Unlimited: Be Subject to Governing Authorities
Aug 28, 2023 177
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 (Romans 13:1).
For us, this seems to be a startling statement by the apostle Paul. He tells us to be subject to the government.
In his context, Paul is referring to the authority of the Roman empire and those who ruled under it. This was the same power under which he had already suffered so much persecution and that would later have him beheaded. Although the Roman empire brought with it many benefits, in many ways, the Roman emperors were often the most irrational, tyrannical, and maddest governments that have existed on earth. That was to whom Paul was saying that everyone should subject themselves, because their authority had been established by God. How could he say such a thing?
Paul tells us to be subject to the government.
Paul wasn’t alone. This was a principle by which early Christianity lived, as the examples and writings of the apostles abundantly demonstrate (e.g. 1 Pet. 2:13–14.)
While the general principle is that we are to be subject to the governing authorities, there is a law above earthly law, and it is the law of God (Acts 5:29; Matt. 22:21). We should study the examples given in Scripture carefully to identify the principles that determine the boundaries of when a decision must be made to set aside the law of the state for the sake of obedience to God.
How do you react to Paul’s statement that the governments that exist have been established by God?