197. How To Respond To Civil Authorities

197. How To Respond To Civil Authorities

With the government having to put many restrictions on business and even personal activities (especially upcoming Christmas celebrations) due to the rise of COVID19, it is understandable that many people are not happy with the government. And it can be worse if you have a political stance differing from the ruling party.

However, regardless of political stance or sentiment, there is an easy solution for all Christians: Submit to governing authorities and pray for them.

Apostle Paul commands all believers to “submit” to the governing authorities. (Romans 13:1-7) The person in authority may be inadequate in our view, but the institution is not because it is instituted by God himself (Rom 13:1). However, the reason for their existence is for our good. (Rom 13:4)

Paul was writing the letter when those who were in authority were mostly tyrants and power-hungry people. But Paul must’ve had Jesus in mind when writing. Jesus never went against ruling authorities (whether it be Roman or Jewish) because he knew God instituted those authorities. From the history of Israel, powerful nations like Assyria and Babylon invaded Israel. All the Kings that listened to false prophets saying, “We are God’s people, so we should resist them” and rebelled against those nations faced horrible consequences. God gave their authorities, and he was using them to discipline Israel for their disobedience.

We are entitled to our own opinion. Christians can differ in political stance. But as Jesus followers, we are to pray for our governing authorities, regardless of our position or view of them. (1 Timothy 2:2) And Paul tells us to do this so we may live in peace.

It seems that Apostle Paul purposely did not use the word “obey” when it comes to civil authorities. It is because there are times civil obedience is impossible for Christians. During Roman rule, early Christians were forced to call Caesar “Lord.” But they could not obey because they believed only Jesus is “Lord.” Due to this civil disobedience, many Christians died as martyrs. It is not because they were bad citizens, but they believed God was their ultimate authority. But in a civilized society where religious freedom is granted, such occasion would be rare.