1 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. 2Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has…
I disagree, brother (or sister.. I don’t know to whom this blog belongs (do you see how pretentious correct grammar can sound??)).
That’s one of the verses I struggle explaining to non-Christians sometimes.
See, God gave us two commandments: love the Lord your God, and love Your neighbour as yourself. (Luke 10:27)
How do I justify submitting to a government that requires me to do something that is against God? I can’t. And thankfully as an Australian citizen and foreigner in China, I’ve not yet had to make that choice.
But what did godly men in the Bible do when faced with this situation?
Let’s look at an Old Testament example first:
“‘The royal administrators, prefects, satraps, advisers and governors have all agreed that the king should issue an edict and enforce the decree that anyone who prayed to any god or man during the next thirty days, except to you, O king, shall be thrown into the lions’ den.’ … So King Darius put the decree in writing. Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.”
Or what about this particular man from the New Testament?
"Another time [Jesus] went into the synagogue, and a man with a shrivelled hand was there. Some of them were looking for a reason to accuse Jesus, so they watched Him closely to see if He would heal him on the Sabbath. Jesus said to the man with the shrivelled hand, ‘Stand up in front of everyone.’ Then Jesus asked them, ‘Which is lawful on the Sabbath: to do good or to do evil, to save life or to kill?’”
Jesus goes on to heal the man, even though it was against the law to work on the Sabbath.
I feel like these two godly (one of them pretty super godly…) men chose not to obey their authorities because they could not justify submitting to a government who wanted them to do something that was against God.
There are pastors in this country who are jailed for illegally preaching the Word of God. I have heard talks from people who have illegally smuggled Bibles into North Korea. And I have many more stories from China that would be unwise to share on here.
Now, don’t get me wrong; this is not an excuse to go out and disobey your government. I also was convicted a few years ago to delete all music I couldn’t remember purchasing or legally acquiring, and it was this verse that convicted me. But I do not believe we are called to blindly follow everything our governments tell us to do.
It’s illegal to be a Christian in some countries. Should these people renounce their faith to obey man, or obey God and suffer man’s punishment?
"Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven."
Let’s look again at the example of Jesus:
He said, “Father, if You are willing, take this cup from me; yet not my will, but Yours be done.” (Luke 22:42) Yes, Jesus could have changed Pilate’s mind and destroyed the cross, but He submitted to God’s will. He effectively chose the first option.
Which will you choose?