Submit to Governing Authorities (Romans 13:1-7)
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
So, let us consider the ramifications of standing against your “governing authorities”, which according to Paul are established by God. This raises a very interesting question with respect to the formation & foundation of the United States of America. Does this mean that the United States of America was a group of unGodly people, and fought against God and the established governing authority? And what of Stalin, Hitler, and Mussolini?
Now, I do believe that people are placed in specific positions of authority to fulfill God’s plan; so, with respect to this I agree that God has established these governing authorities. However, if we are in agreement that God has blessed us each (individually) with unalienable rights to Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of happiness [as depicted by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence] and the governing authorities begin to limit or abrogate those rights, is this not then antithetical to God’s rights granted to man? God, I believe, desired man to rule himself, thus making man sovereign, until 1 Samuel 8:6-7 [But when they said, “Give us a king to lead us,” this displeased Samuel; so he prayed to the Lord. And the Lord told him: “Listen to all that the people are saying to you; it is not you they have rejected, but they have rejected me as their king.] So, God established a Kingship over men because they desired it. Look at the book of Genesis and everyone who spoke and prayed to God and were led by God, not by other men.
Revelation 13:16-17 It also forced all people, great and small, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hands or on their foreheads, so that they could not buy or sell unless they had the mark, which is the name of the beast or the number of its name. Consider the fact that John’s Revelation indicates we are to stand against the governing authority set in place by God to not take the mark. So, is this contradictory or is it Paul speaking out of turn? Or perhaps There are times to stand against the governing authorities and other times we are not to do so, what are your thoughts??