.org.