Romans 13 doesn’t mince words. Sometimes, as Peter says, Paul writes some things that require some brainwork to figure out. But not this time. Paul makes it very clear that we need to be subject to those in government. God puts all authority in place, and it’s up to us to be subject to that authority. He doesn’t really address what to do if the government is corrupt, but I don’t think he needs to. We still need to follow the laws set in place. Paul makes it very clear that God sets up those in authority – and they accomplish His will and His plans.
1Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
Peter concurs with Paul that we need to be in subjection to those in authority:
13Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.
I think it’s pretty clear. In order to remain in God’s will, we need to be in subjection to our government. For me, it’s a simple matter. Whether Bill Clinton or George Bush is in office, I need to support them in prayer and not speak evil of them. That’s not to say that governments aren’t corrupt. Our government may be corrupt, but my duty is to support them, pray for them, and honor our laws.
Later on Paul says all the commandments are summed up in this – to love one another. The simplicity of it strikes me. If I seek to show love to those around me, I won’t be envious. I won’t be greedy. I won’t be self-seeking. Yet loving people is hard. There are people at work who really, really bug me. Some of my friends’ friends constantly irritate me. I find myself wanting to avoid them. I’d rather be alone, on the computer, riding my bike, playing basketball, watching a movie with my wife – anything but being near them. But God calls us to love one another. When we learn to do this, so many other things will simply fall into place. Anger, jealousy, strife . . . those things will simply fade away.