Romans Chapter 13
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Wow, this is a tough passage for me. I hate politics. Or more accurately, I really dislike polices, laws, and politicians that I disagree with, especially on a moral basis. We live in a country where it is legal to end the life of a human baby, for no other reason than the mother just doesn’t want it. I have a big problem with that. So how do I deal with that reality in light of this scripture passage?
It would seem that God has allowed the people to be in position that have allowed abortion to become law of the land. And yet God certainly would not approve of this law or many others that exist in our country and other countries. Worse yet, we are told to submit to these authorities.
The truth is, God does not condone all of the decisions of government. He simply allows them to be in place. Sometimes He may use rulers to bless people, sometimes He may use rulers to judge people and sometimes we may not know why he has certain rulers in place. But regardless, the simple message from Paul is that we need to submit to authority in general. This is a model of submission to God. Keep in mind that when Paul wrote this, it was during the reign of the Roman Empire. It was no democracy, and no special friend to Christians – yet he still saw their legitimate authority.
Since governments have authority from God, we are bound to obey them – unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God’s law. Then, we are commanded to obey God before man. John and Peter demonstrated that in Acts 4:18-19.
I have to live with and submit to the authorities that God has put in charge, but that by no means requires me to blindly follow every edict from those same authorities if it means breaking God’s law. God is the supreme authority, and His rule is superior to anyone He has placed in lesser authority over us.