The Bible has much to say about submission: to God (James 4:6-7), to political authorities (Romans 13:1-7), to church leadership (Heb 13:17), within marriage (Col 3:18), and even a general submissiveness of all Christians to one another (Eph 5:21). Romans 13 teaches us that everyone must be subject to governing authorities, all the more if you’re a Christian because you are expected to do so. How many of us are quick to switch churches because of relatively minor issues? Instead of praying for our Christian leaders, many of us spend more time complaining about them. Instead of submitting to them, we ignore or even oppose their instructions.
The Bible teaches us that subjection to authority is right and good. How we submit to the authority that God has placed over us and how we learn to exercise authority will greatly effect our usefulness for the glory of God. It will also greatly impact the fulfillment of God’s purposes for our lives. We should Obey the Law.
Why should we submit to the governing authorities in the Philippines?
13 1 All of you must obey the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule. And no one rules now without that power from God. 2 So if anyone is against the government, he is really against what God has commanded. And so he brings punishment on himself. 3 Those who do right do not have to fear the rulers. But people who do wrong must fear them. Do you want to be unafraid of the rulers? Then do what is right, and the ruler will praise you. 4 He is God’s servant to help you. But if you do wrong, then be afraid. The ruler has the power to punish; he is God’s servant to punish those who do wrong. 5 So you must obey the government. You must obey not only because you might be punished, but because you know it is the right thing to do. 6 And this is also why you pay taxes. Rulers are working for God and give their time to their work. 7 Pay everyone, then, what you owe him. If you owe any kind of tax, pay it. Show respect and honor to them all. (Romans 13:1-7 ICB)
Submission to God
Because there is no authority over us except that which God has established (Romans 13:1). Consequently, he who rebels against the governing authority is rebelling against what God has instituted (Romans 13:2). Those who have been given places of authority have responsibility before God for the exercise of a certain amount of power and influence over others.
Initiate Government Services
For he is God's servant to do you good. (Romans 13:4)
Sick? Who would organize our hospitals? Subsidize prescriptions at drug store. Promotes education, law and order, the arts, the environment. Hold major oil companies to account for the oil prices, economic activities, monitor trade and investments, business, infrastructure, jobs for the good of their citizens, etc. Governments exist for our benefit and well-being.
Here is the question: When our government misuses our resources for instance taxes – should we avoid paying taxes? the answer is NO.
17 So tell us what you think. Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18 But Jesus knew that these men were trying to trick him. So he said, “You hypocrites! Why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me a coin used for paying the tax.” The men showed him a silver coin.[b] 20 Then Jesus asked, “Whose picture is on the coin? And whose name is written on the coin?” 21 The men answered, “Caesar’s.” Then Jesus said to them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s. And give to God the things that are God’s.” (Matthew 22:17-21)
Our response is do what is right because we honor God above the Government. Like Daniel and his three friend when faced with obedience to the law that contradicts their faith, they stood up and did what is right in the eyes of God. Compromise should never be our default. Let us not be like those tax corporations even individuals, who raise revenue in one nation, then shift profits to another nation in order to pay less taxes. Submission to human authority does not mean that we are never involved in the decision making process. In fact, respectfully communicating with our leaders about issues is an important part of the political process of the government to know what is the best for the nation and its people. And also submission does not mean that those who submit are less important, less intelligent, or less godly than those to whom we are told to submit.
Even Jesus was submissive to the plans of God the Father, “Who being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant ... he humbled himself and became obedient to death – even death on a cross!” (Phil 2:6-9 NIV; see also Luke 22:39-44).
Promote Peace and Protection
Authorities hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. (Romans 13:3-4)
We don’t need to fight each other. We don’t need public disobedience. We need to follow Jesus. We don’t need to start rebellion. We are Christians, we need to stand to Glorify Him, to Honor Him, to Follow Him, to Worship Him. Imagine Christians rebelling against our Government, cheating on taxes, hacking government facilities, stealing, and other wrong doings, etc – there would be very few Gospel opportunities with our neighbors (those who are lost) – we would be charged with disturbing the peace of our land.
1 Timothy talks about furthering the Gospel and the government: (1 Timothy 2:1-4)
2 First, I tell you to pray for all people. Ask God for the things people need, and be thankful to him. 2 You should pray for kings and for all who have authority. Pray for the leaders so that we can have quiet and peaceful lives—lives full of worship and respect for God. 3 This is good, and it pleases God our Savior. 4 God wants all people to be saved. And he wants everyone to know the truth.
Clear Conscience before God
Do we blindly, submit and praise the government for their wisdom?
Bible teaches No.
20 ...“Blessed be the name of God forever and ever, for wisdom and power belong to Him. 21 He changes the times and seasons; He removes kings and establishes them. He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the discerning. 22 He reveals the deep and hidden things; He knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with Him. (Daniel 2:20-22)
27 And when they had brought Peter and John, they set them before the council. And the high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We strictly charged you not to teach in this name (Jesus), yet here you have filled Jerusalem with your (Christian) teaching, and you intend to bring this man's blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. (Acts 5:27-29)
A Christian citizen must rise up and object. Put up a clean and godly fight. See, we submit to the Government up until that point that Government expects us to disobey God and conscience. When Jesus prayed for an alternative to the cross (Luke 22:39- 44), he wanted another way so badly that he actually sweat blood. But, He chose to follow the Father’s plan even when it was hard. All of us should be incredibly grateful that He did. But while submission can be hard, the plans of our heavenly Father always have our best in mind and they result in immense blessings.
As a result of Jesus’ obedience, the Bible tells us that, “Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father” (Phil 2:9-11 NIV).
God has a Plan
Jesus exemplifies the principle and benefit of submission. He demonstrated how to submit to authority. The Bible states that He humbled Himself and became obedient to His Father’s will even unto the death of the cross (Phil 2:8). He paid taxes to the abusive Roman government. He submitted to the corrupt religious authorities. He suffered grave injustice but He kept entrusting Himself to Him who judges righteously (1 Pet 2:23). God incarnate Jesus Christ could have called twelve legions of angels - rather Disciples? (Mat 26:53) but still He yielded to His Father’s will.
It is impossible to properly submit to authority, especially abusive authority, unless you entrust yourself to Him who judges righteously. Believing that God is sovereign and that either here or in eternity He will judge justly is essential to obedience to this principle.
The Bible teaches us both the principle and benefit of submission. Jesus demonstrated both the principle and benefit of submission. Loss of direction and purpose in life may alert us to the problem of a wrong relationship to God-given authority. In the future we will consider the principle and benefit of the proper exercise of authority. Those who learn humility and service as Christ modeled will be prepared for the responsibility of leadership. We will also consider the Biblical exceptions. When and how should we oppose abusive or tyrannical authority?
Ut sit Deus omnia Gloria