Supreme loyalty is to God alone

Published 8:55 am Tuesday, February 4, 2020

From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham

Dear Rev. Graham: Should citizens of a nation be more loyal to their national leaders than to God to avoid persecution? And does it really matter to God? — N.C.

Dear N.C.: Jesus taught that citizens should render to Caesar the things that belong to him (the nation) and to God the things that are God’s (Mark 12:17). God’s desire is to bless nations who reverence and obey Him. Nations rise, flourish for a time, and then they decline. Why? Because of the sins of the human race. There is no doubt that nations come to an end when they have ceased to fulfill the function that God meant for them.

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As long as mankind lives on earth, people possess dual citizenship: owing national allegiance as good citizens; but supreme loyalty is to God alone who says: “You shall have no other gods before Me” (Exodus 20:3). When nations defy God, there is a price to pay.

Much can be learned from the Roman Empire, made up of differing races, religions, and cultures, that once dominated the world. Nationalist movements, political conspiracies, terrorism and open attacks grew until the empire was threatened from within and without.

Because of the emperor’s growing paranoia to maintain power, a simple test of loyalty evolved: Roman subjects were to toss a pinch of incense into a fire and declare, “Caesar is Lord.” Christians refused to make such a declaration for the simple fact that Jesus was their Lord! Because of their refusal to put Caesar before Christ, persecution began. The end result: Rome lost her grip on the world. No nation which relegates God’s Word to the background, which disregards the love of God and flouts the claims of Jesus Christ, can long survive.

Throughout Scripture God does speak to the nations: “Come here and listen, O nations of the earth. Let the world and everything in it hear my words” (Isaiah 34:1, NLT).


(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)