Submit to Government

Roger Staubach, who led the Dallas Cowboys to the World Championship in 1971, admitted that his position as a quarterback who didn’t call his own signals was a source of trial for him. Coach Landry sent in every play. He told Roger when to pass, when to run, and only in emergency … More

Submission

God has established these institutions: the home (Genesis 2:18-25), government (Genesis 9:1-7), and the church (Acts 2). Paul tells us what our relationship to human government is to be. It is God who established the governments of the world, so man must be in subjection to them. To refuse to obey their laws is to resist the God who established government. There are some in our day who would have us believe that because of ungodly leadership the Christian thing to do is to disobey the law, rebel against authorities and not pay our taxes because of ungodly leadership. Paul makes it clear that Christians must be in subjection to the laws of the State, regardless of the leaders.

According to the FBI there were almost 3.25 million serious crimes committed in the United States during 2002. Between 1960-1966 crimes in the United States increased seven times faster than the population. In those six years the population increased by 9 percent while crime increased 62 percent. Billy Graham says, “It ought to shock us that in many countries organized crime is the biggest business of all.” In fact, in America it is bigger than the United States government.

Even though we cannot always respect the man in office, we must respect the office, for government was ordained by God. Paul says government officials are “ministers of God” (v. 4). There are two big reasons why a Christian must be submissive to civil authorities: (1) To avoid possible punishment (“wrath” v. 4). (2) To maintain a good conscience (v. 5). Of course the Christian must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29) if the law demands him to do something that the Word of God tells him not to do. The Christian keeps the commandments of the Law, not because they are law, but because they are commandments of the Lord.

Application

Who are the authorities in my life? Do I have more trouble submitting to authorities or obeying God? A person who refuses to obey authorities won’t obey God either.

Romans 13:1-7 (English Standard Version)

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God's servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

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