God’s instructions are counter-intuitive. You’d think he’d call for us to resist immoral and evil leaders, but he doesn’t. Instead he calls us to subject ourselves to them in obedience. It’s very hard to do this when you know they’re on the wrong track, or morally corrupt.
But you can’t be a conscientious objector and expect a cakewalk with authorities. They don’t carry swords as fashion statements, but to wield them to force compliance.
As Jesus taught, our response should involuntarily be to pay taxes to whom they are due, despite unfairness. Paul seconds the motion.
“Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” Romans 13:7
It’s not a bad policy, really. Paul wanted us to fly below the radar in order to increase our effectiveness and influence where and when it counts. Marching against city hall gets us nowhere in influencing others to follow Jesus.
“Make it your ambition to lead a quiet life and attend to your own business and work with your hands, just as we commanded you, so that you will behave properly toward outsiders and not be in any need.” 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12
The problem is, it’s easy to lay low in some corners of the globe (back here in the USA), but most Christians live in constant fear of incrimination and physical harm and even death from authorities around the world. Paul, for example, was reading the press clippings of a guy named Nero.
So here’s the bottomline. For many of us, we are repulsed by actions of government that diametrically oppose God’s laws. It boils down to this in the final analysis. Unless you’re forced to reject a clear directive from the Lord, i.e. God’s word, you comply, but if forced to break one of God’s immutable laws, you resist unto death.
If backed into a corner, like many others before us, we may expose ourselves to an unsheathed sword. It’s then upon God’s mercy that we throw ourselves.
One additional note of commentary. If the king requests your presence to honor you, not him, why would you refuse the invitation?
This is extremely helpful. Thank you, Rick. Being a believer and trying to swallow what politicians do is growing harder and harder each election for me, but this puts what is “good and right” into perspective – keeping whats important in the forefront of my task-oriented mind.