Romans 13:1-3—Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever, therefore, resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
The Bible encourages us to be good citizens of the country in which we live. The reason given is that God has placed those people in authority. Understanding that God is sovereign over all the affairs of men gives us the incentive to see rulers as God’s appointees. To rebel against them is to rebel against something God has established. Should you incite insurrection, the authorities will exercise judgment upon you. If you don’t want to live in fear of that, be a good citizen and you will be commended. Jesus told Pilate that His kingdom was not of this world. When we get involved in attacking the government under which we live, we are involved in the temporal instead of the eternal. We have a much bigger battle to fight. Our focus should be on living as useful soldiers for the kingdom of light. You might think that Paul could write this because Rome was a relatively good power. Remember that Paul was tried and put to death by Rome. He never changed his teaching, even in the face of persecution. He knew the Emperor demanded to be worshipped. He would never break the law of God to obey the laws of man. He is not asking us to do that. He is merely saying that we should recognize that God has given authority to keep order and peace to those who rule in our government. A good Christian will be a good citizen. Even when the Christian could not burn incense to the Emperor, he was not disloyal or planning to rebel against him. Eventually, Rome understood this. Don’t get involved in the wrong battles. Political activism can serve a good cause. Spiritual activism can serve an eternal cause.