To what extent do Christians need to follow the law? When I refer to the law in this bleat, I’m not referring to God’s holy law, but rather man’s criminal and civil law. I’ve heard people say, when they are breaking what they consider a meaningless law, they’re not breaking God’s law, only man’s. Romans 13:1-2 says, “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”.
First we see the audience, “every person”. In this context, it means every single Christian. Then, the command: “be subject to the governing authorities”. The word used for “subject” in Greek denotes a military concept in which a person acknowledges someone else as being superior in rank. That includes total obedience. Then we have the reason: “there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God”. So every governing authority on earth, every king, every president, every police department, has been placed there by God. What if they’re rotten? Yes, rotten men and women, too.
Then, we see the warning: “whoever resist the authorities and resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.” So, those who resist authorities resist God Himself, and they will be disciplined for it. The only exception, of course, is if obedience to man would be disobedience to God.
So, what does this mean for us? The implication is that if it is the law to buckle your seat belts, it doesn’t matter how macho you are or how irritating the seat belt is. To not buckle your seat belt is to disobey God, and a person who loves Jesus Christ does not want to disobey God. If the speed limit is 35, the speed limit is not 40 or 45. It means it is against God to copy homework or to cut corners at work. It means that as a result, we will be lights to the world and salt of the earth. It means that when we obey authorities, we worship God, and that is a wonderful thing. On the cross, He died for every act of disobedience committed by His people. And in response, we take radical actions to obey His commandments, and therefore, His human authorities.