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SEEk 9 – Obeying the Government

SEEK 9 – Obeying the Government

 Question: Should I obey the government?

Bible Reading: Romans 13:1-7

Text: “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)

All of us as human beings have relationships with other human beings. We are in families, friendships, communities, churches and we are all part of civic societies which are governed by governments. In today’s world there is a great deal of cynicism about politicians, and many of us have concerns about governmental overreach – but it still remains the case that we have a responsibility to obey the laws of the land. We are, in the words of our text, to be ‘subject to the governing authorities’.

The State is the government of human society, to enable that society to function. Its duty is to ensure that all its members are protected and provided for; to maintain order and peace and to do so by enforcing the rule of law. Peter tells us that we are to submit ourselves ‘for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted amongst men’ (1 Peter 2:13).

Is that obedience absolute? Should we ever disobey? Yes – because the State has limits. It is not all powerful. However, those limits are decided by God – not by us. We don’t get to pick and choose which laws we should obey. But when the law of the State comes into conflict with the law of God – then Christians have an obligation to obey God rather than men.

In 16th Century Scotland a Presbyterian minister, Andrew Melville, was called before King James, to answer questions of disobedience because the Church was in effect saying that the King did not run the Church. After the king had expressed his displeasure, Melville said: “Sir, you are God’s silly vassal; there are two kings and two kingdoms in Scotland: there is king James, the head of the commonwealth; and there is Christ Jesus, the king of the Church, whose subject James the Sixth is, and of whose kingdom he is not a king, not a lord, not a head, but a member.” It was a bold statement which eventually ended up with Melville being imprisoned and then exiled.

Another example is Dietrich Bonhoeffer. He was a German Lutheran pastor and theologian who publicly stood up to Hitler and lost his life because of his brave stance. His argument was not just that Christians should not obey wicked and cruel laws – but that we must learn to speak up in the face of evil. “Silence in the face of evil is itself evil: God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.”

So, the Bible does teach that we should obey the government. But it does not teach that we should obey the government in all circumstances. But when we disobey, we need to be very sure that we are doing so because the government is going against the law of the Lord, rather than just our own social/political opinions.

I don’t like wearing facemasks – and if given the choice I normally don’t wear one. But if the government makes it the law of the land – even though I don’t agree with that law – I will obey it.

Can I make a plea to you? Most who read this will live in democracies where you have the right to be involved in the governing of your country. I would argue that it is not just a right, but it is also a responsibility. You will soon be able to vote – and you can speak, write and campaign for what is good and right. It is also a command of God that we should pray for those who are in power (1 Timothy 2:1-4). It is for our good, and for the good of our neighbours that we have societies that are just, peaceful and well run. Each of us has our own small part to play.

Consider: Can you think of a circumstance where you would have to disobey a government law? Or one where you should obey even if you don’t like it? What do you think you could do to be a better citizen of your country?

Further Reading:

Church and State; Good Neighbours and Good Friends – essay in Crown Him Lord of All.

What is the Relationship between Church and State? – R C Sproul

Dietrich Bonhoeffer – A Spoke in the Wheel – Dayspring Macleod.

Prayer: Lord God, you command us to pray for kings and those in authority. We pray for our political leaders. We ask that they would come to see that they are your servants. That you would grant them wisdom to govern justly. Enable us to be better citizens and give us the wisdom to know when we have to disobey, and the courage to stand for your word, in Jesus Name, Amen.

 SEEK ch 8 – Abortion






  1. Interesting that you mention face masks. That’s one rule I am not going to obey. We are to give Caesar’s what is Caesars and God what is God’s. My body doesn’t belong to the government.

    Also obeying these kind of rules, paves way for more and more government control until there is no way back. Showing QR-codes to enter a shop etc.

    I would not like to have contributed to that as a Christian. Forcing masks is unjust because they don’t do what we’re told to wear them for, transmission (so a false testimony) and are just an outward sign of mindless compliance, and they cause harm because breathing in your own garbage isn’t healthy for you. They hamper the development of babies who don’t see facial expression, they’re disastrous for deaf people to communicate, to name a few negative results That’s a lot of harm to a lot of people, and the result of compliance.
    Then, consequentially forcing my children to do the same thing which causes them harm because the government tells us so. I can’t see how we as Christians are required to follow this rule if it harms us, and our children and our neighbours. I would think we better stand up to it.

