Devotion - Wednesday May 6 - Obedience to Authorities

This is an unprecedented season of Executive Orders, stay-at-home directives, CDC guidelines, protests and social distancing.  Businesses are ordered to shutdown as “non-essential” while others remain open. At times it seems unfair (or even wrong) because we can go to an “essential business” and buy some of the same items that we would have bought at a “non-essential” business.  Some businesses are booming due to this while others are hanging on by a thread or even closing. In many ways our constitutional rights are being challenged. Our freedom to go where we want, when we want is being impacted. Whether we agree or not, the church has been directed by our government not to gather physically in order to slow the spread of COVID-19. 

As redeemed image-bearers, how do we navigate this? 

We turn to the word of God. 

Jesus, while being interrogated by Pilate says to him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.”  (John 19:11 ESV)

In Romans 13, Paul writes of the general principle of submission to government:

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. (Romans 13:1–2 ESV) 

So it is clear – we are commanded by the Word of God to be subject to our governing authorities. They - both good and bad - are appointed by God. 

In this case, being subject to the executive order is both godly and loving to our fellow man.  Love trumps freedom. Having said that, several other passages show that under certain circumstances God approves of Christians disobeying government.  

What are those passages? What is the determining factor in discerning when disobedience would be in order? 

Here are a couple of passages to begin with:

Daniel 3:12-18
Acts 5:27-32

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