IN THIS WEEK’S BIBLE STUDY I would like to stimulate your thinking about your use of Scripture when debating issues of morality. Many say that since we live in a post-Christian America, a person becomes irrelevant by citing the Scriptures to support a point.
If the Apostle Paul were to personally visit with you, and you picked his mind regarding this matter, what do you think he would say? Short of Paul plopping down at Starbucks with you, I think his writings give us a pretty good understanding of what he’d say about this. So put on your thinking cap and follow me through this study. Come ready to discuss it at your Members Bible Study this week.
President & Founder
This week I would like us to turn to Ephesians 2:19 and answer the question posed in the title to this week’s study:
So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.
How does this passage relate to you as a legislator and to our subject? Those outside of God’s household are strangers and aliens to God. In other words, everyone who knows not Christ — the unredeemed — is a stranger and alien relative to God. Allow me to expand on this thought.
First, let’s set the context. Earlier in Ephesians (2:1) Paul said, “and you were dead in your trespasses and sins,” meaning that everyone who has rejected Christ is spiritually dead. In John 3, Nicodemus — a Pharisee and a leading teacher of Israel — came to Jesus. Notice what Jesus told him in this regard: “Unless one is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.” When Nicodemus asked for clarification, Jesus said, “That which is born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.” Tying the meaning of the passages together, until one is born again, he or she is spiritually dead. Romans 6:23 plainly states, “For the wages of sin is death.”
In a human sense, there are varying degrees of sinfulness: A humanitarian appears better to all of us than an axe murderer. However, in a heavenly sense they both have something in common: Both fall way short of God’s standard of perfection! Both are, spiritually speaking, “children of wrath” (Eph. 2:3). John 3:36 states, “He who does not obey the Son shall not see life, but the wrath of God abides on him.” In essence, God has declared war on all who reject Him. This is not a sudden, emotional reaction by God, but a settled, determined response of a righteous God who cannot abide with sin (cf. Psa. 2:5, 12; 45:7; 75:8; 76:6,7; 78:49-51; 90:7-9; Isa. 51:17; Jer. 25:15,16; Jn. 3:36; Rom. 9:22; Col. 3:5,6). Further, Ephesians 5:6 states, “The wrath of God comes upon the sons of disobedience.” Unregenerate people are at odds with the holy God of the universe and His laws. If what I have just said conjures memories of the classic sermon, “Sinners In The Hands Of An Angry God,” then I have done Jonathan Edwards justice. America’s greatest theologian (1703-1758) best captured these truths of Scripture in that famous sermon.
Returning to our home passage this week, what then are some of the other characteristics of those who are strangers and aliens to God? One of particular importance to believing legislators is stated in Romans 1:18: “For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” The word for suppress (katecho) means “to hold down.” Unregenerate, spiritually dead people are controlled not by God, but by Satan. And it is Satan who is committed to restraining truth. That is to say this: Ungodly men and women suppress the truth. Why? John 3:19 states,
This is the judgment, that the light is come into the world, and men loved the darkness rather than the light; for their deeds were evil.
Here is the point of my introduction: If it is true that non-believers suppress the truth in unrighteousness and that as a believer you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household, then there should be — and are — ensuing implications for how you debate biblical/moral issues with them. The first one is:
II. DO NOT EXPECT TO BE ABLE TO REASON WITH NON-BELIEVERS ON MORAL MATTERS
There are certain institutes that train legislators to argue apart from using the Scripture as their authority even though the matter they are debating is a biblically-based issue. Their reasoning goes something like this: “We live in a post-Christian world where the Bible is deemed obsolete and irrelevant, therefore its use is ineffective.” I believe Paul would counsel you to take the opposite approach: He would say that the believing Public Servant who desires to be effective must avoid succumbing to such thinking. For one, it runs antithetical to what Paul said in 1Corinthians 1:18-31. Please allow me to elucidate the fallacy of this anti-Pauline way of debating and why, apart from the presumption of absolutes, you will lose most moral arguments on the Hill or in Town Hall meetings.
