What Is the Biblical Duty of Government Leaders?

As politics take over the majority of news headlines, more Americans may be asking themselves: What is the role of our national leaders?

Leaders at the American Pastors Network, the largest national network dedicated to equipping pastors to be a voice for truth in the public square, address this question frequently. In fact, APN president and host Sam Rohrer recently published a new editorial for The Christian Post, where he offers biblical insight to the roles and responsibilities of America’s leaders and elected officials.

“According to the Bible, those who serve in government are ministers of God,” Rohrer said. “Many Americans and even American Christians have never considered that distinction and prefer to oppose or avoid political leaders altogether. However, God desires that we encourage governing leaders to serve Him and the people they lead. Romans 13:4 notes, ‘He is God’s minister—or servant—to you for good.’ Therefore, our leaders and officials are to protect those who do what’s morally right, as well as to bring justice against those who do what’s morally wrong. That’s why the highest duty of governing involves creating and implementing laws to enact justice and to maintain peace throughout the land.”

Because the Bible calls governing leaders “ministers” or “servants,” they are to serve both God and the citizens, Rohrer also noted. But what does this mean in today’s culture? Political leaders are to be, to the people they represent, protectors of righteousness and defenders of truth. The word “minister” in Romans 13:6 literally means to be a leader in worship to God. Like King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon said after being forced by God to his knees in submission, “I do extol and recognize the God of heaven who is able to raise up and bring down those He will.”

“In other words,” Rohrer said, “according to God’s plan, all politicians possess the distinct obligation to live in the fear of God and cause people to look to God who created life, liberty and all natural rights. Our political leaders should sense a duty to protect the people they serve. And those who lead our nation need our support when they work to protect its citizens. Just imagine if those in office today would acknowledge that God is Supreme and would lead our nation to also acknowledge the God of heaven.”

Additionally, how many Christians are aware that the Bible speaks of political leaders as conduits of truth and justice?

“In our culture,” Rohrer continued, “politicians are often rightly viewed with skepticism and criticism at every turn, yet the Bible says they are ‘sent by God’ to punish lawbreakers and encourage righteousness. In 1 Peter 2, governing leaders are defined as people who should enforce laws against criminals and recognize honorable citizens. As believers, we’re commanded to live as law-abiding citizens as part of God’s will for our lives. Despite our ‘resistance’ culture that often seeks to undermine government and oppose authority, God calls us to consciously live out His principles and ‘silence the ignorance of foolish men.’ We are to submit to governing authorities. As Peter notes in 1 Peter 2:17: ‘Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the King.’”

Finally, Rohrer concluded, God has provided American citizens the privilege to be involved in the political process.

“Whether through voting, expressing our values or even running for elected office, our liberty offers many ways to participate,” he said. “How would our nation be different if all believers across our nation prayed daily for our leaders, lived godly values and participated in the process of government in a greater way? We would see the Lord bless our nation and bring times of refreshing to our land.”

Photo by Andre Hunter on Unsplash

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