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Chapter 24: Of Civil Government

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Chapter 24
CIVIL GOVERNMENT

24.1 God, the supreme Lord and King of all the world, has ordained civil authorities1 to be under Him and over the people,2 for His own glory and the public good.3 For this purpose He has armed them with the authority to use force,4 to defend and encourage those who do good, and to punish evil doers.5

(1) Original, magistrates
(2) Psalms 82:1; Luke 12:48; Romans 13:1-6; 1 Peter 2:13-14
(3) Genesis 6:11-13 with 9:5-6; Psalms 58:1-2; 72:14; 82:1-4; Proverbs 21:15; 24:11-12; 29:14,26; 31:5; Ezekiel 7:23; 45:9; Daniel 4:27; Matthew 22:21; Romans 13:3-4; 1 Timothy 2:2; 1 Peter 2:14
(4) Original, the power of the sword
(5) Genesis 9:6; Proverbs 16:14; 19:12; 20:2; 21:15; 28:17; Acts 25:1; Romans 13:4; 1 Peter 2:13-14

24.2 It is lawful for Christians to accept and carry out the duties of public office1 when called upon to do so.2 In the performance of such office they are particularly responsible for maintaining justice and peace in accordance with the wholesome laws of the nation. For that purpose they may (in terms of the New Testament) lawfully engage in war if it is just and necessary.3

(1) Original, of a magistrate
(2) Exodus 22:8-9,28-29; Daniel; Nehemiah; Proverbs 14:35; 16:10,12; 20:26,28; 25:2; 28:15-16; 29:4,14; 31:4-5; Romans 13:2,4,6
(3) Luke 3:14; Romans 13:4

24.3 As civil authorities1 are established by God for the purposes given, we ought to be subject to2 all their lawful commands3 for the Lord's sake, not merely to avoid punishment, but for conscience' sake. We ought also to make supplications and prayers for rulers and all who are in authority, that under them we may live a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty.4

(1) Original, magistrates
(2) Proverbs 16:14-15; 19:12; 20:2; 24:21-22; 25:15; 28:2; Romans 13:1-7; Titus 3:1; 1 Peter 2:13-14
(3) Daniel 1:8; 3:4-6,16-18; 6:5-10,22; Matthew 22:21; Acts 4:19-20; 5:29
(4) Jeremiah 29:7; 1 Timothy 2:1-4