When is it good to defy the government?

October 15, 2021
Church family: When is it good and righteous for believers to defy the government? We know that there are several scriptures throughout the Bible that command Christians to submit to the ruling authorities (i.e., Romans 13:1-7). Paul, who wrote Romans, commands believers to obey the government. However, Paul made that command presuming that rulers would be fulfilling the task that God has given them to "establish Justice, insure domestic tranquility, provide for the common defense, promote the general welfare, and secure the blessings of liberty to ourselves and our posterity" (US Constitution).

However, what about those times when the government prohibits us from doing something the Lord commands or when the government commands us to do something the Lord prohibits? When the government makes such laws, then believers must not submit to the laws of the authorities. Christians are never given the permission to sin, nor are they permitted to abandon the commands of God in order to obey the mandates of other human beings.

This week in Daniel 6 we find the God-fearing and faithful Daniel acted out in defiance of the Persian government’s new law of not allowing any prayers to anybody but King Darius. For 70 years Daniel had kept the pagan Babylonian law so perfectly that the jealous government officials could not find him guilty of breaking any law. Daniel had obeyed the pagan government perfectly because it did not forbid him to do what God commanded him to do - pray to the One True God. When the sinful law was enacted by Darius, Daniel shows us that we “ought to obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). So, Daniel did not hesitate one moment to disobey the government that forbade him to pray to God (Daniel 6:10).

Throughout Scripture, the only examples of defying the law of government are found when the government is clearly commanding Christians to sin. For example, the Hebrew midwives (Exodus 1), Rahab (Joshua 2), Meshach, Shadrach and Abednego (Daniel 3) and Peter (Acts 5) are a few. All of these defied the government in order to be faithful to the Lord. Similar circumstances justify the same response from believers today. While considering resisting civil laws, we should be sensitive to our sinful nature looking for any excuse in God’s law to pursue defying the government.

As Christians we must make great effort to bend over backward to be happy, responsible citizens of the government because improper resistance to the civil authorities is a rebellion against a Holy God. But when the commands of God’s kingdom directly contradict the commands of the kingdom of men, the commands of our Holy God must be victorious.

I look forward to worshiping the One True God with you this Sunday, Steve

Daniel 6:10 When Daniel knew that the document had been signed, he went to his house where he had windows in his upper chamber open toward Jerusalem. He got down on his knees three times a day and prayed and gave thanks before his God, as he had done previously.

No Comments