When arguing apart from scriptural absolutism, the Christian Public Servant immediately lowers him or herself from the God-given title, responsibility, and charge of being a member of God’s Household. Remember, you are someone chosen by God, as an ambassador for Christ for leadership in His institution of the State (cf. Eph. 1:4; 2Cor. 5:20; Rom. 13:1-8 resp.). God has appointed you as an ambassador to those held captive to relativism (the theory that truth is not absolute but is relative to the individual or group that holds to it). Allow me to illustrate via some statistics from the homosexual debate:
Many believers falsely conclude that this is convincing evidence to support the point that the homosexual lifestyle is wrong. But correlations are not the same as causes: one could just as easily argue that homosexuals die earlier because they face more persecution than heterosexuals. More important, such comparative illustrations are devoid of moral finality; for a believer to argue from statistics is to compete in an arena absent moral conclusiveness. In contrast, the believer who argues from Scripture stands firm on his or her heavenly-chosen ambassadorship conjoined with God’s moral authority per His Book.
To think that, since we live in a post-Christian world, we must reason from a premise that is acceptable to the unbeliever, is to cede the home court advantage. Think about it through Pauline insight: As much as we love the unsaved, who can effectively engage and debate with spiritual cadavers? Who can expect to win hearts and minds in a morgue?
III. WE MUST WORK TO WIN THE LOST TO CHRIST
This is the second principle regarding debating with those who reject being reconciled to God through Christ Jesus: The Scriptures state that it is only in reconciliation that the fallen mind can begin to reason morally. There is no use trying to convince an unregenerate person that your position is right. When Paul visited Corinth, he did not attempt to argue his morality. He did not attempt to moralize the immoral. Rather he preached the gospel (1Cor. 1:17). He evangelized the lost, the strangers and aliens, as he referred to them, the dead children of wrath.
Knowing that a non-Christian cannot land on biblical conclusions begs that the primary objective of any Christian legislator be that of winning fellow members to Christ! Any other agenda is futile! Notice in Luke 4 how Jesus interacts directly with the devil. (More will be said about this passage later.) He never debated him. He only used Scripture in response. Recognize from this passage the fact that each time Jesus used Scripture on the Devil, it silenced him — and so the Devil changes subjects all the time. You will find the same thing when you use Scripture on the Hill or in your district or state.
How then can you learn to use Scripture like Jesus? Let me role-play how the believer should handle a moral debate. Again, I will use the relevant issue of homosexuality.
Protagonist: I am asking for your vote on a bill which elevates the rights of a homosexual.
Antagonist: Proverbs 14:34 says, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” I oppose the bill because God’s Word says that homosexuality is wrong.
Protagonist: But that’s just a matter of your own interpretation.
Antagonist: Leviticus 18:22 says, “You shall not lie with a male as with a female. It is an abomination.” The sin of homosexuality is restated in Romans 1; 1Corinthians 6; 2Peter 2; and in Jude. My friend, what part of these perspicuous scriptural passages are you having trouble interpreting? Is this an issue of my interpretation of scriptural truth or is it an issue of your rejection of scriptural truth?
Protagonist: “We live in a different time and culture than when those things were written.”
Antagonist: Jesus said, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass away from the law.” It seems you are disagreeing with Jesus’ statements about the relevancy of His Word for today. So, are you asking the members of this committee to believe your views on scriptural relevance over and above Jesus’? Are you saying your opinion on this matter is preeminent to His?
Obviously, the debate could go many different directions, but the wise believing Public Servant uses the Word as authority, not personal opinion, and doesn’t concede to moral relativism, lest he lose the home court advantage. The Word is the instrument that God has energized (Heb. 4:12) to do His kind intention. It is His sword of the Spirit (Eph. 6:17). For a believer, to begin rationalizing with an unbeliever is to put oneself in a position where it is difficult to come out victorious. It also reveals a huge naiveté relative to whom it is you are speaking — someone who is dead in trespasses and sin, committed to suppressing the truth in unrighteousness, who loves the darkness more than the light. As much as we love the lost, this is their condition without Christ.
How can someone who rejects the author of Scripture be expected to accept the precepts of His Book? Why argue with those who are dead in their trespasses and sin — has not God called us instead to resuscitate them? Do you think they hear you? I realize this form of argumentation is new for most Public Servants.
