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. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God's servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Our understanding of Paul's views on government impacts our lives more in the spiritual realm than the earthly realm. Yes, Paul says that we shout submit to governing authorities, but only where those authorities do not interfere with the word of God. Where the Word of God takes precedence is where we must disobey human authority. Still, Romans 13:1-7 tells us that human authority is given by God for our protection from Satanic forces that rule the earth. If we refuse to live in submission to the government, we will be dishonoring God, and will not only be punished by humanly authorities if we break a law, but by God through our consciences (Rom. 13:5). Our bad consciences make us fear reprisal either through death or years in prison; our sins should do the same thing. If we fear displeasing God, who will "punish" us at a future date because of our sinning, then we should not want to displease earthly authority who can punish us now and into the future. Paul tells us that obedience with both God and the government will bring us a peace from the terror of doing wrong (Rom. 13:3). Whether Roman authority, or the authority of Jesus Christ, we should all obey for it is the right thing to do.
When it comes to standing up to the government, we should always stand up where humans are being mistreated in any way, especially if they are innocent. If we did not stand up to our government, this could very easily become another Soviet Russia, where the entire population was under the control of a communistic government that set wages (low), and handed out only as much food as people needed and no more. Thankfully, that regime ended under its own Satanic weight of oppression and depression. It is always appropriate to stand up to governments whose only wish is to keep its people from living free, happy lives. There is still too much of this going on in our world and only a global revival from the Holy Spirit is going to change things for the better. Whether it be the first century or twenty-first century governments must not be allowed to do whatever they want with the lives of their people. Even America, a land of freedom and prosperity, must watch itself, or else it, too, will fall into the hands of those who don't care about the people. We're not there yet, are we?
Comment: "Is standing up to the government is appropriate only when they misuse their power and become corrupt? Is this an objective idea? If not, how can we know what "corrupt" is? It seems like many Christians think the government is corrupt now (Obama, big oil, stock market and financial industries stealing money, etc), so what is stopping Christians from standing against the government, and how do we know if it is the correct biblical situation to do so?"
Author Response: For me a government is corrupt when 1) they don't adhere to the precepts and commands of God; 2) when anything they do benefits the politicians or the government more than it actually benefits the people of America; 3) when the lobbyists make more money off the deal than I do; 4) when government officials keep on getting special perks while a lot of this country goes hungry; 5) when the President feels that he needs to let everyone in the country know that he is taking an expensive vacation while a lot of people don't get vacations because their employers can't afford to let their employees have one; 6) when a huge portion of this country goes without health insurance either because they can't get a full-time job with benefits, or the insurance is too expensive for a workers meager paycheck to pay for; 7) need I go on????
We as Christians are letting these things happen because we know that we will be with Jesus in the future where we will be taken out of all this corruption, both spiritually and physically. Why should we help out when we have Jesus in our corner to feed and clothe us and to fulfill our daily needs? As Jesus said, we He find any actual faith in His followers when He returns. I believe that that faith involves the faith that Jesus will turn things around now, today, if we just allow Him to lead us to where we can do some good for those who can't do that good for themselves. Our faith should be in Jesus, not the governments, because man will always let you down.
Comment: "Paul tells us that the reason Christian are to submit to the government is the biblical truth that God has ordained and appointed all governing authorities and that it follows that anyone who resists the divinely appointed authority resists God Himself and will incur God's judgment."
Author Response: We can see in the wars overseas what happens when people revolt against their governments. More times than not, the people lose and end up getting a worse government than before. The only times that I can remember when the people actually won was the fall of communism in the U.S.S.R., the fall of the Berlin wall in Germany, the fall of the Japanese in World War One, and the fall of Hitler in World War Two. But should a country's citizens always be pawns of their government? Must we always bow down to those who would rather do for themselves than to do for the good of the country? In America, we have free voting to change out the people in our government that we don't want there. The problem with this is a lot of people don't vote and then complain when the person who got into office turns out to be not who THEY wanted in office. But to answer my question above, God says we are to obey at all times. Why would He tell us to do that when He knows it could mean the death of lots of people? The answer is, God knows exactly who is in office at all times because He put them there for one main reason: so that we would not trust in man's way of governing and turn to the only One who can bring us the freedom we seek. God is not surprised by anything out elected officials do, He knows it all. God made His plan very simple trust in Him and not man and everything will turn out for the best of all people everywhere. World governments prove to us every day that man's way just does not work, so why trust it?
Comment: "One thing that really jumps out at me is the fact if God appoints all in law governed position then why would he allow for the same government to take prayer out of our school."
Author Response: Don't forget what it says in James 1:13-15: "And remember, when you are being tempted, do not say, "God is tempting me." God is never tempted to do wrong, and he never tempts anyone else. Temptation comes from our own desires, which entice us and drag us away. These desires give birth to sinful actions. And when sin is allowed to grow, it gives birth to death" (NLT). The evil deeds of evil men come from their wanting to do evil. Yes, God puts who He wants in office, even if we have no idea how He accomplishes it, but once they are there they are supposed to be using God's wisdom and power, instead they use their own sinful natures to do whatever it is they want. Still, we know that God will use these men and women in some way, shape, or form, even if we can't see what that is. We just need to trust God that He knows exactly what He is doing in these matters. Even corrupt men and women have a part in God's grand plan for humanity.
Bobby Bruno was saved 15 years ago in a way that left him no doubt that Jesus wanted him to reach others with His great and abounding love. He started writing at the age of 12 and hasn't stopped since. He achieved Associates Degree in Biblical Studies from Ohio Christian University in early 2014.
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