Should Our Submission to Government Be Absolute?

I am not disagreeing with the teaching that as Christians we ought to respect those in authority over us.

It has been my observation, that most teachers on this doctrine give the impression that the authority given to our leaders has no limit in scope.

I am convinced from 1 Samuel 8::20 and other parts of scripture that our leaders’ scope of rule is specifically limited to:

a) fighting the battles of the nation and;

b) administering justice, which includes policing and adjudicating disputes among the people in accordance with God’s commandments.

The ruler’s role as protector of the people from outside threats is clearly communicated when God appointed Saul to be “captain” (1 Sam 9:16). Further, Rom 13:1 to 4 refers to the justice and policing role of the rulers.

However, most teachers of this doctrine often fall short of emphasizing that it’s God’s expectation that rulers are always to act in a God-fearing manner. Romans 13, affirms that rulers “are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.”

Just reading the books of Kings, where there is a chronology of kings who “did right in the sight of God” or those that did not, signals God’s expectation of righteousness.

There appears to be a tendency in our increasingly socialist societies to expand that sphere of rule to: education, health care, job creation, trade, welfare, etc. Rulers today have been allowed to intrude into areas of an individual’s responsibility that were never God’s intentions.

I am not convinced that it was God’s will that we be reliant on Government.

However what I see today is a reliance on Government to do everything for us. To me, an over-reliance on Government is tantamount to making Government your god.

I get a sense that because biblical teachers fail to make the distinction of the rulers rightful limits, by their own omission, leave the impression that it is ok to submit to Government to the same degree as if Government were God.

This is where the line is drawn for me!

I believe that this omission in our biblical exposition has created the ideal environment for Revelation chapter 13 to be a reality. The pandemic, in my humble opinion, gave us a glimpse of that and unfortunately many Christians were not able to discern it.

Many Christians, in my opinion, could not see the “spiritual wickedness in high places”, because they were told to unequivocally trust their Government.

I am not convinced that the scripture teaches us to blindly trust our Government. Respect and submit to it, yes, but not be accommodating to its overreach or wickedness.