We need a system of civil government that is voluntary, that does not involve forcing people to do things against their will.
Paul’s solution is for all people to freely choose to submit to excellent judges (Rom 13:1).
- Everyone remains free.
- Judges are given authority
- Evil is not overcome by evil (even if it is a lesser evil).
Submission is a powerful vehicle for bringing order to society without obliterating freedom.
People can always withdraw their submission, if the authority deteriorates.
Authority can be obtained in two ways:
- Imposing control from the top.
- Voluntary submission from below.
Jesus condemned rulers who lord it over their people and use force to get them to do what they want. He contrasted the rulers of gentiles domination and control (lording over) with leadership of the kingdom (Luke 22:25-26). We seem to have mixed up these two concepts. We prefer rulers who will force people to do the right thing. Unfortunately, they have no place in the kingdom of God.
Christians believe in salvation by grace, but once we are saved, we rush straight back to using law to change the world; not God's law, but human law. Throughout the Western world, Christians are trying to persuade their politicians and parliaments to pass laws prohibiting a wide variety of sins, including prostitution and abortion.
We seem to have considerable faith in human law, despite the fact that law cannot eliminate sin. That requires a widespread change of heart and only the Holy Spirit can change hearts.