Many people in the last three months have asked me about Romans 13:1-7, and exactly how submissive are we supposed to be?
Romans 13:1-4 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.
There are some exceptions to Romans 13 in the Bible.
The rulers of the day commanded the apostles of Jesus not to speak about Jesus, and their response in Acts 5:28-29, ”We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.”
Exodus 1:15-18 Then the king of Egypt spoke to the Hebrew midwives,. . .and he said, “When you are helping the Hebrew women to give birth and see them upon the birthstool, if it is a son, then you shall put him to death; but if it is a daughter, then she shall live.” But the midwives feared God, and did not do as the king of Egypt had commanded them, but let the boys live.
The United States of America was born as a nation by a war of resistance against the tyranny of England, and the ”Declaration of Independence, was the battle cry of that resistance.
Esther 3:2-4 All the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate bowed down and paid homage to Haman; for so the king had commanded concerning him. But Mordecai neither bowed down nor paid homage. Then the king’s servants who were at the king’s gate said to Mordecai, “Why are you transgressing the king’s command?” Now it was when they had spoken daily to him and he would not listen to them,
There was a plot to destroy all of the Jewish people by the Persian leader Haman. They were saved from certain annihilation by the leadership of Mordecai who resisted and was blatantly disobedient.He is honored as a hero every year in the celebration of the Jewish “Feast of Purim”.
There are many other exceptions to the rule stated in the Bible, but the greatest is Jesus Himself who refused to go along with the rulers of the day, and they crucified Him because of it.
Submission to authorities was not meant to be blind.