Last week, I attended a lunch meeting which included several community volunteers and local government officials. The purpose of the meeting was to discuss the Jail Intervention Program at the Shelby County Jail. This is a wonderful program. It gives men the opportunity to modify their sentencing and be released early if they will participate in a drug and alcohol recovery program while inside the jail. They are also required to do follow treatment once they leave.

I just want to say, I am so thankful for the men and women who work in our community corrections alongside the volunteers in our community. If it were not for these caring people, the drug and alcohol problem in our county would be much worse than it is right now. These people are working tirelessly to suppress the wickedness that is drug addiction.

This is one-way God is working through our local government. The Bible says, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (Romans 13:1). This means that government, both local and federal, have been ordained by God. Government is good. Granted, since we live in fallen world, no human government is perfect. But, as Winston Churchill said, “democracy is the worst form of government, except for all the others.” Of course, what he meant by that is, in a fallen, sin-filled world, we, in the United States, have the best form of government known to man. It’s literally the best we can do. Therefore, we should be grateful for the government God has given us.

Government exists because God instituted it, and I saw this practically played out in this meeting. It’s no secret that we have a terrible drug and alcohol problem in Shelby County. Prosecutor Brad Landwerlen once said that 90% of the crime in our county is due to drugs and alcohol. This is why I am grateful for these men and women I had lunch with. God is using these leaders to suppress evil in county. That’s one of the primary purposes of government—to uphold righteousness and judge evil. This is also why it is so important for government to maintain a strong, biblical moral compass. John Adams, one of our founding fathers, once said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” These are sobering words. Government is only a blessing to its people when it is making policies and enforcing laws that are based upon sound religious and moral principles. When the government’s moral compass corrodes, so will the people it governs.

Another reality dawned on me during the meeting: God’s ultimate solution for sinful humanity is not government. Government exists for the temporal good of its citizens, but the greater problem we face is not temporal; it is spiritual and eternal. The reason we have a drug and alcohol problem in this county, and around the world, is because man is at odds with God. Man loves sin and hates God. We seek our fulfillment in lesser things instead of the joy and pleasure of God Himself. Our problem, ultimately, is that we are underneath sin’s mastery and penalty, and only Christ can remedy such a problem. Government may restrain evil, but Jesus Christ can eradicate evil. Only Jesus can set us free from and forgive us for our sins. This is why the local church is the hope of the world. Government is important, but the church and her proclamation of the gospel is eternally significant and needed.

Thanks for reading!

Brandon Sutton is the pastor at Blue Ridge Christian Union Church and the founder of Sutton Church Consulting (Suttonconsultations.com). You can email him at pastor2334@gmail.com