The secular media has portrayed those who argue from Scripture as idiots! But don’t allow Hollywood to affect your thinking, allow the Word of God to affect your thinking!
I realize this form of argumentation is new for most Public Servants. The secular media has portrayed those who argue from Scripture as idiots! But don’t allow Hollywood to affect your thinking; allow the Word of God to affect your thinking! See what God will do when you honor Him by reliance on Him and His Word! Remember the promise of 2Chronicles 16:9:
For the eyes of the Lord move to and fro throughout the earth that He may strongly support those whose heart is completely His.
With this attitude, perspective and commitment, serious Bible study suddenly takes on a whole new realm of importance!
Stop traveling to away games and competing with your opponent at “Relative Arena.” Choose instead to play at home on “Heavenly Field!” Covenant with God to use Scripture during your next moral competition and see what happens! Remember what Paul says to you in 2Timothy 2:4 under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit:
No soldier in active service entangles himself in the affairs of everyday life, so that he may please the one who enlisted him as a soldier.
IV. WE MUST UNDERSTAND AND BE CONVINCED OF SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY
The third principle for the use of Scripture in moral debate is this — further convincing! I realize this study is challenging, to say the least. Therefore please allow me to drill down exegetically on the idea of scriptural authority in order to be more convincing, and hopefully guide and buoy convictions in this regard. Here are three biblically cogent reasons why you should rely on scriptural authority when arguing for biblically explicit/moral positions. They are as follows . . . .
A. THE CONSIGNMENT OF SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY
Members of God’s Household, His ambassadors for Christ, have scriptural authority consigned to them by God. However, the believer’s reliance on God’s Word in public debate might not reflect this truth. Many believers instead choose to rely on their seasoned, rational, pragmatic debating skills honed from years of public service and university training. The question must then be raised: do such believers really understand that God has invested them with scriptural authority? Again, such authority is preeminent over human reason. The former contains moral absolutes and the latter does not. In 1Corinthians 1:20, 26 Paul attests to the supremacy of God’s Word in relation to human reasoning . . . .
Where is the wise man? Where is the scribe? Where is the debater of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? . . . . For consider your calling, brethren . . . .
Scripture is sufficient and preeminent! By relying on it, the member of God’s household attests to God’s predominance over and above himself. The following three passages underscore the authority of God’s Word over and above man’s wisdom.
1. 2Timothy 3:16-17
All Scripture is inspired by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness; so that the man of God may be adequate, equipped for every good work.
This Pauline passage in the Pastoral Epistles provides powerful insights for those who lead in God’s work. The man of God refers to a spiritual leader, (here, contextually, in the institution of the Church), but the insight is applicable here relative to the presuppositional basis of authority for anyone leading in the institution of the State. First, note the exclusive relationship between the man of God and his intended-by-God reliance on Scripture graphe. Now note that in the later part of the passage Paul is saying that the spiritual leader, by using Scripture, is: (a) Adequate, (b) Equipped, and in terms of the breadth of the aforementioned, (c) For Everything. Let us examine each of these declarative truths more carefully:
The word adequate (artios) means “entirely suited and fitted.” It means “complete” or “perfect.”
The word equipped (exartizo) is in the perfect tense, meaning an event that occurred in the past with ongoing ramifications in the present. It means “having been furnished.” Plus, it is in the passive voice, meaning the action is being done to me, i.e., an event in the past (being called to God’s household by Him on the day of my salvation) has ongoing ramifications in the present — and being equipped now is not attributable to me; rather, God is equipping me! In essence, given the Greek tense and voice of the verb, it means that the believer has been consigned and invested with scriptural authority!
c. For Everything
This word every (pan) means “all.”
In reassembling the passage: Members of God’s household, His Ambassadors, are entirely suited and fitted by Scripture, God’s Word for every good work, which would include debating moral matters on the Hill and in the district. God has equipped and furnished me with everything that is necessary to accomplish His work in and through me! I need not be afraid. Christ and His Word have made and continue to make me totally sufficient to accomplish my calling
2. Hebrews 4:12
For the Word of God is living and active and sharper than any two-edged sword, and piercing as far as the division of soul and spirit, of both joints and marrow, and able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart.
