What is the role of civil authorities in the Christian life?

The civil magistrate is under the sovereignty of God and is a minister of God.

I can remember speaking at the inaugural prayer breakfast for a governor several years ago in the state of Florida where I said: “Today’s your ordination day. God has ordained the church. He’s also ordained the state, and all who are functioning in that role are under the authority of Christ, who is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords.”

People may declare the separation of church and state, but often they mean by that the separation of the state and God. But, remember that God is still sovereign over all things.

That’s why we are called upon to be zealous and scrupulous in being submissive to the civil magistrates unless they command us to do something God forbids or forbid us from doing something God commands. We are to submit to the civil magistrates for the sake of honoring Christ, who is the supreme authority over all of them.

 

This transcript is from an Ask R.C. Live event with R.C. Sproul and has been lightly edited for readability. To ask Ligonier a biblical or theological question, just visit Ask.Ligonier.org or message us on Facebook or Twitter.