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 (Rm. 13:1).
Submission to government is a difficult task for any full-blooded American. For the American has two natural inclinations working against him. First, the American is, as with all other men, a son of Adam and is therefore by nature a son of rebellion. Second, the American by national heritage, is a son of political rebellion, having descended from those who rebelled against the ruling authority of her infancy, viz. England. Therefore, the American is controlled by two rebellious passions: a natural one that rebels against God, and a philosophical and political one that, by social indoctrination, rebels against the governing authorities which God has put into place.
Having come from such a heritage, the American is not only rebellious, but he is unashamedly rebellious. For he has been taught from his youth that he is endowed with certain “inalienable rights,” and when he believes that he is robbed of those rights, that robbery is not merely an injustice that he must endure, but it is his duty to rebel. For this reason, America’s brief history is interpreted in a amiable and cavalier fashion by its citizens, where the “good” citizens of this country rose up against the “evil” despotism of England, and, by God’s favor, defeated and overthrew the despot.
This interpretation of American history is not held only by the unregenerate citizens of this country, but it is also held by a great majority of its Christian citizens, who look upon their country as God’s grace to men, and have justified its past and present actions by the philosophies of men rather than by the oracles of God. Because of America’s standing, in their minds, as a “Christian” nation, its citizens’ actions past and present are irreproachable, since this country has, since its foundation, been about accomplishing the will of God.
This notion of personal supremacy and blind American idealism, however, stands clearly against the clear command given by the apostle Paul to the Roman church. There he writes to Christians, saying, “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” (v. 13:1). Opposed to the American belief that one’s self is the authority and that encroachment upon one’s “inalienable rights” is enough cause for revolution, the apostle commands Christians to submit to their governments without exception.
This lack of exception for submission to governing authorities exists because it is God who has instituted every authority. For regardless of perceived justice or injustice, God has placed political leaders in their place, and to rebel against them is to rebel against God and his order. For this reason, there is no reason too great to revolt against an established order, even taxation without representation. For in doing so, one is more akin to the devil and his revolutionaries, who in the beginning rebelled against God’s established order, than to Christ, who though equal with God, submitted himself to the governing authorities, even unto death on a cross (Php. 2:8).
Categories: Fridy Night Bible Study