0248 Allegiance to the Flag
Encounter Radio Outline #0248
Air date: 12/1/02
Allegiance to the Flag
by Dr. Stephen F. Olford
Introduction: Civil involvement calls not only for obedience to civil powers (#0246), but also:
II. Allegiance to Civil Powers (vv. 5, 7)
There can be no obedience to civil powers unless there is allegiance to those same civil powers. As we have already observed, allegiance to the sovereignty of God is vested in the church and in the State. It is evident that God would have His people exercise:
A. A Purposeful Allegiance to Civil Powers (v. 5)
The apostle gives us two reasons here for exercising allegiance to civil powers.
1. There is the Allegiance to the Principle of Authority (v. 5)
Since these higher powers derive their authority from God himself, we cannot but yield them our allegiance. The apostle leaves us in no doubt as to the purposeful ways of expressing such allegiance through prayer (1 Tim. 2:1-4). Christians have seriously underestimated this aspect of civil allegiance. We cannot read the Scriptures, or study history, without being impressed with the reformation and renewal that have swept across the nations because of the prevailing prayers of God’s people. We are to pray for all races, all ranks, and all responsibilities of people (1 Tim. 2:1-3).
2. There is the Allegiance to the Principle of Morality (v. 5)
Our allegiance to civil powers must be viewed in terms of doing the will of God for Jesus’ sake. What greater incentive, or motivation, could the Christian have in this regard? The whole point of the apostle’s exhortation is that the Christian must see beyond kings, presidents, governors, mayors and even masters to the Lord Himself. Morality demands that we honor the office, since it ultimately symbolizes the sovereign authority of God.
B. A Practical Allegiance to Civil Powers (vv. 6-7)
The leaders of a country are not only responsible for national security, but also for national solvency, and this is where the subject of taxation comes in. According to the apostle, the rendering of our dues is an expression of practical allegiance to civil powers for two reasons:
1. Taxation Represents the Gratitude of Allegiance (v. 6)
Taxation may not be agreeable, but we must remember that the basis of society is the forbearance and self-sacrifice of the people for the good of all. Although we know there is much self-seeking instead of self-sacrificing in government circles, we have to admit that there are those who literally give themselves for the sake of their country. While we deplore political corruption, we must not overlook political dedication.
2. Taxation Represents the Rectitude of Allegiance (v. 7)
It is important to observe that the word rendered “due” is literally “debt.” There is such a thing as a national debt, and the citizens of any country are responsible for paying it off. So the Word of God exhorts us to exercise a rectitude in the matter of discharging our dues.
C. A Personal Allegiance to Civil Powers (v. 7)
Christians are accountable before God and responsible toward men. Nothing is more indicative of moral decay than when there is loss of personal respect. Man touches the lowest level when he loses respect for God and for authority, and so the words before us bite deep into this whole area of personal respect for those who rule over us.
1. Reverential Respect for Civil Rulers (v. 7)
The word “fear” denotes “reverence” or even “veneration” to him who bears the sword for good. Within this whole concept of reverential respect for civil rulers there are the combined thoughts of patriotism and chivalry. We should be proud of our flag, our country, our constitution, our rulers and our policemen.
2. Preferential Respect for Civil Rulers (v. 7)
Here is where the Christian church can effect the greatest possible impact upon national life. There are innumerable avenues that can be followed in bringing about change at every level of government, whether it be through praying, working, speaking, or writing.
Conclusion: Christian citizenship demands obedience to civil rulers and deserves allegiance to civil rulers. Christians must take up these eternal principles and translate them into action! Only by such civil obedience and allegiance shall we fulfill our God-given obligation to our present generation. May we be given grace to be faithful to this high and holy commitment.
Stephen Olford Center for Biblical Preaching
P.O. Box 757800 Memphis, TN 38175-7800
Phone: (901) 757-7977 or (800) 843-2241 Fax: (901) 757-1372
Comments? Send mail to: OMI@olford.org