I share our signature passage of Scripture in just about every study (and the graphic to the right here is on all our shirts and other apparel) but I've never dedicated an entire study to it (what it means to be a "
minister for good
" and a "
terror against evil
"). Friend, my prayer is that this study will encourage and inspire you. Let's dig in!
Those of us who serve in the military (combat roles) and in law enforcement are in fact in carrying out a God-ordained calling -- a literal ministry of service -- to protect those who cannot protect themselves and to be an absolute
against those who would otherwise prey on them with impunity (those intent on evil). Let's break it down verse-by-verse:
Government’s legitimate authority and the Christian warrior's response (
Subject to the governing authorities
: The connection between
Romans 12 and Romans 13
is clear. The Christian prohibition from seeking personal vengeance does not negate government's God-ordained calling to take on and punish wrongdoers (to be a righteous "
terror against evil
: This clearly includes believers and unbelievers alike ("every" literally means everyone). Paul, writing under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, simply states that we are ALL subject to the governing authorities. This was in stark contrast to the zealous, "religious" Jews of Paul's day (Paul had been one of those before he came to faith) who recognized no King but God and refused to pay taxes to anyone but God (see
For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God
: The public we serve and yes, we ourselves, are subject to the governing authorities because we/they are appointed by God and serve a purpose in His plan. Now understand that Emperor Nero -- a horrifically wicked ruler who tortured and killed Christians by the thousands -- was in power when Paul wrote this. Does this mean that he and others like him (such as Stalin, Hitler, Pol Pot, etc.) were established by God? Yes, but with the understanding God calls ALL rulers to rule/lead justly and biblically. Clearly, it is SIN to rule wickedly, and, ultimately, God will deal with those who do so. Moreover, our God-ordained system of government in the U.S. has processes in place to remove wicked rulers -- be it by vote or other lawful means.
Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God
: Since governments -- including law enforcement -- have authority from God Himself, we are bound to obey them – unless, of course, we are ordered to do something contrary to God’s law. In such cases we are
by our true Commander/Chief to obey Him before man (as in
Those who resist will bring judgment on themselves
: God uses the "authorities" -- the police, military, courts, corrections -- as a tool to check evil, including man’s sinful desires and wickedness.
Our calling to deter and punish evildoers (
Do what is good, and you will have praise
: God calls Christians to be the best citizens of all. Even though they we are to be loyal to God before our loyalty to the state, God has called us to be good, honest citizens who OBEY the law, pay our taxes and – most importantly –
for those in government, including those of us serving in law enforcement (in stark contrast to those aligned with domestic terror organizations).
He is God’s minister for good
: The word God gave Paul to use here -- "minister" -- is literally translated as "servant." We have a ministry in the plan and administration of God in much the same way pastors and church leaders do. Moreover, as God's ordained
" (public servants), we must remember from whom our authority ultimately flows (and that we are not "gods" ourselves). The word "
" as used here is the law-abiding public we serve and protect.
An avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil
a TERROR against evil
"): It is through the just punishment of evil that government serves its function in God’s plan of holding man’s sin and wickedness in check. When a government -- including law enforcement and the military -- fails to do this consistently, it opens itself up to God’s judgment and correction. Are we not seeing this today with "progressive" (I hate that word), anti-God government leadership that wickedly calls what God calls evil to be good and what God calls good to be evil (
)? God rightly says, "
a condition of deep, righteous suffering for those who do evil)
He does not bear the sword in vain
as used here is a reference to capital punishment and righteous, deadly force. In the Roman Empire, criminals were typically executed by beheading with a
(crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals of the lowest classes). Paul (who would soon be beheaded with a sword), speaking under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, no doubt had us in mind when he wrote that we (government) have the legitimate authority to execute criminals, carry out righteous warfare and use deadly force (firearms, for example) in defense of ourselves and others.
Clear? Fellow government servant-warrior, God has called and ORDAINED us to protect the innocent and defenseless (see
and others) and be a
terror against evil
That said, the context of this passage remains that we must serve ethically and with the utmost of integrity. How can we carry out that calling effectively without Christ and the leading of the Holy Spirit that indwells every true believer? Folks, we can't. Moreover, the context of Scripture is that even our so-called righteous service in law enforcement cannot save us unless we are first born again in Him. Is that you (stay with me here)?
Finally, note again my use of the word "
" here. Please don't let the godless "progressives" turn you into some kind of lukewarm, unbiblical "guardian." You cannot be a "
terror against evil
" or effectively protect the public we serve as a "guardian." Accordingly, please take in what my brother-in-Christ and fellow warrior, Lt. Gen.
William "Jerry" Boykin
, said on the subject of our God-ordained call to be servant-WARRIORS:
The Lord is a warrior; the Lord is his name
” (NIV). Exodus is pretty early in the Bible. And then in the last book of the Bible, in
, it says He’s coming back. As what? As a warrior. It says He’s coming back riding a white horse and wearing a blood-stained white robe, leading a mighty army with a sword.
Every great man that God used in the Bible was first and foremost a warrior. So, what is a warrior? It’s not the guy who is armed with an AR15 and 30-round magazines. The warrior is someone who says: “This is what I love. This is what I hold dear. This is my family. This is my country. This is my faith. And this is what threatens it. This is the enemy. You will not hurt what I hold dear. You will not hurt what I love, without coming through me.”
