“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.” Romans 13:1 ESV
Dear Heavenly Father – Please guide us in these times. Help us know your will and obey it. Please open our eyes and ears and understanding to know what you are saying to us today. In the name of Jesus – Amen
If and when is it appropriate for Christians to participate in civil disobedience? As the world gets more difficult, at what point do we, and how do we, disobey? It is important to know how to continue to respond to the mask mandate – and also to learn how to respond to any future mandates.
“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. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” Romans 13:1-2 ESV
We see here in verse one that God is in control of who is in control – and in verse two, disobeying them is to call down God’s judgment on yourself. Paul understands human nature (moreover God who inspired Paul to write this) as it was not enough to lay out that the wrath was coming in only one verse. But He continues with:
“3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.” Romans 13:3-5 ESV
Wasn’t my posts all last week about the fact that we needed to repent – didn’t this week begin with the Day of Atonement? Did I not warn you of the wrath to come if you did not repent?! Our merciful heavenly Father will through grace accept your repentance at any time if you missed the Day of Atonement. Moreover – He has called this a season of repentance!!! Possibly it is ours to repent of our attitudes towards masks, social distancing, distance learning, and not being able to assemble together the way we used to.
Oh, I have heard the one about those in authority being evil, ungodly, terrors. But they are there because God put them there – your boss and anyone in a position of authority over you. Yes, at first they showed your years of infection control knowledge that wearing masks for too many hours (and not changing them out) can actually harm our respiratory systems. And yes – they changed their minds and went against the science. So you think you can disobey the mandate because they are harmful? I don’t know. It would seem based on this passage that no, we cannot. But thank the Lord that NOTHING shall by any means harm us (Luke 10:19) as long as we are within our obedience to the word of God.
If we say we won’t wear our masks because nothing shall by any means harm us – are we honestly dividing the scriptures correctly? Because it certainly seems we have left out this chapter of Romans. But this chapter of Romans is not lined up with my flesh – exactly – NONE of the book of Romans is lined up with our flesh!!! God is showing us throughout this book how we oppose His will.
Let’s look to see elsewhere in the Bible to see what other did when they had rulers make up crazy rules….
Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, was not a Godly ruler. He actually besieged Jerusalem and took Daniel and others captive – this is the opening of the book of Daniel. And then crazy rule after crazy rule was put on Daniel and the other – where did they draw the line?
First the king’s food and wine was considered defiling:
“8 But Daniel resolved that he would not defile himself with the king’s food, or with the wine that he drank. Therefore he asked the chief of the eunuchs to allow him not to defile himself. 9 And God gave Daniel favor and compassion in the sight of the chief of the eunuchs,” Daniel 1:8-9 ESV
Can we respond to the mask mandate (or any future mandates) in this way? Absolutely! Daniel talked with someone close to the person in command. Who has God put in your life who is close to the person in charge? In my case, regarding the mask mandate, I know no one – therefore I am not called to respond like Daniel and I am subject to the mandate. But maybe you know someone? Maybe you are called for such a time as this?
In Daniel chapter 2, king Nebuchadnezzar says tell me my dream or die – well that mandate would have us all on our knees asking God to help! Of course we can respond to the mask mandate with a prayer for help – and chances are God will help, by teaching us to die to our desire to be mask free in order to adapt submission and reliance on God, for His glory. In the future, and will all laws, rules, and mandates we should take it to the Lord in prayer – and God shall help guide us.
In chapter 3, this king made an image of himself and demanded everyone worship it. Here we see Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego say: God can save us, but even if He doesn’t, we shall not bow. As we know the story well – the 3 were thrown into the fire and yet they lived. Our lesson here today is not to bow. Putting on a mask does not affect our ability to worship, pray or otherwise serve God. But when they say “bow” – we should say: we will not serve your gods or worship anything but our God (Daniel 4: 16-18). This is the line. This is when civil disobedience begins. We shall not break the 10 commandments – the greatest of them being love (Matthew 22:38). Yet I saw a man who says He is a Christian yelling at a kid whose job it was to tell you to leave the store if you had no mask on. This man has already bowed – his response to the mask mandate was to show the opposite of love. I tell you, hell fire is worse than the 7 times hotter fiery furnace in Daniel! Our savior is able to go inside the furnace and save Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (and us), but He shall not show up in hell to save us – that is a salvation we must call out for before arriving in hell.
The book of Daniel continues with chapter after chapter of crazy rules and laws – one of which (the no praying law) landed Daniel in a den of hungry lions. The Israelites drew the line at any law that made them break the commandments or stopped them from having a relationship with God.
When we apply both Romans 13 and Daniel, we see clearly – we must be subject to the laws of the land where God has put us and where He has ordained the leadership – unless, the laws say not to read, pray, or worship. (I might even add, share the gospel since that is the great commission, even though it is not covered in Daniel.) That is the line in the sand.
Unless maybe you can find other scripture that are taken in context that show me otherwise? There are 8 more verses in this passage – maybe there is something in there that might appease my fleshly desire to throw away my mask and cause some civil disobedience?
If you don’t already, and today you would like to have a relationship with a God who can communicate with you and be part of your life (and protect you) – one who is full of mighty power and tender love, then please know that I have put the “A, B, C’s of Salvation” in my introduction. Please click here to follow the link.**
Thank you for reading ~ Grace be with you
Be healthy and blessed ~ I love you and love one another
Watch and Pray ~ Seek God & keep your eyes on Jesus!
Maranatha ~ Come Lord Jesus!
“6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
8 Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9 For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” 10 Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
11 Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. 12 The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.” Romans 13:6-14 ESV