The State: A Power for Good or Evil

The state is responsible to God for all that it does, it is accountable to God. As the apostle John informs us in Revelation, as he peers into the future prophetically, he says that in that last and great day, he sees the great and the small, all of them standing before God and with the books opened, being judged. So what is the State’s business? They are instituted by God to uphold justice, as Paul says in Romans chapter thirteen, verses one to seven, to bear the sword, the sword of justice, to execute justice, the protection of the good and the punishment of evildoers. This is necessary, says Calvin, because of sin’s entrance into the world. The evil of government is an evil necessity because sin has come into the world. But do we not live amid complete anarchy today, where liberty is turned into licentiousness, where the sovereignty of man is proclaimed rather than the sovereignty of God, and so respect for all authority is diminished. It just leads to more and more rebellion, anti-authoritarianism, to more destruction in our nation. The state, the government, says Calvin, is instituted for good and, as long as the state functions by the will of God, it is great, it is a mighty power for good. As you reflect on our own nation’s history, in past days we have seen something of that, but with a government under the influence of Satan and sin, as we see it today it is an awful powerful instrument for corruption and wickedness. With an ungodly political world, global power, the same as we face in the world today, we’re not surprised that this is Satan’s primary weapon against the Kingdom of Christ. When the State becomes ungodly, when it becomes unchristian, then through means of evil, evildoers triumph and the righteous suffer. It dominates in areas where it has no jurisdiction whatsoever, it interferes in the home, it interferes in education, in the church and society, it becomes totalitarian. It dictates to you what you will eat and what you will drink, how and what you will educate your children with, what you will worship, what you will preach and what you will believe, and even think. It seeks to re-establish the principle of Babel, the principle of a one-world universal power. Albeit through the United States of Europe or the United Nations. A world, global power, that stands opposed to the Kingdom of God and his dear Son. But the State ultimately is God-given it has a God-given function and its God-given function is to uphold the Law of God, says Calvin, to restrain sin and sinners and to protect society.

(©️ James R Hamilton, February 2020)

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