Honor Authority By George Stroh, Senior Pastor February 15, 2010
"Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men." (1 Peter 2:13-15)
We are blessed to live in a country which, at least for now, provides religious freedom, allowing us to openly worship the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes, we may suffer some intolerance, discrimination and verbal abuse for our faith. But there are many places in the world where Christianity is not tolerated at all. I read that there are 200 million Christians living with persecution (threat of imprisonment, violence etc), and another 400 million that are living with non-trivial deprivations of liberty (blatant discrimination, restrictions etc).
No one chooses when or where they will be born physically, or born again spiritually. No matter where we live, our responsibility as Christians remains the same regarding government and their human institutions. Unless there is an obvious and direct conflict with Scripture, our responsibility is to submit , for the Lord's sake. We do so recognizing that it is the Lord that establishes Kings, Presidents, Judges, Governors and other human authorities who rule over us. This would be true if you lived in the Roman empire in the first century or in the United States of America today.
Submitting doesn't mean that we necessarily agree with those who rule over us or that we must set aside our legal rights as citizens. But I think we need to be careful that whatever we do is done "for the Lord's sake" and consistent with His Word. We are ambassadors for Christ and what we do and say should always bring honor to Him, regardless of how it effects us.
Daniel and Joseph are good examples for us. Both of these young men were forced to live in hostile countries under godless rulers who didn't respect Daniel or Joseph's God. Yet both of them willingly submitted to these rulers. Only when they were asked to do something that obviously and directly conflicted with God's will, did they refuse to submit to the human institutions, and in so doing God was honored and these men were rewarded for their faithful obedience.
My hope and prayer is that the Lord comes soon. But if He tarries, it is possible that the next few years could be difficult, economically and politically, even in the United States. Growing frustration with government may boil over into much civil disobedience, maybe even anarchy against the governing authorities. As Christians, we need to be praying for the governing authorities and our country, remembering that we represent the Lord Jesus Christ. It is His honor and glory that matters, not ours. In good times and bad our instructions and duties are clear; Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the King. (1 Peter 2:17) Maranatha!