I have been shocked at how submitting to governing authorities has been seen as showing a lack of faith in God by many Christians today.
Oh, I get it. I’m a rebel at heart. Don’t tell me what to do. Don’t tread on me. Rebellion? I’m in! I want my rights. It’s all about freedom. Too many mandates. Too much regulation. There’s a little lawyer inside me that rises up within me and cries “I object!” That’s my old self for sure. It sneaks out of me if I’m not careful.
When did rebelling against government authorities become a sign of faith in God? Especially when God’s Word tells us the opposite. Romans 13:1-3, “Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.” How much clearer can God be? You are not obey-ing God by refusing to submit.
But if I obey it will be taken as agreement. It’s not as if there has ever been a perfect government. In Paul’s day, when he wrote Romans the government was filled with corruption, inefficiency, injustice, and every conceivable vice. Obedience doesn’t mean that you necessarily agree – it means that you love God enough to obey! Re-fusing to submit to the government is not a demonstration of faith – it’s disobedience to God!
Peter wrote “Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him….” (1 Pt. 2:13-14a). “For the Lord’s sake” clarifies that it is God who wants us to submit. Eve-ry inconvenient mandate is not an afront against Christianity.
What did Jesus say? If you see a Christian compelled by the government to go one mile, then taunt him for his lack of faith. No, remember to go the extra mile (Mt. 5:41). Jesus wants us to be known by our humility and submission.
“Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men” (Tit. 3:1-2).