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There’s always some concern among Christians about their relation to the Government. The Bible isn’t silent on this issue. Paul wrote in Romans 13:1, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.” To this, Peter adds, “Therefore submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake, whether to the king as supreme, or to governors, as to those who are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and for the praise of those who do good. For this is the will of God...” (1 Pet. 2:13-15a). This mandates that we, as children of God, are to obey the laws of the land. There are some who want to ignore certain laws, dismissing them as silly. But, in order to be faithful to God, we must submit to them. There are some who ignore stop signs, exceed the speed limit, or decline to pay certain taxes, simply because they see no use for them. It is not ours to question, we are to obey the laws, and those who do not will have to answer for it. Some suggest that because our government is “evil,” we are therefore exempt from submitting. Nothing could be further from the truth. Consider the type of government in power during the time Peter and Paul wrote the above words. It was a wicked government indeed! One that encouraged idolatry and man worship. Nevertheless, God said to submit. I would dare say that in relation to the Roman government of the first century, our government is rather fair and sane. But the question is inevitably asked, “What if the government requires me to do something that God would not want me to do?” Or, “What if the government decrees that I refrain from doing something that God has commanded me to do?” The Bible has allowed for these instances. John and Peter were arrested once for preaching the Gospel. They were commanded not to speak in the name of Jesus again. We might call this commandment “the law of the land.” Peter and John answered, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. ” (Acts 4:19). Later, in Acts 5:29, Peter said, “We ought to obey God rather than men.” So, our question is answered. We should always obey our government whenever their laws do not conflict with the commandments of God. Even if some of them conflict with God’s commands, we should still go on obeying the ones that do not. Even if the Government creates one law which I, as a Christian, cannot obey, this does not give me the right to disregard all other laws of the land that in no way conflict with God’s will. The government derives it’s authority from God. As such, we must obey the laws of the land no matter how silly they may sometimes seem to us. We are only exempt from obeying those laws which contradict God’s will.
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