God & Government
Reading: Romans 13:1-8
"Those who refuse to obey the laws of the land are refusing to obey God"
Obeying civil authorities is obeying God. Read what Paul wrote to the believers in Rome the political capital of the then world (Rom 13:1-4). Peter belonged to the illiterate section of the society. Yet he clearly understood how God was behind the civil authorities. He writes in his first Epistle, "Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake, whether to the King as supreme, or to governors" (2:13,14). He beautifully brings out how our obedience to civil authorities is the other side of our obedience to God: "Fear God. Honour the King" (v17).
What a different world this would be if only all the Christians would pledge not to evade tax payment, not to cheat customs officials, not to bribe anyone, not to break traffic rules, not to disregard town-planning regulations, and so on and so forth! (Rom 13:6-8). We are the salt of the earth. If we lose our saltiness, the earth will decay to be thrown away as useless. We are the light of the world. If we lose our brightness, the world will descend into eternal darkness (Mt 5:13,14). India is one of the most corrupt nations of the world. "As the Church goes, so goes the world," lamented prophet Leonard Ravenhill.
If a law prohibits evangelism, or forces another religion on us, we are not obliged to obey it (Dan 3:16; 6:7-10; Acts 4:19; 5:29). We are also exempted from laws which are against our moral conscience (Ex 1:15-17).
When we talk about obedience to civil authorities we also must include our bosses and superiors in the workspots. "Servants, be obedient to those who are your masters with fear and trembling in sincerity of heart, as to Christ; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers, but as servants of Christ, doing the will of God from the heart, with good will doing service, as to the Lord, and not to men, knowing that whatever good anyone does, he will receive the same from the Lord" (Eph 6:5-8). When we obey our bosses, we actually "serve the Lord Christ" (Col 3:22-24). We are called to be submissive and obedient "not only to the good and gentle, but also to the harsh" masters (1 Pet 2:18). If the boss is a believer, we must not take advantage of it but serve him with greater enthusiasm (1 Tim 6:2).
He who says that he obeys God but does not obey authorities
is a criminal; civility is not in him!
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