Christians and Governments
“In Romans 13: 1-6, Paul teaches Christians how to conduct themselves towards those in authority. He writes, “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Paul’s words seem clear—Christians must obey the laws of the land. But what can Christians do when they do not agree with those in power? What if those in authority are corrupt? Can there be holy resistance?” (From The Limits of Obedience By Wesley Baines)
First off, I don’t know what translation the above passage was taken from because it wasn’t stated, but in the KJV, American Revised, New English Standard and a number of others, the translation for governing authorities is “higher powers”. Many Christians today are under the guise that in order to be Godly, they are to be totally obedient to the governing authorities except in the extreme case that obedience is in conflict with God’s Laws. The only problem is that most Christians don’t even try to keep the laws of God or the Commandments that were written by the very finger of God in stone. Jesus did not change anything in the law, especially the supreme constitution within the ten commandments. (Matt. 5:17-20)
The sacrificing of animals was dissolved because Jesus Christ was the Lamb of God and His sacrifice was the final and only blood sacrifice that has the power to forgive sin. True, we are no longer under the law, but the keeping of the commandments is like a proof of purchase for the precious blood of the Lamb. (John 14:15) The only thing nailed to the cross other than the hands and feet of our Lord and Savior was a mockingly sign stating Jesus was “King of the Jews” and metaphorically “the handwriting of ordinances”. (Col.2:14-22) The Pharisees and Sadducees had a whole book of handwritten ordinances of their doctrine and traditions (of men) on how to keep the law which was void of all liberty. All throughout the New Testament they accused Jesus of breaking one of His Father’s commandments according to their tradition!
Today, many teach to be obedient to the laws of man’s governments and authorities while rejecting the very commandments of the most supreme power in all the cosmos. Biblical authority holds no water anymore because the smorgasbord of denominations has punched so many philosophical holes in it. (Col. 2:8) And they’re still punching the written Word of God with spikes made with inclusiveness and/or tolerance of every abomination under the sun. Our Constitutional Republic was based on a declaration with certain inalienable rights endowed by our creator which is a privilege when we’re one nation under God – indivisible! Are we one nation under God – indivisible? (See “Can Money Talk?” in main menu.) When it comes to blind obedience to our government’s unconstitutional regulations and mandates, what is a true Christian to do?
Let every soul be subject (G5293) unto the higher (G5242) powers (G1849). For there is no power (G1849) but of God: the powers (G1849) that be are ordained (G5021) of (from, by) God. 2 Whosoever therefore resisteth (G498) the power (G1849), resisteth (G436) the ordinance (G1296) of God: and they that resist (G436) shall receive to themselves damnation (G2917). 3 For rulers (G758) are not a terror to good (G18) works, but to the evil (G2556). Wilt thou then not be afraid (G5400) of the power (G1849)? do that which is good (G18), and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4 For he is the minister (G1249) of God to thee for good (G18). (Romans 13:1-4)
*G5293 – ὑποτάσσω – to subordinate; reflexively, to obey
Derivation: from G5259 and G5021; KJV Usage: be under obedience (obedient), put under, subdue unto, (be, make) subject (to, unto), be (put) in subjection (to, under), submit self unto.
*G5242 – ὑπερέχω – to hold oneself above, i.e. (figuratively) to excel; participle (as adjective, or neuter as noun) superior, superiority. Derivation: from G5228 and G2192; KJV Usage: better, excellency, higher, pass, supreme.
*G1849 – ἐξουσία – privilege, i.e. (subjectively) force, capacity, competency, freedom, or (objectively) mastery (concretely, magistrate, superhuman, potentate, token of control), delegated influence. Derivation: from G1832 (in the sense of ability); KJV Usage: authority, jurisdiction, liberty, power, right, strength.
>G1832 – ἔξεστι – so also ἐξόν neuter present participle of the same (with or without some form of G1510 expressed); impersonally, it is right (through the figurative idea of being out in public) Derivation: third person singular present indicative of a compound of G1537 and G1510; KJV Usage: be lawful, let, X may(-est).
>>G1510 – εἰμί – I exist (used only when emphatic)
Derivation: the first person singular present indicative; a prolonged form of a primary and defective verb; KJV Usage: am, have been, X it is I, was.
