Romans 13:1-7 (ESV)
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.
This is not my favorite Scripture. In fact, I don’t really like it much at all. I am not pleased with what it says about being obedient to the government. There is a point at which, when the government is overbearing where I believe we are ok with being disobedient, even rebelling. But we are not there yet. So for now, I will remain obedient to the law.
This does not mean that I must approve of everything that is legal. For example, it is legal to murder a baby in the womb. This is one law that I do not support and will do anything else legal to prevent. But I cannot justify violence or the support of violence to prevent it. Then I am doing wrong, trying to prevent another wrong.
So this is a difficult thing. We must each consider how best to behave in light of this passage of Scripture. For example: I do not agree with seatbelt laws, I think I should have the right to drive without a seatbelt if I want to. However, I wear my seatbelt, because I do not want to pay the ticket if I should get pulled over.
But if we want to exhibit Christ in our lives, we must look for the best way to be obedient to the Law, and love our neighbor. We must live in such a way that the world cannot point to us, and say that we are lawbreakers, except in those extreme circumstances where we actually want people to know that certain laws are wrong, and we will not support them.
How will you live today? I will drive sanely. I will not steal, or murder. I will obey the laws. May Jesus be glorified by my life today.
by Virgil Stripes