“For the Lord’s sake, submit to all human authority—whether the king as head of state, or the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish those who do wrong and to honor those who do right. It is God’s will that your honorable lives should silence those ignorant people who make foolish accusations against you. For you are free, yet you are God’s slaves, so don’t use your freedom as an excuse to do evil. Respect everyone, and love the family of believers. Fear God, and respect the king.” 1 Peter 2:13-17 NLT
The scriptures make it clear that we are to submit to, and respect, governing authority. (Please read Romans 13:1-7). We must remember that, when Peter penned the words of today's scripture reference, there was a Roman Caesar in power. The Roman Empire wasn't a people friendly government. The political and cultural power of this government stands as one of the most potent in history. In the midst of it's dominance was a body of believers called "Christians" (see Acts 11:26). These followers of Christ were to place their allegiance in Jesus, yet they were to obey the lawful, ruling authority on earth. This was a task that required wisdom and understanding from God. No allegiance was to be higher than Jesus Christ. No law that required them to disobey God would be honored or obeyed. This is what is called "civil disobedience". Daniel did this in Daniel 6 when the king had issued a decree that no one should pray to anyone other than he. Daniel prayed only to the One true God! Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego demonstrated it in Daniel 3 when they refused to bow and worship the 90 foot tall statue. Daniel was thrown into the lions den. Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were thrown into the fiery furnace. They loved God more than anything. God delivered each of them and used the situation to exalt His name among the heathen. None of these men threw a fit, wore sandwich boards, hurled insults, burned chariots, used degrading slurs, blew up clinics, started revolts, or started an insurrection. They simply wouldn't comply to any expectation that required a violation of God's law. Every law that was otherwise placed within the society had to be respected, honored, and obeyed. In doing these things, the believer was displaying their loyalty to Christ without compromise, and at the same time demonstrated that Christ made them citizens of earth that adhered to the highest standards, even if it was tough and seemingly unfair. The credibility of their testimony was the challenge. Jesus wasn't a rogue renegade that wanted to destroy those around Him. He was the very God who had made all things and understood the place of authority. His people were to be people of excellent conduct and impeccable morality. This distinguished them from the pagan religions. God is a God of order. He expects His children to portray His likeness even in a fallen race of men. Paul spoke about this principle to the Corinthians when he said: “But be sure that everything is done properly and in order.” 1 Corinthians 14:40 NLT I want to boldly say that sex outside of marriage is ungodly, adultery is sinful, homosexuality is blatantly abominable, abortion is clearly murder, human trafficking is deplorable, drug addiction is horrible, alcoholism is detestable, hatred and bitterness are deadly, and the list goes on. I do not believe that any believer in Christ can condone any of these. I believe that we, as constituents of our governing authorities have an obligation and responsibility to influence the direction of our State and Nation. However, I don't believe that Jesus has called us to be a Judas and incite an insurrection. He has called us to live the truth, preach the truth, and face the consequences of the truth even in a perverse society. Only the truth can set men free, not a political movement. Let's live lives that display the truth in the midst of a contrary culture. The gospel of Jesus Christ is what changes the heart and, ultimately, the world. Let's be found as salt and light in a world void of godly flavor and absent of lighted direction. We are citizens of heaven on earth!! The Lordship of Jesus precedes all authority, exceeds all authority, and succeeds all authority. He possesses all authority!!! (Matthew 28:18). Only in Him is proper authority understood! After all, He is the KING!!!
Rev. Curtis Norris