The Purpose of Government – August 1, 2010

In handout is in Black, Not in handout is in light blue. Bible Verses are not in the handout.

God has established the STATE and God has established the CHURCH. What then is the purpose of the STATE? What is God’s purpose for human government? Carefully read Romans 13:1-6. According to this passage, what important service does the STATE perform? Why do we have and why do we need human government? What would society be like without police, judges, jails, soldiers, etc.?

The CHURCH should recognize the STATE as a necessary, temporary, fallible (not perfect) authority which exists in order to accomplish God’s purpose for government. A government should:

·  Protect its people from outside invaders and enemies. Just as an individual has a right to try to protect himself from attack, so also a nation has a right to protect itself from enemies. Thus the need for the army, navy, etc.

·  Punish evildoers and reward or encourage those who do good. This is clearly taught in Romans 13:1-6. The punishment might even involve the DEATH PENALTY (Romans 13:4 and Genesis 9:6).

Rom 13:1-6

(1) Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

(2) Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

(3) For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

(4) For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

(5) Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

(6) For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

(Gen 9:6) Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man.

The STATE also has certain limitations. A government should not:

·  Inhibit human freedom on the part of those who do good. The STATE should help to protect and preserve man’s freedoms (although many governments in our world do not do this).

·  Allow freedom for evildoers to do evil (Rom. 13:3).

·  Prevent its individual citizens from worshipping and serving God (see Acts 5:29).

(Act 5:29) Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.

·  Prevent people from bearing the consequences from immoral acts, violence, sloth (laziness) or crimes. Moral responsibility is one of the first principles in God’s universe (see Acts 25:11).

Act 25:7-11

(7) And when he was come, the Jews which came down from Jerusalem stood round about, and laid many and grievous complaints against Paul, which they could not prove.

(8) While he answered for himself, Neither against the law of the Jews, neither against the temple, nor yet against Caesar, have I offended any thing at all.

(9) But Festus, willing to do the Jews a pleasure, answered Paul, and said, Wilt thou go up to Jerusalem, and there be judged of these things before me?

(10) Then said Paul, I stand at Caesar's judgment seat, where I ought to be judged: to the Jews have I done no wrong, as thou very well knowest.

(11) For if I be an offender, or have committed any thing worthy of death, I refuse not to die: but if there be none of these things whereof these accuse me, no man may deliver me unto them. I appeal unto Caesar.

What is the CHURCH'S relationship to the STATE? Consider the following:

·  Christians must pray for those in authority over them with the expected result of living "a quiet and peaceable life" (1 Tim. 2:1-2).

1Ti 2:1-2

(1) I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men;

(2) For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.

·  Christians must be subject to the STATE when the STATE operates on the basis of its purposes and limitations which we have already mentioned (Rom. 13:1-3).

·  Christians must render what is due (pay taxes) to the State, knowing that some things are Caesar’s and some are God’s (Luke 20:25 and Romans 13:6).

(Luk 20:25) And he said unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which be Caesar's, and unto God the things which be God's.

·  Christians must live their lives in relative subjection and obedience to the STATE and in absolute subjection and obedience to God (see Acts 5:29). Final obedience belongs to God rather than man. If what the government demands is in conflict with what God demands, then WHO should be obeyed?

The United States of America

These are the words found in our Declaration of Independence:

"All men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness"

What then is the purpose of our government? In the same Declaration we read this: (it is) "to secure these rights that governments are instituted among men." The purpose of our government is to secure and protect these basic rights.

·  Can people enjoy their right to LIFE if murderers are allowed to run on the loose?

·  Can Americans enjoy their right to LIBERTY if our nation allows radical Islamic terrorists to overtake our country and take away our freedoms?

·  Can Americans really PURSUE HAPPINESS if they are constantly threatened by crime and lawlessness?

God intended government to provide the right kind of environment so that people could choose God and come to know Him and find the true LIFE AND LIBERTY AND HAPPINESS that is found only in Christ Jesus.

The First Amendment

The United States government saw the importance of providing religious freedom for all of its citizens. This is guaranteed by the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States (which is part of the "Bill of Rights").


The founding fathers of our country understood this to mean the following: "that Congress should not establish a religion, and enforce the legal observation of it by law, nor compel men to worship God in any manner contrary to their conscience." This means that men are free to worship God in any manner they choose according to their conscience and that the government must not interfere with this freedom and tell men how they must worship. For example, a law must never be made which says, "Every American citizen must be a Catholic and anyone who refuses to be a Catholic will be punished by law." This would be religious freedom only for Catholics. The first amendment states that men must be allowed the "FREE EXERCISE" of their religious beliefs.

Do you think a person living in this country should be free to be a Buddhist if he (or she) so desires? Do you think Jews should be able to worship as they please in the United States? Do you think an American citizen should have the right to be an atheist? Should such a person be allowed to talk to other people and convince them to be atheists also?

