Below is the daily Bible reading I am doing for the West Side Church. Please feel free to follow along.
Today’s reading (Romans 13) brings some challenging words in today’s political climate. Paul commands us to submit to the governing authorities. We know this is not a suggestion but a command because of his use of the word “must” in verse one. Paul also tells us that he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and thus we can assume rebelling against God.
Now you might be asking, or even screaming … “What is going on in Washington and in political circles all around the country is not right.” Maybe you sit on the other side of the fence and are pleased with what is going on in political circles. You might also be saying … “Paul does not get what we are going through, if we are going to change things back we must rebel.” Friends, Paul’s words were probably just as challenging to the people of his day as they are to you.
The world Paul lived in was ruled by the Romans. Now if you were a Roman citizen things were pretty good. However, corruption ran through the political realm then just as it does today. The group Paul is writing to is a group of Christians living in the capital city of the empire … Rome. At this time the Christians are not well liked. This is near the time Nero, the present Emperor is accusing Christians of burning down the city. Persecution and heat is coming on the Christians from their rulers and authorities. Paul’s words to submit would have had the same challenge to them as they may to you.
So, if you are unhappy with the government, or you become unhappy one day, what can you do? Well you can begin by thanking God that he allowed you to live in a country where you can still makes changes to the law without rebelling. At this time there is still a process that we can go through to disagree, to change laws, and even the constitution if you are unhappy. But what would be wrong is rebelling. What would be wrong is refusing to pay your taxes. What would be wrong is harming someone, lashing out, or doing something illegal to make your point. Rebelling against the authorities is rebelling against God, even if you are doing it in the name of Christ.