I think–-no, I know—this is one of those oft misunderstood pieces of Scripture debated amongst pastors, and yet much touted, in this day and age of extreme governmental overreach, imperial mandates, and attacks on our children through perverse educational curriculum. Yes, you guessed it, Romans 13 and what the Bible says about submitting to the governing authorities.
However, and to be clear, being governed by God does not equal thoughtless submission to every institution. Sadly, so many have been led to believe this because of faulty exegesis. So, as followers of Christ, do we have a duty to submit to governmental demands? Yes and no!! You see, we are called to obey our governmental law, but never at the expense of God's law. Never at the expense of truth (Daniel 3:16-18 / Daniel 6:10 / Acts 5:29).
In other words, the Scriptures command the believer to obey what God has appointed unless what God has appointed has been corrupted. Let me use another God-appointed institution—marriage—to make a God-instituted point: Consider how a wife is not Scripturally obligated to submit to her husband if he is misusing and abusing her and operating in an evil and destructive way toward her. No, if the husband (or wife) perverts the divine design of the marriage, the office is forfeited and thus no longer carries God’s blessing upon it. This doesn’t warrant divorce, but it absolutely doesn’t warrant compliance.
So back to government. When a government is absent of God, their governance will too be an affront to God. And here is why! Godless governments think they are God, and thus they become the puppet of the Great Tyrant, aka Lucifer. You see, if the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one (I John 5:19) and Jesus said Satan is the ruler of this world (John 12:31), Paul penned he is the god of this age (2 Corinthians 4:4) and the prince of the power of the air (Ephesians 2:2), then what stream would be most useful for his agenda to be most lethal and harmful? You guessed it, the government. And that is why godless governments seek to take away rights that are given by the one true God.
Yet those who are governed by the one true God will not submit to godless governments. In fact, and here is the point--any government (from the schoolhouse to the White House) forfeits their divine appointment when their policies contradict the divine design of government: to honor good and punish evil, to uphold law and order as God prescribes it in Scripture (Romans 13:1-5).
When you begin to see institutions no longer honoring good and punishing evil, but actually punishing good and honoring evil, you are seeing something inversed that absolutely welcomes a curse-- "Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!" (Isaiah 5:20)
So how can a believer in Christ submit to something that God calls a “woe?” Exactly! We are called to be obedient to Truth, not compliant to lies. At all costs. We don’t bow down because everyone is doing it; nor do we cease living out our faith because it’s “forbidden” in the public space. By the way, you will know who is who by who they bow to.
Hitler once said, “How fortunate for governments that the people they administer don’t think!” Think about this quote for a moment. Now consider how people are sheeple who blindly accept what’s lethal when not shepherded by the Bible. Ugh. These are unprecedented times, and the Church of Jesus Christ needs to be as bold as a lion (Proverbs 28:1) in opposition to those godless institutions who are lying.
So, in spite of the government of the White House, let us proclaim, “As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord” (Joshua 24:15). Let us be an island of courage amid a sea of compromise.