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Does Romans 13 Tell Us We Must Obey the Tyrannical State?

When those of us who refuse to comply with unlawful mandates — such as wearing a slave muzzle, maintaining an artificial anti-social distance between ourselves and others, or subjecting ourselves to voluntary house arrest — many “good Christians” will quote Romans 13 as biblical proof that we must always obey the government.

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. (Romans 13:1-4)

What order-following Christians completely miss here is the point Paul makes about the rulers being there to judge and punish those who do evil: “rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil” and “for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil”.

In addition to Romans 13, “good Christians” will often quote 1 Peter 2, which also speaks of punishing those who do evil.

Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well. (1 Peter 2:13-14)

In neither case are Paul or Peter advocating compliance with tyrannical laws issued by a tyrannical state, something that order-following Christians fail to understand. On the contrary, prior to penning their epistles both Paul and Peter when he was with John, had chosen not to obey the authorities (2 Corinthians 11:32-33; Acts 4:18-20).

As is clear in scripture, it’s always more important to obey God than man. And the most important way we can obey God is to believe on Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour.

Katharine Madden

Katharine came to Christ after hearing the gospel and seeing the truth of the Bible, how clearly it prophesies the emerging Antichrist one world order, as well as the degradation and wickedness in our world today. She is dedicated to sharing this truth along with the gospel of Jesus Christ.

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