“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.”
Romans 13:1-7 NKJV
As one treks through the Bible, they come across passages that they do not agree with. In this passage, one must submit entirely to governing authorities as they are appointed by God. That commandment is easy in democratic, freedom loving governmental systems but much harder in violent, corrupt and oppressive nations. How about nations who were freedom loving and were conquered by an oppressive governmental system? Could the American Revolution be an example of violating this Biblical passage? Perhaps not if one considers that the American Revolution resulted in the greater good and has stood the test of time. I’m on the fence on this one because of this passage. Maybe God institutes changing governmental systems on His timetable? If that is the case, change doesn’t happen by us but by Him? So, therefore it is He who makes changes but we are not to be involved? Boy, that makes this passage even more perplexing!
As obedience is also a commandment of God, there are going to be times when believers do not agree with what God commands but follow His Will out of love. As James says:
“Therefore lay aside all filthiness and overflow of wickedness, and receive with meekness the implanted word, which is able to save your souls. But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does.”
James 1:21-25 NKJV
I suppose the best way to handle this is take each day at a time and not bother looking beyond our personal sphere of influence. Even though the World is large and diverse, we must look up and love others who we meet regardless of the governmental system controlling us. Perhaps the reason why God’s Will is to have us not worry about who controls what is so we can focus on our small worlds with love and Him. Regardless of what is going on around me, I must remain peaceful and love those around me. I guess if all of us loved each other as commanded, we would not need to talk about oppression in the first place? Perhaps, as believers, we are the oasis of love and peace among the desert.
Reading on in Romans 13, my thinking is confirmed:
“Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:8-10 NKJV
Even Jesus confirms:
“A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another; as I have loved you, that you also love one another. By this all will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another.””
John 13:34-35 NKJV
by Kent Brosh a Kawaiaha’o Blog Contributor