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The Bible teaches that authority should be surrendered to and respected. This is a difficult concept for many, as the Bible appears to absolve people who rule or preside over others in an unjust or harsh manner. Perhaps the most frequently referenced and well-known verse on this subject is found in Romans 13. God instructs us to submit to "governing authorities, for there is none other but those established by God" (Romans 13:1). Additionally, the Bible warns us that revolting against authority means rebelling against God (Romans 13:2).

Many would argue that such passages only apply to benign rulers because Scripture continues to state that these rulers "have no fear for those who do right" and are "God's servant, an agent of wrath to punish the disobedient." This is why "it is vital to submit" and "taxes are necessary," since "authorities are God's servants who devote their entire lives to governing" (Romans 13:3-6).

What does God say about how we should respond to oppressive rulers? The Bible also states in another well-known and challenging chapter, "Slaves, submit yourselves to your master with all respect, not just to the good and compassionate, but also to the harsh." He continues, "For it is God's wish that by doing good, you will silence foolish men's uninformed discourse" and "Show right respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, reverence God, and honour the monarch." For it is commendable if a man endures unjust suffering out of a sense of God, [and] if you endure hardship for doing good, this is commendable before God. You were called to this because Christ suffered for you, setting an example for you to follow" (1 Peter 2:15, 17-21).

These are really harsh messages that may lead people to believe God is sadistic. This would be an erroneous interpretation of the Bible. God's constant call to demonstrate love, dignity, and respect for others reflects His goal for His Kingdom on earth. He desires that we enjoy life to the fullest (John 10:10) and assures us of a lovely and eternal existence (John 3:16; 14:2-3, 23).


Spread God's Words

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