No. There is no verse in the Bible that tells you to obey evil government or laws. If we don’t realize that now, it will soon be too late. I want to prove to you beyond any doubt that the Bible tells us what we must do in the face of wicked government and laws.
First, I want to show you the weak and pathetic heresy that many believers have come to accept as truth. I want you to see the widespread excuse that is being used for submitting when we should disobey.
Here is an example. Someone commented to me:
“Out of curiosity, how do you justify your argument against obeying the government when you read Romans 13:1-7. The government Paul was talking about was even more oppressive than anything we can imagine. You could truly be martyred for your faith under the Roman government. And, what was Paul’s response? Did he call for governmental reform? Did he call for us to protest the government? Did he demand his rights and call on the government to recognize his rights? None of the above, he said, in the face of a brutal government, to obey. He didn’t say obey if your rights are recognized, he said obey. The church of today has to realize that the government is not our arena as Christians. Never, in the history of the church, has God used the government to bring about change.”
This defense of submission to evil government is riddled with error and falsehoods. Here are my responses to selected quotes:
1.“You could truly be martyred for your faith under the Roman government.” First the writer tells us to obey evil laws, but then mentions martyrs. They never would have been martyred had they not broken the law by being Christians.
2. Then he asks, “Did (Paul) call for governmental reform? Did he call for us to protest the government? Did he demand his rights and call on the government to recognize his rights? None of the above…” The truth is, Paul did all of the above. “Paul said to them, “They have beaten us openly, uncondemned Romans, and have thrown us into prison. And now do they put us out secretly? No indeed! Let them come themselves and get us out” (Acts 16:37).
3. And finally, the zinger—the heresy that has sidelined the Body of Christ in the hour when we are most needed: “The church of today has to realize that the government is not our arena as Christians. Never, in the history of the church, has God used the government to bring about change.” Totally untrue. William Wilberforce was a Christian who used his faith in Jesus to abolish slavery in England. In fact, believers throughout history have created child labor laws, health regulations, and have exposed injustice, and corruption. It is safe to say that Christians are more responsible for influencing government, bringing about reform by forcing laws to be changed, and standing up for justice, than any other group in history.
So how did this writer get it so wrong? By doing what so many do. Isolating one set of verses, taking them out of context, and arriving at a conclusion that looks holy, but is in fact, pure and simple fear.
Let’s look at the verses that have been violated:
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore, whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore, you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor (Romans 13:1-7).
It seems to say that we are to honor government in every form, right? Wrong. To demonstrate what Paul is saying I offer this example. Say some parents leave the house, and leave the oldest child in charge. The child is given strict instructions not to open the door for anyone, except for a postal messenger whom they are expecting to deliver an important package that day.
The parents tell the child, “He will have blonde hair. He is wearing blue jeans and a white shirt. Don’t let anyone else in.” So later, a man with black hair, a blue shirt, and black slacks knocks on the door claiming to be the messenger with the package. Do they let him in? Of course not.
Lost in all the quoting of this verse on submission to government is the most important part: The description of the ruling authority. The Bible tells us what they are wearing! Look at the description:
1.They are not a terror to good works. Any government that terrorizes the innocent is not of God. How can you say that Hitler was God’s will for Germany? Hitler and other tyrants are in fact the ones being warned that there were God appointed governments who would destroy them: “But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.” That is why the just powers of the world rose up and destroyed the Nazis.
2. They praise good works. Authorities that are endorsed by God do not hate or oppose Christian activity. They are the ones who—even if they are not Christian themselves—do not insult soul winning or fight the work of God. They are the cops, teachers, politicians who are glad that children are getting out of gangs and off of drugs.
3. You must be subject for the sake of conscience. When it becomes tricky, is when government is a mixture of right and wrong. Jesus said of the Pharisees, “Therefore whatever they tell you to observe, that observe and do, but do not do according to their works; for they say, but do not do” (Matthew 23:3).
Do what they say, but don’t partake of their hypocrisy. Watch them for that moment when they cross the line and come between you and your God. Just as our conscience should drive us to obey the law, we should also know when our conscience tells us not to obey an evil law.
Here’s when Peter reached that tipping point, speaking to those very same Pharisees: “So they called them and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus. But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you more than to God, you judge. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20).
And again, in Acts 5:29, “Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men.””
God not only does not endorse evil government: He will have no part in it. “Can a corrupt throne be allied with you—a throne that brings on misery by its decrees? The wicked band together against the righteous and condemn the innocent to death” (Psalm 94:20). There is your answer. A corrupt throne (government) cannot be allied with God.
The Amplified Bible (1974) puts it this way: “Can a throne of destruction be allied with You, one which frames and devises mischief by decree [under the sacred name of law]?” How much clearer can it be than this? It proves that laws can be evil and cannot be allied with God.
In fact, evil laws are the worst form of sin. They provide legitimacy to evil. Matthew Henry said, “Iniquity is daring enough even when human laws are against it, which often prove too weak to give an effectual check to it; but how insolent, how mischievous, is it when it is backed by a law! Iniquity is not the better, but much the worse, for being enacted by law; nor will it excuse those that practice it to say that they did but do as they were bidden.”
Notice how at the end, Henry says we can’t use the excuse that we were just obeying the law. That is why Dietrich Bonhoeffer said, “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”
The laws being created by Democrats, using the coronavirus as an excuse, are far worse than the virus itself because, unlike the virus, those new laws become permanent. It is time for the church to wake up and take action, beginning with voting the evildoers out of office and quit calling our submission a godly thing, when it is just a cowardly thing.
“WHO WILL RISE UP FOR ME AGAINST THE EVILDOERS? WHO WILL STAND UP FOR ME AGAINST THE WORKERS OF INIQUITY?” (Psalm 94:16).
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