Tonight I spoke with a physician who has two sons attending two very different schools. The older son attends a school where any talk of God could cause trouble, while the younger son attends a private school in the Cleveland area where prayer to God is encouraged and expected.
Talk about controversy! Just mention the government and God in the same sentence and all kinds of emotions are stirred.
After telling us to do our part to live in peace with others in chapter 12 of Romans, Paul now shifts his focus onto public life. The Christians of the first century were not exactly popular in their culture. So why would Paul encourage the believers to be “subject to the governing authorities”?
The answer is in the sovereignty of God who has placed those in authority. We are expected to follow the laws of the land. As verses six and seven tells us, we are to pay our taxes. We are to respect the laws of the land. We are to honor those in authority.
He’s not saying we necessarily agree with them in all things. I personally, don’t want to pay any additional taxes than what I owe. But I am still to pay my taxes. Before Paul wrote these words, Jesus answered the question on taxes and said to “give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God those things that are God’s.”
Now you might ask, do we honor authorities in all things at all times? I believe the Scripture is clear on this. Moses’ parents didn’t obey Pharoah’s command which demanded the death of their newborn. When Peter and John were commanded to stop speaking in the name of Jesus, they answered with the question as to whether it is better to obey man or God.
There are areas where authorities may push us into a corner and ask for compromise in our Faith. We are to stand firm just as those believers in the first century did.
I think a question to ask might be- Am I focusing on obeying God or am I using my Faith as a reason to oppose authority?