Rebellion of any and all forms is bad. It doesn’t matter if you are right in the thing that you are all worked up about. Rebellion is bad. God has instructed us to walk in peace. It is better to live, more or less, invisibly in the world. We are servants of God Almighty. What Scripture gives you the notion that you should fight against your lawful governmental authority?
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. (NIV)
This passage is talking directly to you. You “must submit to the governing authorities…” It doesn’t say that you must do this if they are right or good. It just says that you must. This passage is inclusive of all governmental authorities.
One of the fundamental axioms of the Bible is that every Scripture is true and must be obeyed. I mention this because I have seen many people protest the authorities concerning some injustice or other in the name of God. They assume that because they are right about the thing that they are protesting, that they are right in protesting. They are not. All rebellion is bad and must be avoided.
Imagine that the government is going to execute a condemned criminal. People stand up and protest saying, “God says, ‘Thou shalt not kill!’” Are the protesters right? Should they be opposing the government? No, they should not. What about the environment? Should believers protest against the destruction of our natural resources and the extermination of animal and plant species? No, they should not. Is the destruction of our environment good? Of course not! Should we be wiping the planet of all forms of life? Clearly not! What then should we do? We should be praying and obeying the government—so long as obedience doesn’t directly force us to do something that God has told us not to do. God is first, but rebellion is bad. If the government asks, or commands, you to do something that God forbids, then do not do it, but that is between you and God and the government.
Realistically speaking you will rarely find the government asking you to do something that is wrong in God’s sight. I have never heard of the government commanding a woman to get an abortion. If the government allows abortions what is that to me? Are abortions right? I think not, but, again I say to you, what is that to me?
The government is of the world and I am of the Lord Jesus Christ. The government will do what it will do, but I will follow the Lord. If the government were to outlaw the preaching of the Gospel, I would then defy the government and preach as God directs, but protest against the government, no. I follow an authority that is higher than the world’s authority, but the authority that I follow directs me to submit to the governmental authorities. So, where there is conflict I follow the highest authority, but I do so in peace.
God has not directed us believers to save the world! The world cannot be saved. The world is going down. Everything that is written about the world will come to pass. There is nothing that you can do about it. If you are fighting against the world’s destruction, you might find that you are fighting against God, for God ordained the destruction of the world system. Is it a scary thing that the world is coming apart all around me? Yes, it is very scary and disturbing. Am I happy to see this happening? Clearly not! I don’t want any to be lost or destroyed, but it is not my place to rebel against the governing authorities.
My job, as it were, is to tell you my friends what I have learned from the Lord. I am to tell you this whether it is popular or not, whether it is politically correct or not, whether it agrees with what I want or not. I don’t want to see injustice in the world. I don’t want to see the world going the wrong way. But, I am constrained in what I do. I must not do what I want to do, but rather I must do what I am directed to do by God.
People today are all worried about the global climate—global warming is the new buzzword. What am I supposed to do about it? I am supposed to obey God and be at peace with all men as far as I am able.
Make every effort to live in peace with all men and to be holy; without holiness no one will see the Lord. (NIV)
I personally try to recycle and not throw my trash around to displease others. I try to live in peace with everyone, so far as I am able. What about the person that rides a bicycle to work instead of an automobile? What about him or her? My friend, if you want to be a perfect environmentalist then you must live in a cave and grow your own food and cover yourself with whatever you find on the ground that doesn’t hurt anything else if you take it. If your righteousness is based on your perfect obedience to the environment then you are doomed because no one can live without impacting the environment. Does that mean that I can just do anything I want? No, you must try to live in peace with all men.
Who is the person that you should emulate? Is not Jesus the perfect example of a man living by the Spirit of the Lord? Yes, Jesus is the man that we should be like.
Aware of this, Jesus withdrew from that place. Many followed him, and he healed all their sick, 16 warning them not to tell who he was. 17 This was to fulfill what was spoken through the prophet Isaiah: 18 “Here is my servant whom I have chosen, the one I love, in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will proclaim justice to the nations. 19 He will not quarrel or cry out; no one will hear his voice in the streets. 20 A bruised reed he will not break, and a smoldering wick he will not snuff out, till he leads justice to victory. 21 In his name the nations will put their hope.” (NIV)
Jesus did not quarrel or cry out. Jesus’ voice was not heard in the streets. He was, as much as he was able, invisible to the governmental authorities.