James Ross-Naylor gave an excellent exposition of Ro 13:1-7 last Sunday evening – election weekend – and that passage indeed states that the governing authorities “have been instituted by God”. This is because Jesus Christ is “the ruler of the kings of the earth… the Almighty” (Rev 1:5,8), and therefore all things serve Him and His sovereign purposes.
Therefore, we are to respect and serve the governing authorities, knowing that they ultimately bow to Christ and His kingdom – whether they want to or not. How we as Christians are to serve them is how we are to serve all people, by bearing witness to the saving grace of Jesus Christ in all that we say and do.
Does respecting the government mean agreeing with everything it says? If it agrees with the truth of Christ’s Gospel, certainly, but, if it runs against it, certainly not, and we may be constrained by conscience to speak out our disagreement.
Does respecting the government mean doing everything it tells us to do? Yes: it means obeying the laws of the government in all things, unless those laws clearly cause us to go against the truth of Christ’s Gospel – i.e., to break the law of God. Then we may be constrained by conscience to stand against the government, and bear the consequences.
Therefore, pray for our government, that Christ bless, direct and correct it, so that all people will be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth (2Tm 2:1-4).
Grace and cheers, Jonathan