Dear Church Family,

Next Tuesday will mark the United States of America’s 241st birthday. Some of us have been around for a larger percentage of those years than others, but I think we would all agree our nation is changing. Think about what life was like for the colonists and how different their lives were from ours. The industrial and technological revolutions we’ve experienced have dramatically transformed so much of life as we now know it—and in less than 250 years!

Now, a quarter of a millennium may seem like a long time to most of us, but there is One who doesn’t think so. “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” (Hebrews 13:8). Our God is unchanging though we and our nation change constantly. Mediate on that for a moment: our God does not—indeed, He cannot—change! This is glorious news to those who know Him through His Word and love Him by His Spirit.

Specifically, think about the command from Jesus, Paul, and Peter in Luke 20, Romans 13, and 1 Peter 2 respectively, to be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution because we know each one has been instituted by God who sovereignly controls them all. One of the most striking realities of this triad of voices on this subject is that all of these men commanded Christians to honor the governing authorities though they themselves would eventually be put to death by them. In fact, they are even able to proclaim that God has placed authority in our lives as a blessing and not a curse; for our good and not our harm.

Of course, this doesn’t absolve governments of their obligation to use their authority wisely and not abuse their authority wrongly. Rather, this teaching frees us as Christians from worry, because we know God is working all things together for our good and His glory through our governing authorities and the nations in which we live. Therefore, we ought to honor the authorities God has placed in our lives, because we know they are serving God’s unchanging purpose in our lives.

So, as you reflect on and celebrate our nation, fix your heart on the changeless Christ who has made us citizens of an ageless nation where we will dwell with God forever. We ought to make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for all people—including those serving us through the authority entrusted to them by God in order that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. And God, by His grace, has determined to use His people as salt and light in every nation so as to call those who now walk in darkness into His marvelous light through coming to the knowledge of the truth. Thank God for this temporary nation and thank God for our opportunity to serve Him in it.