Once, I was stopped by a police officer while driving and as he was checking my documents, he asked me what I do for a living. I told him that I am a minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ and that I preach the eternal life that only Jesus can offer to all people by grace through faith. When he realized that I am a man of God, his response was, “oh no, because of you, I am going to have misfortune!” I asked him why. His answer was, “I can never be strong enough and have enough faith to please God because of my job.” In his view, being an officer of the law is a sin. The man found great relief in the message that I shared with him, specifically, that God has much to say about and to police officers in the Holy Scriptures.
I. God instituted the police system
In Saint Paul’s epistle to the Roman church, in chapter 13, verses 1-4, the Holy Scriptures relate the following to us:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
From these verses, the following things are made clear to us:
- God formed the police system for the good of society, to help maintain order.
- Police officers are God’s servants for the benefits of the members of society.
- Police officers should punish those who do evil. This is for the good of those who do evil, so that they can be reformed. This is also done to protect the innocent members of society.
- If police officers carry out their duties correctly, they should be rewarded.
- Police officers who do not carry out their duties correctly should be punished.
II. All police officers have broken the laws of God and need a Savior.
As a follower of Christ, I am taught to obey the laws of the government and part of those laws deal with obeying the traffic laws. I cannot boast that I have always kept every traffic law though because I have not. I wish I were able to obey all the traffic laws all the time. I have broken some of the laws intentionally and others unintentionally. In both cases, I received punishment for my crimes in the form of tickets. The same can be said about the laws of God. All people have fallen short of full obedience to God, even police officers. In fact, I was speaking to an officer one time and he confessed to me that even though he was married, he was living with another man’s wife. He knew it was wrong and wanted to stop but he could not do it. He asked me for some advice. In Romans 3:23 we find the following truth about all people:
for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,
The “all” in this verse, also includes police officers. That is bad news in itself, but, it gets worse before it can get better. In Romans 6:23 we are told that:
For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are all sinners and the punishment for sin is death. This is the bad news. The good news of the Gospel is that God exchanges payment with us. He takes our punishment and offers eternal life to us in Jesus Christ as our Lord. If you do not make this exchange with God, then there is more bad news. In the final book of the Bible, the book of Revelation, written by Saint John, in chapter 20 verses 11-15 we find the following bad news:
Then I saw a great white throne and Him who sat upon it, from whose presence earth and heaven fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne, and books were opened; and another book was opened, which is the book of life; and the dead were judged from the things which were written in the books, according to their deeds. And the sea gave up the dead which were in it, and death and Hades gave up the dead which were in them; and they were judged, every one of them according to their deeds. Then death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire.
From these previous verses, the following things become clear to us:
- All police officers, like all people, have sinned against a holy God, which brings about death as punishment.
- God has a book of records for each police officer where He notes every thing that the police officer does, either good or bad. The officer will be judged according to what is written in the book about him.
- Police officers, like all people, cannot hide anything from God.
- Police officers who have accepted Christ as Lord and Savior will not be judged on that day because their names are written in the book of life.
III. Every police officer has a chance to be forgiven by God, by grace, through faith in Jesus Christ.
As we saw from the previous verses, all people were created to glorify God yet we have all sinned and fallen short of the glory of God and deserve condemnation for our actions (sins). Is this why God created us, to be condemned? Is this God’s desire of mankind, especially since the Scriptures teach us that God is LOVE? May it never be!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but have eternal life. “For God did not send the Son into the world to judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him. “He who believes in Him is not judged; he who does not believe has been judged already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God. (John 3:16-18)
God loves us so much that He wants to transform us from His enemies to His followers. God’s salvation is in the person of Jesus Christ. He offers salvation to us by grace through faith. We must accept Christ as Lord and Savior. Faith is not just a mental acceptance of who Christ is. Faith is putting that understanding into action. Genuine faith produces genuine life transformation. The context of John 3:16 is a discussion between Jesus and a religious man. The religious man wants to know what it takes to get to heaven. Jesus responds that a person must be born again (transformed spiritually from the inside out). When we have faith in Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior, we are born again, our lives are transformed and we are taken from slavery to sin to obedience to God. So, to sum up, this passages teaches us:
- Every police officer has the chance to be forgiven by God by God’s grace through faith in Jesus Christ.
- God wants to transform every police officer from a slave to sin and darkness to an obedient follower of Jesus Christ.
IV. A good police officer will use his job to glorify God.
When John the Baptist was teaching and baptizing people in the Jordan River, a few Roman soldiers came to him. The Romans soldiers were the police officers of the day for Judea. They asked John:
“And what about us, what shall we do?” And he said to them, “Do not take money from anyone by force, or accuse anyone falsely, and be content with your wages.” (Luke 3:14)
According to this discussion and all that we have seen so far, a good police officer who glorifies God is described as follows:
- He will not bribe anyone or take bribe.
- He will not lie and accuse people falsely to cover something up.
- He will punish those who do evil (break the law) in order to protect society.
- He will be content with his wages.
There is one more important thing that I need to mention! If you have believed in Jesus Christ with all of your heart, don’t miss an opportunity to share the words of eternal life through faith in Christ with everyone you meet.
Author: Vasile Filat
Translated by: Erik Brewer