rebelling against low expectations

Should we fight against unjust laws?


RYAN WRITES: I’ve been studying what the Bible says about rebellion and I stumbled upon Romans 13:1. “Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” (ESV). Paul goes on to elaborate how those who do rebel against the government are therefore rebelling against God and will be punished. Keeping that in mind, what should we do about unjust laws? Is it better to fight them or to endure persecution?

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  • This is an issue that I have been looking into for over a year. This verse is one of several that very clearly tell us to obey authorities (see also Titus 3:1, and several passages in Daniel). We are instructed to pay our taxes, regardless of what they are used for. One way to think of it is to remember Paul. In his day (I’m pretty sure), Nero was the Emperor. Nero was certainly not a wise, good, just, or even sane leader, but God put him in power, so Paul’s job was to obey any orders, provided they didn’t contradict God’s laws.

    As for your question about persecution, the Bible never ever says to avoid persecution. In fact, we are told that it is an honour that is inevitable for Christians, and we should rejoice (Matt 5:12)!

    I do think we should do our best to improve society where possible, though. For example, we are blessed to live in countries where it is legal to vote, lobby, petition, etc. However, I have heard it said that when Christians in the USSR were persecuted, they said that they didn’t want to die/suffer for wanting to change any laws. They wanted to die/suffer ONLY for Jesus’ sake. This makes me cautious of being involved in things like political protests/rallies.

    I don’t have all the answers on this complex issue, but I have been thinking about and discussing it for a long time, so I have plenty of thoughts, scenarios and evidence. So if you have any questions or want to discuss it further, I’d be more than happy to. 😉

  • I definitely believe that we should obey the authorities God has put over us. However, God also says that we are to obey God rather than men. Therefore, if the laws of men are not in line with the laws of God, we must choose to obey God even in the face of persecution or punishment.

  • Who is the greater authority? God. If the law is against Gods law, then, we do not follow it. I would say it is ok to passively fight it.

  • Matthew 22:15-22… We should render to the government what is owned by the government. But from my understanding, the government did not create morality. If a law is specifically contradicting what God’s Word tells us, it should not be ignored.

  • Like @mikebeem:disqus pointed out, if the laws go against God’s Law, which really IS the best law–the higher law–follow that. Daniel knew that the laws of the land weren’t right, so he followed what ones he could, but still prayed to God and endured the consequences without murmuring.
    Follow the laws of the land as best as you can, but once they start to go against God’s law, follow God’s law. It’s always the best way to go and even if it is harder, it’s always the best way to go.

rebelling against low expectations

The Rebelution is a teenage rebellion against low expectations—a worldwide campaign to reject apathy, embrace responsibility, and do hard things. Learn More →