Skip to content

5. Be obedient to your authorities
(Romans 13:1-6)
1Let 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.2Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.3For 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.4For 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.5Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience' sake.6For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God's ministers attending continually to this very thing.

Many suffer from the disputes among different parties, from the deception of ministers, from unjust governments, and from blind disorder. There is no perfect government in this world, for there is no sinless person in this world. Therefore, bear with your government, as God bears with you and your family.
The apostle saw that no government prevails over its people unless it was determined and empowered by God himself. Therefore, it is accountable to the eternal Judge. A corrupt people, therefore, probably deserve a corrupt government.
If you penetrate deeply into the words of the apostle of the Gentiles, you will find strange expressions:
a) All governments are determined by God, for nothing happens without his knowledge and will.
b) He who disobeys his government disobeys God.
c) He who rebels against the authority receives a just punishment.
d) The Lord called the ministers and presidents to be a reason for fear to the criminals and impostors, and to use the sword of justice with wisdom and equality.
e) As to those who do what is good, they do not need to be afraid. They need a just government, which is called as God’s minister, to encourage the righteous to continue their constructive services.
The apostle Paul calls the government “God’s minister” twice. Therefore, if it establishes the principles of truth and righteousness, God will bless it and reward it together with its people. But if it twists the truth, or receives bribes, then God will punish it. The government employees, according to their call, are God’s ministers, and they experience either God’s protection, or his judgment.
Jesus had settled this matter with respect to the obligation of man towards duties and taxes, when he said: “Render to Caesar the things that are Caesar's, and to God the things that are God's” (Matthew 22:21). By this statement, Christ held man responsible for faithfully doing his duties towards the government without any delay; and at the same time, he limited the authority of the government. Therefore, if any authority opposes the true God and his established commandments, or orders worship to another god other than the true God, man should oppose such authority, for “we ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), even if such opposition, because of his faith, resulted in his expulsion, torture, or murder. The lands around the Mediterranean are watered with the blood of martyrs, who were prayer warriors for their governments, but they opposed their judgments which were against the Spirit of Christ.
The Holy Bible tells us that in the last days the antichrist rises as an authority over the peoples of the world, and orders them to worship him instead of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit. It also says that whoever prays to God will be considered as an opposer of the antichrist’s orders, which are opposed to God, and will die a painful death. Yet, it is better for man to suffer for a short time than to perish forever.
It is also our spiritual duty to pray for the selection of our government and its constitution and for the realization of its rights, for the government chiefs cannot do what is good, except by the faithful grace of God.

O Lord Jesus, you obeyed your Father rather than men, and therefore you were crucified. Help us to pray for the good of our governments, and give us the courage to oppose them if they have forced us to disbelief or to do what is evil.
What are the limits of authority of every government; and why must we obey God rather than men?