Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Submitting to the secular government

Romans 13:2
Acts 5:27-33
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As much as there are occasions to resist authority and to choose persecution rather than obedience, that should not be our default position toward governments. The apostles explicitly communicated to the Sanhedrin that they would not respect their authority when it conflicted with God's. Many Christians in Rome accepted martyrdom rather than obey the laws of the Roman government. Yet here Paul is specifically telling them to obey the secular authorities as an act of obedience to God. An act of disobedience is more powerful when it is unusual. When an individual is known for complying regardless of whether they agree with the law or not, then others are more likely to pay attention when that person defies a law and to ask whether that law is unreasonable.
There are innumerable laws in this country which I would love to see changed. Most I disagree with philosophically: I think they're too invasive or an excuse to over tax the people or simply ridiculous. Others I vote against, petition against, pray against, but don't outright defy only because I don't have an opportunity. They don't apply to me (e.g. I'm not seeking an abortion so I can't defy the laws allowing abortion by carrying to birth instead) so I can't disobey them but I can work within the law and within my prayer life to see them overturned. Yet I'm still subjecting myself to the governmental authorities in my opposition to the laws or my obedience to the ones I disagree with but are not matters of faith. That compliance to the secular government will hopefully stand out to people if I am ever in the position of obeying God rather than man and experiencing persecution for my choice.

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