Romans 13:1-7

Submit to Government

1 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. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 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. 4 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. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

If God is who He says He is, and if we are His creation, then God is the one whose authority we trust. We cannot put our trust into man’s authority as any authority that we give to something or hold over another still is under the ultimate authority of God who will be the final judge over all. Since God has all authority over His creation, it is from God that all authority exists. More than that, it is God who presents men and women over others in places of authority and power. God will use the actions of people through revolutions, wars, and elections to put people into power and God grants those who are in power the authority to act accordingly. God has placed those leaders into their positions because He is planning on doing something with them. While some rulers and presidents use their actions for evil while others use their actions for good but we, as citizens, are to follow the laws of the land as long as they are righteous. What about taxes? Taxes are put in place to pay for the benefits that we all share and we should pay them, even if the government uses that money for horrible uses. We have been faithful to what God has called us to and God will judge those who spend the money. If we break the law, however, then we are under the wrath of that government and God has granted that government the authority to deal with us as it sees fit. Imprisonment and even capital punishment – God has allowed this to happen by His permissive will. Carrying this forward, what happens if the government makes it illegal to worship God? We act according to our conscience and our faith and, whether in secret or in the open, we worship the Lord. The rule that I use is as follows: If it’s not causing me to sin against my conscience, then it’s good by me. Stay in prayer always, seek the Lord in all that you do, and obey the laws that of the land that God has placed over you so long as they don’t require you to sin. What about those doctors, nurses, and pharmacists who are now required to administer abortions or abortifacient drugs to women regardless of their moral objection? In that position they need to make a decision – whose authority do they defer to – God’s or man’s? I wouldn’t have to think twice about it – whether I faced fines and jail time, that’s nothing compared to what I’d be facing if I were forced to murder a child. When it comes down to this for you, whose authority do you defer to?

Leave a Reply

Search the ESV Bible


(e.g., John 1 or God's love)