Are there times when the government must interfere with certain religions? Suppose that the religious ritual of certain "Satan Worshippers" demanded that a person murder another person and use the dead person’s heart and liver to charm the evil spirits. Should this religion be allowed and tolerated? Why not? People are given religious freedom as long as they do not trample on the freedom and rights of others. People have a right to Life and Liberty and all religions must respect this. If religious practices get "out of hand" then the government must step in and protect its people.

Suppose a religious group believed that the government of the United States should be overthrown and they were actively working toward this end. Should the government allow them the freedom to do this? Should they be given the freedom to destroy the very government which allows them to have religious liberty? Remember, freedom does not mean liberty to do anything at all.

Those who enjoy religious freedom must also respect the rights of others to believe and worship as they please. We may disagree strongly with what they believe and even tell them so, but we respect their God-given right to believe what they choose to believe.

The intent of the First Amendment and the words and actions of our Founding Fathers, including Thomas Jefferson, clearly demonstrate how the words "the separation of church and state" were originally understood. These words were never intended to remove God from government; rather they were intended to keep government from controlling and manipulating religious practices. --Attorney David C. Gibbs, Jr. "The Truth About Separation of Church and State."

Herein lies the true meaning of separation of church and state as the concept was understood by Jefferson and the other founding fathers: Government may never dictate one's form of worship or articles of faith. Not all public worship of God must be halted; on the contrary, freedom to engage in such worship was the very reason for creating a doctrine of separation between church and state...The doctrine of separation between church and state has been abused, twisted and taken out of context in recent court decisions in order to prevent the public worship and acknowledgment of God...We must not be silent while every vestige of God is removed from our public life and while every public display of faith is annihilated. The time has come to recover the valiant courage of our forefathers, who understood that faith and freedom are inseparable and that they are worth fighting for. --Roy S. Moore, chief justice, Alabama Supreme Court

Congress must never prohibit the free exercise of religion.

Almost all Americans have heard the phrase "separation of church and state." It has been used as something of a club to "beat down" and eliminate Christianity from public places. Where does the phrase "separation of church and state" come from? It is not a part of the original U.S. Constitution of 1787, as most people falsely believe, or in any of its amendments. In reality, the idea of a "wall of separation" between church and state came from a private letter from President Thomas Jefferson, and it has sadly been misused to slowly, but surely, eliminate Christianity from the public sector—and replace it with an anti-God religion.

The Establishment Clause in the First Amendment was intended to protect the church from the (federal) government, not the government from the church. Therefore, no "national" church or religion is allowed to be established by the federal government.

I will highlight key words of the First Amendment: "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof..."

You can see that the "separation of church and state" phrase is nowhere in the Amendment (or the rest of the Constitution). The 1802 letter from Jefferson was sent to the Danbury Baptist Association in Connecticut in response to the group's letter to him. Jefferson was trying to assure the Baptists that the federal government would never be permitted to interfere with the church.

Today, secular scholars have lifted the Danbury letter out of its entire historical context and have turned the so-called "wall" metaphor completely on its head.

"Separation of church and state" is now used to protect the government from the influence of the church—establishing a policy of freedom "from" religion, which in reality has become "separation of Christianity and state." This would have been an entirely foreign and unintended concept to the Founding Fathers.

The above is taken from the Article, "Separation of Christianity and State," by Ken Ham, Answers Update, Volume 17, Issue 4, pages 1-2.

Please note that when Christianity is removed from public life, this does not result in a neutral situation. Christianity has been replaced by an godless, evolutionary world view. The state allows this godless religion to thrive in the secular media and in the classrooms of our land. The Bible has been expelled; secular humanism has been given full freedom to dominate our public institutions).

Freedom of Religion or Freedom from Religion?

There are many today who believe that there should be a complete wall of separation between CHURCH and STATE and that God and the Bible should be ignored and left out and not even mentioned in any kind of public gathering (such as government meeting or public school, etc.). They wrongly think that freedom of religion means freedom from religion. They believe God should be expelled from the classroom and from the government.

This is certainly not what the founding fathers of our country intended. The First Amendment was never intended to build a "wall of separation" between religious observance and public life. Here are some examples from the history of our country which show this very clearly:

On the very day that the House of Representatives approved the language of the First Amendment (September 24, 1789), it also passed a resolution calling for a national day of prayer and thanksgiving, acknowledging "with grateful hearts, the many signal favors of Almighty God." They recognized and acknowledged God in a very real way. There have been well over 100 Presidential proclamations of Thanksgiving Day, in which the leaders of our nation have urged Americans to give thanks to God for His numerous blessings. Were all of these proclamations unconstitutional?