I will not take the space to set the context of this passage, but suffice to say it is set and purposed to contrast between the Spirit and the flesh. The words soul and spirit together describe the inner man in contrast to the outer man, as described by joints and marrow. Both dual parallelisms/phrases are intended to elucidate their respective contrasting category of distinction.
In essence the Word of God has the ability, in that it is living (zao), meaning “to be alive” and active (energeia), “working or energized” to pierce and divide the matters of inner truth (soul and spirit) away and apart from matters of outward falsity (joints and marrow). The result is that the Word is able to judge (kritikos), meaning “critique” or “criticize” the thoughts and intentions of the heart. One commentator’s remarks on this passage reveal the tremendous benefits available to the skilled Public Servant who learns to use God’s Word effectively in support of his or her positions:
God’s Word is the perfect discerner. It not only analyzes all the facts perfectly, but all motives, and intentions, and beliefs as well, which even the wisest of human judges or critics cannot do . . . . The Word rips off all disguises and only the real . . . . is seen.
That’s what this passage is intending to communicate to you and me. The inherent power of the Word of God should not come as a surprise. Theologically speaking, John 1:1 states, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God and the Word was God.” Verse 14 of the same chapter goes on to state that, “the Word became flesh and dwelt amongst us” in reference to Christ. Given the resurrection of Christ, should it be of any wonder here in Hebrews 4:12 that Scripture attests to the fact that “The Word of God is alive, working and energized?” Of course it is! The resurrected living Christ and the living Word are theological synonyms! He is alive and His Word is alive! Therefore, whenever you use His Word, it is akin to having Christ show up at the debate! How persuasive is that when debating a moral bill? Why not then use the power of that resource versus moral relativism or “pragmatic” arguments? Remember, too, that your colleagues and others will think twice before publicly rejecting Christ. So what do you think is more effective: to speak for yourself or to speak from and based upon the treasure trove of the Word of God that you have been consigned with as a believer?
3. Matthew and Luke, Chapter 4
Space limitations prohibit me from listing these lengthy parallel accounts of Satan’s temptation of Christ in the wilderness; make sure you take the time to read these passages. Assuming so, let us cut to the chase and analyze the specificity of the content relative to the back-and-forth struggle between Christ and Satan for home-court advantage. In each of the three exchanges, Satan attempts to lure Christ onto his playing field of moral relativism and “pragmatic” argumentation. But notice on each occasion that Jesus answers with Scripture! Satan’s response: In each round, he refuses to play on Jesus’ home court! He knows where that leads! He loses big time! So what does he do? Each time he changes the subject, attempting again and again to lure Jesus onto his playing field! You get the point; the application to our discussion is obvious. Here’s the take away:
Begin with the presupposition of scriptural authority, even if your opponent rejects it. In such instances, the most important thing you can accomplish is to bring your opponent to the clear realization that he has no basis for his position except self-preference and that he is rejecting Christ and His Word. I like to conclude such interchanges with, “You realize that in taking that position, you are saying you know better than Jesus Christ and God’s Word.” Most Public Servants in America will reconsider their position when confronted with such a characterization. Such labeling, fortunately, is still considered politically toxic in many areas of the country. Most of your colleagues do not want that shingle hanging over their district office door(s).
B. THERE ARE NO COEQUALS TO SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY
At this point you may be thinking, “I agree that we need to use truth, but isn’t all truth God’s truth?” This is an important matter to clarify in consideration of our topic. For instance, as you think this through, you may be asking, “Can I not use the measurable consequences of sin to make my point . . . or the various truths of scientific discovery? Is not their verity as effective in argumentation as Scripture?” No, it isn’t. And here is why.
Before basing an argument on the measurable consequences of sin, keep in mind that not all sin has present, measurable consequences. To make consequential evidence the determining factor in moral debate might mean you never address certain moral issues. For instance, the sin of greed or laziness: The consequences of those sins are not necessarily immediate nor readily identifiable. Therefore, to follow that line of thinking, one could never debate the immorality of greed or laziness because they are not necessarily consequential or costly in the present.
