God is clear. I must recognize that authority comes from God. This is a foundational principle. I am challenged by Jesus to give to Caesar what is his and to God always be obedient.
In my core, I naturally don’t want to submit to authority. It is a new word in Jesus to learn this. This is first base in God’s baseball game.
“Give, then, to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” ~Jesus
The Bible speaks very clearly about the relationship between the believer and the government. We are to obey governmental authorities, and the government is to treat us justly and fairly. Even when the government does not live up to its role, we are still to live up to ours. Finally, when the government asks us to do something that is in direct disobedience to God’s Word, we are to disobey the government in faithful confidence of the Master’s power to protect us.
It is God who has established the governments of the world. This does not mean that He is responsible for the sins of tyrants, but only that the authority to rule comes originally from God. It was this lesson that Nebuchadnezzar had to learn the hard way. To resist the law is to resist the God who established government in the world, and this means inviting punishment.
Rulers must bear the sword; that is, they have the power to afflict punishment and even to take life. God established human government because man is a sinner and must have some kind of authority over him. God has given the sword to rulers, and with it the authority to punish. Even though we cannot always respect the man in office, we must respect the office, for government was ordained by God.
On more than one occasion in his ministry, Paul used the Roman law to protect his life and to extend his work. The centurions mentioned in the Book of Acts appear to be men of character and high ideals. Even though government officials are not believers, they are still the “ministers of God” because He established the authority of the State.
- Romans 13:1–2 — 1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
- Genesis 9:5–6 — 5 “Surely I will require your lifeblood; from every beast I will require it. And from every man, from every man’s brother I will require the life of man. 6 “Whoever sheds man’s blood, By man his blood shall be shed, For in the image of God He made man.
- Daniel 2:21 — 21 “It is He who changes the times and the epochs; He removes kings and establishes kings; He gives wisdom to wise men And knowledge to men of understanding.
- Daniel 2:37–38 — 37 “You, O king, are the king of kings, to whom the God of heaven has given the kingdom, the power, the strength and the glory; 38 and wherever the sons of men dwell, or the beasts of the field, or the birds of the sky, He has given them into your hand and has caused you to rule over them all. You are the head of gold.
- Daniel 4:17 — 17 “This sentence is by the decree of the angelic watchers And the decision is a command of the holy ones, In order that the living may know That the Most High is ruler over the realm of mankind, And bestows it on whom He wishes And sets over it the lowliest of men.”
- Daniel 5:18–21 — 18 “O king, the Most High God granted sovereignty, grandeur, glory and majesty to Nebuchadnezzar your father. 19 “Because of the grandeur which He bestowed on him, all the peoples, nations and men of every language feared and trembled before him; whomever he wished he killed and whomever he wished he spared alive; and whomever he wished he elevated and whomever he wished he humbled. 20 “But when his heart was lifted up and his spirit became so proud that he behaved arrogantly, he was deposed from his royal throne and his glory was taken away from him. 21 “He was also driven away from mankind, and his heart was made like that of beasts, and his dwelling place was with the wild donkeys. He was given grass to eat like cattle, and his body was drenched with the dew of heaven until he recognized that the Most High God is ruler over the realm of mankind and that He sets over it whomever He wishes.
- Daniel 5:26 — 26 “This is the interpretation of the message: ‘MENĒ’— God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it.
- John 19:11 — 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no authority over Me, unless it had been given you from above; for this reason he who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
- 1 Peter 2:13 — 13 Submit yourselves for the Master’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority,