Government submission

(Dave Troxell) #1

I have been looking for insight on versus such as Roman’s 13 where it speaks of submitting to government and that such governing bodies and people are in place by God.

This confuses me in such instances as the American Revolution, Nazi Germany, modern day North Korea etc.

(Mark Garr) #2

I agree with submitting but not when it is contrary to the word of God. Gods word trumps all.

(SeanO) #3

@Dtroxell That is a very good question. I think it is important to remember that Romans was written in a specific context to a specific group of people. Paul is encouraging them to be good citizens - not to obey men rather than God. We see clear examples of civil disobedience commended in the Scriptures - Shiphrah and Puah in the Old Testament, who saved the Israelite babies even though commanded to kill them. And this example of Peter and John before the authorities:

Acts 4:18-20 - Then they called them in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Which is right in God’s eyes: to listen to you, or to him? You be the judges! 20 As for us, we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard.”

God is our only master. Because God does raise up kings and depose them, we ought to honor them as they honor God and uphold justice. But when they commit injustice, it is our job to be a prophetic voice; a light in a broken world, even if it cost us our lives. Here is an article from John Piper addressing this very question that I thought was helpful.

What are your thoughts about the article? Is it helpful, or do you have more questions? What caused you to ask this question initially? May the Lord grant you wisdom and understanding.

"We can sum up in several sentences. 1) There is no authority except from God. The greatest human ruler should humbly confess he is where he is by virtue of God’s sovereign appointment. 2) Nevertheless, some rules and governments are good, and some are bad. Some reward the right and punish the wrong. Others do the reverse. Most do a little of both. 3) Therefore, the demand for subjection is relative, not absolute. It depends on whether the demands of the governing authorities require us to disobey Jesus. If they do, we will not be subject at that point but will say with Peter, “We must obey God rather than men.” We will honor God above the state.

But if the demands of the state do not require us to disobey Jesus (as with speed limits, stop signs, income taxes, curfews, building codes, fishing licenses, and many other laws), we will be subject for the Lord’s sake ([1 Peter 2:13]). And it is very important to stress that, just as we may have to disobey the civil authorities for Christ’s sake, so all our obedience should be for his sake as well. We never have two masters. All our submission to man is not only limited by the lordship of Christ; it is also an expression of our yieldedness to that lordship."