Romans 13: 1-2 states “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers (governments/rulers). 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.” It is interesting that Paul wrote this passage while the wicked Nero was Emperor who was persecuting the Christians.
This passage reminds us that all authorities and powers…are subject to God and indeed ordained by God. This would include governments that rule well and governments that rule badly or even wickedly. G. K. Chesterton has stated that “Without authority there is no liberty. Freedom is doomed to destruction at every turn, unless there is a recognized right to freedom. And if there are rights, there is an authority to which we appeal for them.” Governments are the God ordained authority we appeal to for protection of whatever liberties and freedoms they may grant us at any time. Without government there is no possibility of any liberty or freedom from a human perspective.
Government is a good thing, instituted by God, to provide order and protection for its subjects. Human governments are imperfect and sometimes wicked but we still owe an allegiance to them. The sole exception is when a government might require us to act contrary to God’s commandments and even then our duty is to refuse to do so and accept any resulting penalty without due complaint. When Daniel was put into the Lion’s den and the King checked on him the next morning, Daniel’s first words were “O king, live for ever”. Daniel went on to say that God had shut the lions’ mouths due to his being found innocent before God and the king. Even though the king acted wickedly toward Daniel he still showed respect for God’s ordained King and trusted to God to protect him in his innocence – the proper response for a man or women of God.