What about the use of scientific discovery? The answer too is “no,” but the reasons why are a bit lengthier . . . .
Scripture reveals that there are two types of revelation: That which is termed special, i.e., the whole of the Scriptures, and that which is deemed natural, or general. General Revelation is the primary subject of Psalms 19 and Romans 1. It is the disclosure of God in nature and in the moral law written in the heart of every human being. A good theological definition of General Revelation is this: “It is God’s communication of Himself to all persons at all times and in all places.” This definition is important.
Why? Some reason that under the broad banner and auspices of General Revelation there is room, opportunity, and license to validate the use of science, mathematics, astronomy, or psychology (to name but a few) as peers to scriptural authority — especially when presenting an argument or counter-argument on a moral matter. Do not fall for this way of thinking, my friend. Yes, all truth is God’s truth, but other sources of truth . . . .
1. Exist with varying degrees of certitude
Whereas the propositions of Scripture are and have always been true, the hypotheses of science, medicine, or other disciplines are much less certain. Although scientific truth may be true, conclusive evidence may be left to the future. To illustrate this, the LA Times ran an article stating:
In a major confirmation of Einstein’s theory on gravity, astrophysicists have seen evidence that space gets dragged around by spinning objects like the train of a wedding dress circling a twirling bride. If correct, the findings — announced Thursday at a meeting in Colorado — pin down one of the final predictions of Einstein’s theory, which forms the bedrock of physicists’ understanding of all large scale events in the universe.”
Note the first word “confirmation” which is later defined by the caveat, “if correct.” This cameo serves to make the point. Unlike God’s laws, all scientific beliefs, whether called “theories” or “laws,” are subject to revision. Newton’s “laws of motion” turn out to apply only in limited circumstances, and one scientist after another has criticized Einstein’s theory on gravity. Similarly, Darwin’s theory of evolution, so beloved of secular humanists, has been seriously undermined by discoveries relative to DNA — unknown at the time of Darwin’s postulations. Darwin’s “science” may well be proven wrong, not right. Whereas the Scripture is certain, science is not. Scientist Taylor James summarily makes my point: “The Word of God is inherently more reliable than science.” All truth is God’s truth, but when it comes to the “truths” of science, only time will tell; scientific truth therefore has a lesser degree of certainty.
2. Exist with varying degrees of authority
When the Scriptures speak, they are replete with and homogeneous in their authority. Other sources of truth are not. Many are those who claim to have the truth. But in fact, the only place where science is claimed to be “settled” is in the certain pronouncements of highly interested people. Similarly, the truths that pertain to technology are debatable, and hotly debated between experts. They are subject to interpretation and to future redefinition, and thus are inherently inconclusive. In stark contrast is the clarion, authoritative voice of God’s perspicuous Word, which repeatedly self-attests to its infallibility and inerrancy.
3. Exist with varying degrees of receptivity
We have already seen that unregenerate men and women “suppress the truth in unrighteousness” (Rom. 1:18). If this proposition is true, then one must be shrewd. Do you easily trust the supposed “objective” sources of truth apart from Scripture? How many of us have experienced media interviews where sound bites are twisted and misconstrued . . . even on matters with little moral consequence? Note in this regard theologian Kantzer’s quote relative to the doctrine of the depravity of man:
“The nearer a man gets to the vital core of his obedience to God, the greater is the corruption of his thinking due to sin.”
In other words, to rely on sources other than Scripture when debating moral bills is to rely on evidence that could be tainted or tinged — especially on matters such as abortion or homosexuality. Do not be naïve. Jesus told his disciples when He sent them out to be “as shrewd as serpents and innocent as doves” (Mat. 10:16). Sinful man has a bias to “suppress the truth in unrighteousness.” Why take the word of such “experts” if they have a professed bias concerning the veracity of Jesus Christ?
