Romans 13:1 (NKJV)
“Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
This is a hard saying, and I know that many of us cannot accept it. The question that springs up in my mind is: “are all existing authorities appointed by God, even the oppressive and evil ones?” My NKJV Study Bible Notes states, “Every believer is to be subject to these various authorities, even if these authorities are as evil as Nero (A.D. 54–68), the emperor of Rome who cruelly persecuted Christians.” How were Christians in Rome to be subject to such an evil regime as Nero’s? This is truly a hard saying.
What I see here is that God is the One who sovereignly chooses who enters authority and when; and even when they abuse the power bestowed on them, God does not expect us to rebel against government. However, I believe that there is a place to rebel against evil policies, evil practices, and evil people. I don’t think God expects me to follow an evil leader to practice evil. I really cannot believe that this is what the scripture is teaching. I will obey government and follow government policies and decrees, once they do not contradict God and His Word. While this is not a doctrinal position I am taking, but like Daniel, I believe it is okay to rebel against laws that want you to directly disobey God, or sin against your Lord and Redeemer.
“Lord, I don’t fully understand this verse, but I know that I cannot in good faith obey any authority that seeks to lead me away from the path of truth and righteousness. Moreover, if leadership oppresses the weak and fragile, I know I will rise to help the downtrodden. This is where I am in my understanding, but help me shed more light on this Lord, in Jesus name. Amen.”