I. God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil magistrates, to be, under Him, over the people, for His own glory, and the public good: and, to this end, has armed them with the power of the sword, for the defence and encouragement of them that are good, and for the punishment of evil doers [a].
[a] Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Ver.2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. Ver.3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: Ver.4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
1 Peter 2:13 Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Ver.14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.
II. It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto [b]: in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth [c]; so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the New Testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion [d].It is lawful for Christians to accept and execute the office of a magistrate, when called thereunto [b]:
[b] Proverbs 8:15 By me kings reign, and princes decree justice. Ver.16 By me princes rule, and nobles, even all the judges of the earth.
Romans 13:1,2.4 [See in letter a]
in the managing whereof, as they ought especially to maintain piety, justice, and peace, according to the wholesome laws of each commonwealth [c];
[c] Psalm 2:10 Be wise now therefore, O ye kings: be instructed, ye judges of the earth. Ver.11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice with trembling. Ver.12 Kiss the Son, lest he be angry, and ye perish from the way, when his wrath is kindled but a little. Blessed are all they that put their trust in him.
1 Timothy 2:2 For kings, and for all that are in authority; that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and honesty.
Psalm 82:3 Defend the poor and fatherless: do justice to the afflicted and needy. Ver.4 Deliver the poor and needy: rid them out of the hand of the wicked.
2 Samuel 23:3 The God of Israel said, the Rock of Israel spake to me, He that ruleth over men must be just, ruling in the fear of God.
1 Peter 2:13 [See in letter a].
so, for that end, they may lawfully, now under the New Testament, wage war, upon just and necessary occasion [d].
[d] Luke 3:14 And the soldiers likewise demanded of him, saying, And what shall we do? And he said unto them, Do violence to no man, neither accuse any falsely; and be content with your wages.
Romans 13:4 [See letter a]
Matthew 8:9 For I am a man under authority, having soldiers under me: and I say to this man, Go, and he goeth; and to another, Come, and he cometh; and to my servant, Do this, and he doeth it. Ver.10 When Jesus heard it, he marvelled, and said to them that followed, Verily I say unto you, I have not found so great faith, no, not in Israel.
Acts 10:1 There was a certain man in Caesarea called Cornelius, a centurion of the band called the Italian band, Ver.2 A devout man, and one that feared God with all his house, which gave much alms to the people, and prayed to God alway.
Revelation 17:14 These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful. Ver.16 And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.
CHAP. XXIII. - Of the Civil Magistrate - Commentary by Gordon H. Clark
Chapter XXIII. Of the Civil Magistrate - Exposition by Robert Shaw
Chapter 23: Of the Civil Magistrate - Exposition by A.A. Hodge
A Sermon on Civil Government.