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Man & Government

Paul and Government

Romans 13:1-2
1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
NIV

We have clearly noted the basis for being obedient to government. God ordains government. Where we have difficulty is often with the black/and/whiteness of this statement. We want to add conditions, like, all "good" governments are from God. Or, "bad" governments are not from God or are merely "tolerated" by Him. Paul makes no such distinctions. All authorities exist because God ordained them. Therefore, when we resist government, we are resisting God and are subject to His judgment.

The Greek word for authorities is exousia, meaning the possession and exercise of power. Many see the word as including only the exercise of legitimate power, but there is little basis within Scripture to arrive at a determination as between legitimate and non-legitimate power. Our measurements are based upon personal prejudices. Paul simply states that there is no authority except from God.

We can, of course, create a lot of layers to justify actions that are contrary to this straightforward position. Looking to the Old Testament, we must not that God's concept for government was to have an earthly king who answered directly to God. David is the best example of this, although Hezekiah was called the "greatest" king (2 Kings 18:5). Anyway, the concept is that the king follows God and then passes laws that are God's Word. The people then follow the king, thus, they follow God.

This sounds great on paper, but even our two ideal kings, David and Hezekiah, failed to completely follow God. And, they did not convey all of God's rules to the people. So, neither the king nor the government lived up to God’s standards. If these governments failed, it is easy to argue that modern governments fail more severely. Thus, God is not reflected in them and men should be bound to obey their rules. Sounds good, but . . .

Paul makes no such distinctions. Christian believers are to submit to government because:

 

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December 10, 2019

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