Civil Government: Chapter 8 – Limitations of Civil Government

Civil Government - coverGod never intended for civil government to take care of us. He has a different plan for this. It begins with His providence. In creating this world, God provided everything we need in order to survive: plants and animals for food (Genesis 1:29; 9:3), proper conditions for survival (Acts 14:17), and the ability to work in order to provide for ourselves (Acts 17:28; 2 Thessalonians 3:10).

If one is unable to provide for himself, God has made provisions for such a one to be cared for — and not by the civil government. Individuals can help (Galatians 6:9-10). One’s family can help (1 Timothy 5:4, 16). In certain cases, the church can help (Acts 4:32-35). If everyone tried to help others according to their ability and opportunity (2 Corinthians 8:12; Galatians 6:10) rather than thinking that a government “safety net” absolves us of our responsibility to do good to others, the number of people who would yet require government assistance would be drastically reduced.

The Scriptures teach that we can survive without government through the providence of God. The wise man explained this:

“Know well the condition of your flocks, and pay attention to your herds; for riches are not forever, nor does a crown endure to all generations. When the grass disappears, the new growth is seen, and the herbs of the mountains are gathered in, the lambs will be for your clothing, and the goats will bring the price of a field, and there will be goats’ milk enough for your food, for the food of your household, and sustenance for your maidens” (Proverbs 27:23-27).

Knowing that governments will, from time to time, collapse, Solomon explains how we can survive under such circumstances. By using what God has provided in His creation, we can have food, clothing, and the ability to participate in free market commerce. With “firm reliance on…divine Providence,” we can survive without an oppressive, burdensome, and inefficient government machine trying (allegedly) to take care of us.

You can read more about the limitations of civil government in Civil Government: What the Bible Says About Its Origin, History, Nature, and Role. Follow the link to learn more about the book and purchase your copy today!

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