You know who the greatest warriors are in God’s Kingdom? Intercessors. I’ve got people who intercede for me all the time. I had an intercessor call me all the way from Kuwait one time to tell me something that she felt the Holy Spirit was revealing to her. Warriors stand between what they hold dear and what threatens it.
The warrior fights for a transcendent cause, for something greater than himself. I took an oath on Dec. 26, 1970. I said: “I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic, and I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same, that I take this obligation freely without any minimal reservation or purpose of evasion and I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter, so help me God.”
That became my transcendent cause. I love the Constitution because this is America. This is what we are about. This is who we are. It’s our identity and it must be preserved. Today it’s under attack.
If you’re stagnated, if you’re stale, if you’re trying to figure out what you’re going to do with the rest of your life, you must get back to being warriors. America needs you.
You say, “Well, I don’t know what to do now. I’m 100 percent disabled.”
You can get in the fight. If you can’t do anything else but pick up a telephone and call a member of Congress, call your state representative, call the city council. If you can send email, you can make a difference.
You say, “My phone call won’t mean anything.” Oh yes, it will. I work with Congress every week, and I can tell you it will make a difference. America needs you now—desperately.
First you’ve got to decide what you believe. What do you stand for? Who are you? What are you all about? If you can determine what you believe, that will tell you what you hold dear. It will tell you what you have to protect.
I’m going to tell you about an old disabled veteran. His name was Cecil. Cecil grew up on a tobacco farm in Eastern North Carolina. In 1943, when he had just turned 17 years old, he enlisted in the Navy. On June 6, 1944, as he was driving a landing craft, coming ashore at a place called Normandy, there was a large explosion, and the next thing Cecil knew, he woke up in Bethesda Naval Hospital. His landing craft had taken a direct hit, and he had lost his left eye in the explosion. He was discharged from the Navy.
He went back to the farm, married his sweetheart and started his family. Then the Korean War came along, and the Army decided they would take disabled veterans who could still function. He went in the Army. After the Korean War, he was discharged a second time, went back to the tobacco farm and continued raising his family. Then the United States Marine Corps offered him an opportunity to be a civilian employee. He spent 32 years with the Marine Corps, including a tour in Vietnam.
Cecil loved God, and he was a very generous man. When his parents, who were sharecroppers, could no longer farm and had no place to go, Cecil took his disability check and bought his parents a home while his own family lived in a rented home. But he knew that it was his responsibility because the Bible said to take care of your parents.
His friend’s house burned down, and Cecil took all the money he had and gave it to his friend, when he could barely pay his own bills. When Cecil’s children had left, he took in a little black boy named Shakif. He bought him baseball equipment, taught him to play baseball and helped raise Shakif into a good athlete, but also into a good man.
And he told his other children—and you didn’t do this in Eastern North Carolina at the time—he said, “Shakif is your brother. Treat him like your brother.” Because he thought the worst thing that could happen to a boy was to grow up without a father in his life, he raised that little boy as his own.
Gerald Cecil Boykin was my dad. He loved America. He stayed in the fight to the end. He was disabled, but he stayed in the fight to the end because he knew what he believed in. He believed in God. He believed in America. And he believed in his family. He stayed in the fight until the day he died.
I watched him die. I watched him talking to God in his last moments on earth. He knew what he believed. What do you believe? What are you willing to fight for? What’s your transcendent cause?
God is not done with you. He’s not going to leave you. He called you to be a warrior. Because you’re missing parts or because you’re struggling with a traumatic brain injury does not mean that you are not still a warrior or that you can’t still be used in God’s Kingdom. Make a commitment to do your very best to live for Christ, because God wants to use you, and this country needs you to be a warrior.
So in closing, let me again ask the most important question that can be asked. Do YOU know Christ as Lord and Savior? Are you "saved" as God defines it? If you died today, would you go to heaven or to hell? Are you sure of your answer?
If not (you had BETTER be right...), then I plead with you to scroll down to the
section below. Fellow servant-WARRIOR, this is "backup" of the eternal kind!
(1) Do you
believe that you can "earn" or otherwise "badge" your way into heaven and escape hell because you consider yourself to be a "
" cop, "good" warrior or "good" person? That you can be "good" enough without God? That you "deserve" heaven because of your so-called "good" service? Take the
Good Person Test
and see how you do!
(2) Jesus' first recorded words in His earthly ministry were and remain, "
Repent and believe in the Good News
is a "180" -- a complete,
change of mind and heart as it relates to our sin (as God defines it). To "believe" (
in the original Greek) as Jesus intends it here is to wholeheartedly trust and
your life to Him in faith in the same way we have "faith" that our body armor will do its job against the rounds it is intended to stop; that a well-maintained weapon will function properly when used in defense against criminals intent on destroying us or others; or that our parachute will open when it is supposed to (we stake our very lives on it)! For more, see
What does it mean to believe in Jesus?
(3) This same concept of "
" (the saving kind) is further revealed in
where Jesus says, "
... you must be born again
." Again, note our Lord's emphasis on the word "
" (not "may" or "should" or even "someday"): this is ultimately the life-saving AND life-changing personal relationship (and NOT "religion") with Jesus Christ that I stress here every week (see
What does it mean to be a born again Christian
? [hint -- there is no other kind]).
(5) Need more? Then check out this powerful, short video message from police servant-leader
Cops and Salvation
(6) Have you now said "yes" to Jesus as Lord and Savior but are wondering what to do next? The "now what" is also an important part in dealing with the issues that can lead to suicide and sin in general. Click on,