in Catechesis

Table of Duties – Of Civil Government

For our summer catechesis, we are studying the Table of Duties from the Small Catechism. This week we consider “Of Civil Government.” I recommend you listen here: Podcast

The Catechism: Table of Duties—Of Civil Government: Romans 13:1-4

1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 1st+
2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 2nd+
3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 3rd+
4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 4th+

Theses of Civil Government:

1. God works through the civil rulers to accomplish His purposes in the world.

2. God works in the secular kingdom for the sake of His Church, or the spiritual kingdom.

3. God works His purposes through both good and evil rulers:

  • To punish wickedness
  • To reward those who do well

4. Nations often receive the evil rulers they deserve as part of God’s judgment.

5. Evil rulers misuse the authority given to them by God even though He was the one to  establish them in their office.

6. Christians are called to trust in God by honoring the civil authorities, even when the civil authorities are hostile to the Christian faith or persecute the Church.

7. Christians are called “to obey God rather than men” whenever the demands of the civil law violate the Word of God (Acts 5:29).

Prayer for the Civil Government

Heavenly Father, give us civil authorities who will serve with integrity and faithfulness, for the maintenance of justice, the punishment of evil doers, and for the praise of all those who do well. Christians faith in Your gracious providence, so that we might honor the civil authorities and contribute to the common welfare of our nation, through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.

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