Submission to authority

If Jesus is Lord that means Nero is not; our primary allegiance, as citizens of God’s kingdom is to Jesus. However, that doesn’t lead to anarchy or social breakdown but as believers we are empowered to honour our governments, trusting that their very authority is delegated by God Himself. Sadly, in history this truth has often been abused to enforce submission to injustice, like apartheid in South African or slavery in the US. We remember that ultimately God gets to define good and evil. We are model citizens but when needed we are also the most courageous citizens, choosing God’s way over any man-made laws. Civil disobedience is sometimes necessary, but its motivation is always submission to God.

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Romans 13:1-7

Submission to the Authorities

13:1 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. (ESV)

All Scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright ©2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers. Used by permission. All rights reserved. Text provided by the Crossway Bibles Web Service.

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