4. There are negative consequence to thinking there are co-equals to scriptural authority
Conclusively, members of God’s household cannot argue that extra-biblical sources in support of moral argumentation are authoritative companions of and with Scripture — as if they fall under Scripture’s banner and license of being deemed “General Revelation.” Such is faulty theological categorization. Other sources absolutely do not fit the theological definition of General Revelation (which is another study). Nothing outside of Scripture is equal with scriptural authority. God has not called us into His household for us to in turn displace His Word with some lesser authority! We are to be the invokers of His Special Revelation. Let us not be categorized in a way similar to what the Prophet Hosea said (4:6) to Israel’s leaders . . . .
My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge. Because you have rejected knowledge, I also will reject you from being my priest.
Ancient Israel’s leaders ignored authoritatively invoking God’s Word as it pertained to the direction of their nation. May that not be said of you my friend. Unfortunately, in our increasingly anti-intellectual American Christianity, there is little exegetical illumination regarding a spiritual leader’s identity and responsibilities in Christ. My prayer, beloved, is that God does not reject us from leadership because we reject being knowledgeable of who we are and what we are called to do in Christ.
C. THERE ARE POSITIVE CONSEQUENCES OF SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY
What are the realistic consequences of standing on scriptural authority? Certainly, others will not count you among the masses. In Matthew 5:10-11 Jesus states . . . .
Blessed are those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, and persecute you, and falsely say all kinds of evil against you on account of Me.
A sure-fire biblical litmus test to measure whether or not you are blessed in God’s eyes is the number of enemies you have (not that you strive to create them) specifically and only related to your biblical stances; inevitably persecution results (cf. Jn. 3:19). If you have no enemies, is it because you have shrunk from your declarative calling in and by Christ? Make no wrong evaluation here: To stand on scriptural authority as your basis in argumentation will yield persecution. But such is a small cost in terms of the eternal heavenly rewards that will inure to your account — to say nothing of America’s increasing need for Public Servants who will herald His Word in love with confidence and boldness! Will you be one of them or not?
V. POSSIBLE INHIBITORS FOR ADVOCATING WITH SCRIPTURAL AUTHORITY
If the use of God’s Word sufficiently and entirely equips you — because it is living and active — then why would anyone think or reason apart from it? Here are some possible reasons:
A. IS COWARDICE A REASON YOU SHRINK FROM DECLARING THE WORD OF GOD?
Paul told fainthearted Timothy, “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2Tim. 1:7).
B. ARE YOU FEARFUL OF BEING LABELED A “BIBLE THUMPER?”
Typically people who earn that title lack any kind of real concern for people and have a self-righteous demeanor, versus one of brokenness and humility in Christ. People greatly respect those who speak the truth in love. Speak the truth with the love of Christ and see what happens.
C. DO YOU FEAR NOT BEING RE-ELECTED?
Romans 13 states that God appoints leaders to rule in His institution of Government. In America, He uses people’s votes to achieve His sovereign results. He is the one who ultimately raises one and lowers another (Psa. 75:7) in order to achieve His divine plan. Paul said in Galatians 1:10 in reference to his own perceptions of these truths regarding his personal appointment by God to lead (in his case the institution of the Church) . . . .
For am I now seeking the favor of men or of God? Or am I striving to please men? If I were still trying to please men, I would not be a bond-servant of Christ.
D. DO YOU FEAR NOT KNOWING WHAT TO SAY?
Another reason for hesitation might be uncertainty about how to make the biblical argument. In Matthew 10:18-20, when He was sending out His disciples, Jesus told them not to worry about how or what to say, because when
. . . . you will . . . be brought before governors and kings for my sake . . . . it will be given to you in that hour what you are to say. For it is not you who speak, but it is the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.
This is a great passage of assurance. In essence, daring to use the Bible authoritatively in the Capitol is a matter of stretching yourself into new areas of obedience: It is a matter of faith. Live to please God, viewing Him as your only audience; ultimately He is the only one you should be striving to please.
VI. CONCLUSION RESULTS
Do not be afraid to use the Scripture authoritatively in the Capitol even though we live in a post-Christian America. Remember what John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.” Do not be afraid to use the Scripture authoritatively in the Capitol, even though we live in a post-Christian America. Remember what John Adams said, “Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other.”