Three Branches of Government

Three Branches of Government

The U.S. Constitution specifies three separate branches that make up our government: legislative, executive, and judicial. These branches of government are not unique to the United States. Every government will carry out these functions in one way or another.

When it comes to the rule of God, His government performs the same legislative, executive, and judicial functions. Isaiah wrote, “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us” (Isaiah 33:22). We live under a different covenant today than the Israelites did at the time of this writing. They were part of God’s kingdom in the nation of Israel. We are part of Christ’s kingdom today in the church. But even today, when we examine the rule of Christ, we see that Jesus completely and sufficiently carries out the role of each branch of government in His kingdom.

The Lord is our Judge – While Jesus came first to save rather than to pronounce judgment (John 3:17), He has now been “appointed by God as Judge of the living and the dead” (Acts 10:42). When He returns, we will “all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad” (2 Corinthians 5:10). He is perfectly qualified to be Judge because He is unbiased (Acts 10:34-35) and, as the Word that was made flesh (John 1:14), He has a perfect knowledge and understanding of the law. Since He does not change (Hebrews 13:8), we know that He will render judgments uniformly and fairly. He has the exclusive right to judge us; therefore, we are not to allow the judgments of others, or the judgments we make ourselves, to overrule His (Colossians 2:16-17; 1 Corinthians 4:3-4).

The Lord is our Lawgiver – Isaiah prophesied that when the Lord’s kingdom would be established, “the law will go forth from Zion” (Isaiah 2:3). Some claim that Christians are not under a law today, but that is simply not the case. In trying to convert others, Paul said he became “to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ” (1 Corinthians 9:21). We have been given the Word which reveals Christ’s law. In it we see the commands we are to obey (Matthew 28:20) and the pattern to which we are to adhere (2 Timothy 1:13). We are told of the importance of finding authority in His word for all the things that we do (Colossians 3:17). In His word, we have everything we need (2 Peter 1:3; 2 Timothy 3:16-17), eliminating the need to look to others for instructions. Unlike the laws of man, His word does not change (1 Peter 1:25; Galatians 1:8) and is simple enough that we can understand it (Ephesians 3:4).

The Lord is our King – Jesus plainly affirmed to Pilate that He was a king. He told the governor, “My kingdom is not of this world. If My kingdom were of this world, then My servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, My kingdom is not of this realm” (John 18:36). When Pilate then asked if Jesus was a king, He answered, “You say correctly that I am a king” (John 18:37). Many believe that Jesus today is a king that is still waiting to receive His kingdom. Yet the Scriptures teach that His kingdom is already in existence. He promised His disciples that it would be founded in the lifetime of some of those standing there (Mark 9:1). Paul told the brethren in Colosse that they were already in the kingdom (Colossians 1:13). He is a king and we must be part of His kingdom. To do so, we must submit to Him as the one who possesses all authority (Matthew 28:18).

The outcome of submitting to Christ and living under His government, Isaiah said, is salvation: “For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; He will save us” (Isaiah 33:22). When it comes to spiritual salvation or punishment, no human government can save us. Isaiah made this point earlier (Isaiah 31:1). Salvation is only to be found in Christ (Acts 4:12). We must become part of His kingdom and submit to His laws so that we can be prepared to stand before Him in judgment.

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