Thus says the Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I am the Lord your God, who teaches you to profit, who leads you in the way you should go.
— Mark 12:17
The authority of the state comes from God, and the state is answerable to God. Whenever that truth is lost sight of, totalitarianism will eventually be the result. The state, therefore, is an agency of God’s common grace (not His special grace which deals with our salvation). It is a means by which He restrains wickedness and does not allow it to run its greatest course. In the realm of God’s common grace, He has given us the state. Its purpose is to enact and to execute the laws God has given in His Word, the moral laws He has written upon the hearts of men.
It is, therefore, our responsibility to honor the state, for Scripture says the powers that be are from God. We are to yield obedience to it, we are to pay tribute, and we are to pray for those in authority over us.
What is the purpose of the state, then? It has been instituted by God to restrain the wicked and to grant justice, so that God may be glorified as citizens are free to go about their tasks and live for Him.
Question to ponder:
What does godly government look like to you?