by Morey ~ February 13th, 2008
In verse 1 we learned that all the authorities that are over us — from the President down to the swimming pool board or school board member — are in their particular office because God has set them there. They are God’s representatives. Every ordered society needs to have an authority and leadership and the citizen needs to be submissive to that authority.
Romans 13:2 tells us about the consequences of resisting the authority that has been set over him:
Therefore, he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
A citizen who sets himself against authority is actually opposing God. This is very clear and simple just as written. If a person rebels against what God has ordained, if he resists the lawful authority, then that person deserves to be punished.
Our first thought is that the punishment will come from the established government — true, the ruler will probably punish those who resist his rule. But it goes further than that – God will be the one who metes out punishment. This is because it is “the ordinance of God” that they have opposed. The one who established that ordinance will punish the rebel.
The question is: Must we always follow the dictates of our leaders? The answer is: Yes – with exceptions.
If the ruler is making its citizenry do acts which go against God’s laws or to sin or to compromise our loyalty to Jesus Christ, then we must not follow. No government can be allowed to command a person’s conscience. In this case, if one rebels, he will receive punishment from the leader. If the ruler is not demanding these types of acts, then we follow.
What about war? Are we bound to go to war if the President orders us to? Yes.
There are different types of war. We have wars caused by people who wish to gain power over others — wars caused by greed — wars caused by hatred — wars caused by frustration. World War II was caused by frustration and eventually evolved into a war that was driven by greed, lust for power and hatred. We are to protect our country and homeland — God requires that — we entered World War II because of the threats and attacks that were made against our property and our people as well as those attacks against our allies.
We have been given our land and country by God and we are to be good stewards of that gift. If we are invaded or attacked, it is our duty and our right to fight back to retain that which God has given.
On the other hand, if a leader perpetrates a war because he’s greedy or because he hates another ethnic group or because he hates the religion and culture of another country and his desire is to turn all men to think like him, then the ruler needs to be resisted. The countries that he has declared war on must take up arms to protect their home and their loved ones.
God’s will is that there be no war, but God knows man – God knows the ways of men — God knows that there will always be someone in this world who wants what another person has and will make war to get it. God knows that sometimes we have to fight and he expects us to fight for that which he has given to us.