2. Obey the law of the country by which you are governed.
From the very beginning of creation, we were all created to have God as our one and only King, but God’s own people rejected Him in that position, so things are different today. If you read 1. Samuel 8 you will see that God was not “enough” for people – they wanted to replace Him with a human king. God allowed their wish, but He also told people that because of that choice, they would have to submit to the new king and the new laws. God even told people, that they could expect the human king to take the best and leave the worst for the rabble…. and still, people rebelled against God and had their own way.
We are still dealing with that choice today. God has given each government the authority and power they are due (John 19:10-11 & Romans 13:1-7).
John 19:10-11 (NKJV)
Then Pilate said to Him, “Are You not speaking to me? Do You not know that I have power to crucify You, and power to release You?”
Jesus answered, “You could have no power at all against Me unless it had been given you from above. Therefore the one who delivered Me to you has the greater sin.”
In the new Testament, we read how Jesus submits to the government (Luke 20:20-25). Peter (1 Peter 2:17), and Paul state that we are under the “King / Country’s law” – we must still submit to the government as long as it does NOT conflict with the Word of God.
Romans 13:1-7 (NKJV)
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
The only exception when we SHOULD NOT follow the law of the country is if it contradicts the Word of God. In the New Testament, we also see examples of Paul defying judges etc. because they want to stop him from preaching about Jesus.
A modern-day example could be marriage for homosexual couples. In many countries, this is legal, but according to the Bible and the heart of God, it is wrong. So in this case, we should NOT follow the law.
You cannot pick and choose whom you want to obey, but rather you must remember that God’s law is fundamental – and NOTHING can ever change that. The way “laws” and “rules” are prioritized is from God – and not the other way around.
Let me give you another modern-day example… The Bible says that you can only have a sexual relationship as part of your own marriage. But the laws of the government are indifferent about this. Therefore, follow the Bible (only have a sexual relationship in your marriage)!
…Moving the scenario forward, there are times when you may meet Christians who might think they are married and can have a sexual relationship by ONLY receiving a blessing from God WITHOUT being legally married by a governmental institution. Since the government says that you need to sign a legal contract (certificate of marriage), you must follow the edicts of the government, since this does NOT contradict the Word of God. In other words, follow the Bible AND your government (you can have a sexual relationship in your own legal governmentally endorsed marriage).
Since the Bible tells us to be good role models in EVERYTHING, we cannot just skip the laws we don’t like…! Other people should be able to look up to us in every aspect of our lives, where Jesus is in control!
…and this is pretty simple, only for the sake of our own protection!