*G5021 – τάσσω – to arrange in an orderly manner, i.e. assign or dispose (to a certain position or lot) Derivation: a prolonged form of a primary verb (which latter appears only in certain tenses); KJV Usage: addict, appoint, determine, ordain, set.
>G473 – ἀντί – opposite, i.e. instead or because of (rarely in addition to) Derivation: a primary particle; KJV Usage: for, in the room of.
>G2476 – ἵστημι – to stand (transitively or intransitively), used in various applications (literally or figuratively) Derivation: a prolonged form of a primary στάω (of the same meaning, and used for it in certain tenses); KJV Usage: abide, appoint, bring, continue, covenant, establish, hold up, lay, present, set (up), stanch, stand (by, forth, still, up).
*G1296 – διαταγή – arrangement, i.e. institution
Derivation: from G1299; KJV Usage: instrumentality.
*G2917 – κρίμα – a decision (the function or the effect, for or against (“crime”)) Derivation: from G2919; KJV Usage: avenge, condemned, condemnation, damnation, + go to law, judgment.
>G2919 – κρίνω – by implication, to try, condemn, punish
Derivation: properly, to distinguish, i.e. decide (mentally or judicially); KJV Usage: avenge, conclude, condemn, damn, decree, determine, esteem, judge, go to (sue at the) law, ordain, call in question, sentence to, think.
*G758 – ἄρχων – a first (in rank or power) Derivation: present participle of G757; KJV Usage: chief (ruler), magistrate, prince, ruler.
>G757 – ἄρχω – to be first (in political rank or power) Derivation: a primary verb; KJV Usage: reign (rule) over.
*G18 – ἀγαθός – “good” (in any sense, often as noun) Derivation: a primary word; KJV Usage: benefit, good(-s, things), well.
*G2556 – κακός – worthless (intrinsically, such; whereas G4190 properly refers to effects), i.e. (subjectively) depraved, or (objectively) injurious. Derivation: apparently a primary word; KJV Usage: bad, evil, harm, ill, noisome, wicked.
*G5400 – φοβέω – to frighten, i.e. (passively) to be alarmed; by analogy, to be in awe of, i.e. revere. Derivation: from G5401; KJV Usage: be (+ sore) afraid, fear (exceedingly), reverence.
>G5401 – φόβος – alarm or fright. Derivation: from a primary φέβομαι (to be put in fear); KJV Usage: be afraid, + exceedingly, fear, terror
*G1249 – διάκονος – an attendant, i.e. (genitive case) a waiter (at table or in other menial duties); specially, a Christian teacher and pastor (technically, a deacon or deaconess) Derivation: probably from an obsolete διάκω (to run on errands; compare G1377); KJV Usage: deacon, minister, servant.
With this long list of Greek definitions, this is how I see the reconstruction in English the above passage:
Let every soul submit themselves (5293) unto the supreme (5242) privilege of liberty (1849), for there is no privilege of liberty (1849) except from God. The delegated influences (1849) that be are arranged in an orderly (5021) manner by God. Whosoever [including those granted privilege of delegated authority] therefore oppose (498) that privilege (1849), stands against (436) the institution arranged (1296) by God, and they that withstand (436) shall receive unto themselves judgement by law (2917). For magistrates (758) are not a terror to beneficial good (18) works, but to evil worthless harm (2556). Will you then be not revenant (5400) of the privilege (1849)? For they are attendants (1249) of God to you for good.
That is an example of the technic I call CSI-DoD or Comprehensive Scriptural Investigation – Doctrine of Definitions. Then read the rest of the letter in Romans 13:4-14, especially noting verses 9-10.
With liberty comes responsibility in the institutions of God. When those institutions become corrupt and/or are Godless, true followers of Christ have to withstand the oppression and tyranny. However, if people by contract of a constitutional guarantee of certain inalienable rights in the pursuit of life, liberty and happiness find their public attendants to be liars, cheats and oppressors, the guaranteed right to point out and address grievous conduct is for all who lay claim to that constitution. Including Christians! With all freedom of choice comes consequences. Rejecting Gods laws also has consequences. Like in the law of physics: For every action there is a reaction. Is not it a good thing to consider the reaction before taking an action? Wasn’t that our first parents mistake?
For two opposing views on today’s main topic, see the following:
Yawl have a restful Sabbath!