13 “Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good” (I Peter 2:13-14).
As I write this article, there are a whole lot of protests going on in this country. People are protesting by sitting or kneeling during the playing of the National Anthem at sporting events, by demanding that offensive statues be removed from public places, by spray painting graffiti and offensive remarks on national monuments, or by just rioting and vandalizing. People are even protesting when an individual cannot get a job as a professional football player. Recently, a state representative from Missouri even called for the assassination of the president.
It seems that what is occurring at this time could best be summed up by a bit of dialogue from the Marlon Brando film The Wild One. Mildred: Hey Johnny, what are you rebelling against? Johnny: Whadda you got? God calls Christians to a life of holiness. This means a life which is separate from sin. One way to demonstrate obedience to this call is by being a law abiding citizen.
God commands believers to be obedient. The word “be subject” (ὑποτάσσω; hypotasso) is a direct command from God to obey all human institutions God has created. These include one’s employer at work, one’s parent(s) at home, a teacher or administrator at school, church leaders and even leaders in government. Peter specifically refers to those who are leaders in government.
We may not always like those in authority over us, but God calls us to a holy calling. That holy calling requires obedience to the authorities God has created. The only exception to the rule is when to obey human institutions requires us to disobey God. Herein is where Christians must disobey (Acts 4:19) man rather than God.
God specifically established government to punish the evildoer and to praise the righteous (Romans 13:1-7). While admittedly no human government is perfect in this fallen world, God still calls believers to be an example of righteous obedience.
Pray for those leaders in your life today. This includes your boss, your parents, your teachers, and your representatives in government including the president. Strive to be obedient to every human institution God has created.
Soli deo Gloria!