  2. I live in Western Australia where we were banned from workplaces for six months if we did not submit to the experimental injections in 2021: I lost six months of the ability to work at my ‘permanent’ teaching position because I stood up against this travesty.
    Coercing people to take the experimental Covid injections was a very clear violation of the Nuremberg Code: it is against all medical ethics to coerce people into receiving medical treatments, especially experimental medical treatments. All that is necessary for a Nuremberg Code violation is these two things: 1) an experimental medical treatment 2) coercion.
    Furthermore, the Biblical legislation concerning quarantine of people suffering from leprosy makes it very clear that a quarantine of anyone who is not proven to be ill with a highly contagious disease is against God’s law. After it is proven that a person does not have leprosy, they are not allowed to be quaranted.
    It is a great shame that not one notable Christian leader in Australia stood up against this tyranny. Yet amazingly, many of the leaders in the Australian freedom movement are Christians, such as Monica Smit, Augusto Zimmerman, etc.
    I stood up against it – and I believe the Lord told me to – in order that other Christians would know that we can stand up, and that God will support those who do (I didn’t miss one mortgage payment, and was able to change from teaching to window cleaning in that time)

  3. Would you wear a mask if you believed it was all part of a corporate psy op to terrify the public and coerce them to take dangerous experimental vaccines which made the pharmaceutical executives extremely rich but also caused death in rare instances and for others chronic ill health?

  4. Is the unborn human on NHS website’s Dating scan around the size of a plum (or a hen’s egg)? Why not print that image in Church publications or share it widely on Church social media and the internet? Or might a daring minister crush an egg in the pulpit, or drop it on the Church floor?

  5. The Romans 13 issue an extremely important one, and sadly it has not received the attention that it deserves; or should I say demands?
    The most common defence for defying the law is that of Acts 5:29. However the point is missed that the disciples were arguing against the Jewish authorities. However it was the Romans who were the governing body, and there is no record in the Bible of Paul ever having broken a Roman law.
    The Gulag is not a comforting prospect, but with governments around the world working in lockstep on a technocracy agenda, that is where things are headed. And woe betide anyone who gets in the way.

    1. Well, it would be worthwhile to ponder the question what the mandate of the government is, biblically. And after that discuss this topic again. Also relating to the Greek used to describe what is expected of us related to the civil government. Aparently it’s not super black and white.

      1. The government’s mandate is to reward good and punish evil. Where they negate this purpose their authority is illegitimate and they must be disobeyed.

        Romans 13:3-4 “For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it doesn’t bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil.”

        1 Peter 2:12 “, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”

        Isaiah (Isaiah 10 woe to them who make unjust laws) , Augustine (“ for I think a law that is not just, is not actually a law” (“nam mihi lex esse non videtur, quae justa non fuerit”) ) and Thomas Aquinas (the law must be for the common good, the law should be within the scope of govt authority, it must be applied equally to all) (Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologiae I-II, q. 96, a. 4, c.) , and Martin Luther King Jr (letter from a Birmingham jail) agree that “an unjust law is no law at all”

        Christian businesses schools and hospitals who fired workers for not being vaccinated disobeyed God because they were afraid of a fine: they imposed the financial burden on their poorer employees instead.

        The “mandates” in any case were unlawful: they were imposed by the states in Australia where health is administered under the Aust constitution at a federal level: the federal government intentionally and purposely turned a blind eye to the states doing something completely unconstitutional. This is blatantly illegal under the constitution:

        Section 51 (xxiiiA)  the provision of maternity allowances, widows’ pensions, child endowment, unemployment, pharmaceutical, sickness and hospital benefits, medical and dental services (but not so as to authorize any form of civil conscription), benefits to students and family allowances;

        The 95 page High Court ruling on the meaning of this section, British Medical Association v Commonwealth [1949] HCA 44; (1949) 79 CLR 201 (7 October 1949) page 293 makes it abundantly clear that indirect or direct means of medical coercion are illegal:

        If Parliament cannot lawfully do this directly by legal means it cannot lawfully do it indirectly by creating a situation, as distinct from merely taking advantage of one, in which the individual is left no real choice but compliance. (at p293)

  6. I think we are obligated to oppose Government only when it asks of us something clearly wrong. Some issues are a matter of judgement and it seems to me in these we should normally give Government the benefit of the doubt.

    I am, however, grateful to those who by lawful means seek to show Government where it is mistaken.

  7. Shiphrah and Puah by the way were commended by God for lying to Pharaoh to save the lives of Hebrew babies: Exodus 1:16-21

    I believe God would similarly reward nurses in Australia who gave patients saline instead of mRNA injections.

  8. The Canberra declaration website (which I just posted) has an interview about a film that deals with this very issue with US churches. Sadly most Australian churches were far too compliant.

  9. Elizabeth 1 had wise advisers who calculated that keeping the puritan clergy focussed on the question of ecclesiastical vestments would keep them from militating over more important matters. Face masks? Funny how the only thing we seem to learn from history is that we don’t learn from history.

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