Romans 13.1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
God Himself has instituted and ordained our governing powers; they are our authorities. Furthermore, God holds the hearts of our authorities: Proverbs 21.1 The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water: he turneth it whithersoever he will.
Romans 13.2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
Clearly, we are to obey our governing authorities: Their authority comes from God, and we are to obey God. Damnation is a severe consequence of resistance.
Is it ever right to resist authority? In Acts 5, the apostles were commanded not to teach in Jesus’ name. They responded in verse 29: Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Why should we submit to our governing authorities if we don’t like what they do? Don’t we live in a democracy? Don’t we have the right to protest? After all, our governing authorities gave us that right.
Romans 13.3-5 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
Before you protest, before you rant and rave:
- Be sure you are obeying God. How to know if you are in obedience to God? Read His Word. Study it: 2 Timothy 2.15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
- Be sure your actions are motivated in love, and be sure you love rightly. Love God first. Luke 10.27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.
- Be sure you are acting, speaking, and thinking in peace. Remember, peace has nothing to do with how you feel, nor with circumstances or people around you. Peace is a right standing with God. Romans 14.19 Let us therefore follow after the things which make for peace, and things wherewith one may edify another.
- Be sure your efforts are to bring glory to God. Proverbs 6.16-19 These six things doth the LORD hate: yea, seven are an abomination unto him: 17 A proud look, a lying tongue, and hands that shed innocent blood, 18 An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, feet that be swift in running to mischief,19 A false witness that speaketh lies, and he that soweth discord among brethren.
What if you’re right? What if you are acting in peace (bringing others to God in love)? Edifying others? Glorifying God? The apostles, and Jesus Himself, certainly stirred things up, but they were obedient, always giving glory to God and honoring Him and His Ways. 2 Corinthians 4.2 But have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.
God divides. His truth divides, His Word divides: Hebrews 4.12 For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.
Allow God to decide the divisions. That is not our job; it is His. We are to speak the truth in love, and let God work in the hearts of others.
We are to remain steadfast and loyal to God alone. If He prompts to enter into political activities, then enter in. However God directs you, work in obedience to Him. But remember: God instituted our governing authorities; He guides our authorities with their hearts in His hands; and He loves us abundantly, overwhelmingly, and perfectly.
Knowing that, knowing God, is peace.