“One case that drew international attention and widespread media coverage in June involved a 7-month pregnant woman, Feng Jianmei. After being beaten by family planning officials, she was forced to sign an abortion "consent" form and toxins were injected into the brain of her unborn daughter. She gave birth to her deceased child on June 4. A picture of her lying on a hospital bed next to her baby was released.”
The previous article from The Christian Post reveals one of the horrors that the people of China are forced to live under. How then does a Christian submit to authority in such a case. It is an undeniable fact that the Bible teaches that the Christian should be in subjection to the governing authorities.
“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.” (Romans 13:1)
It is always important to get the big picture and the major principle before obeying in particular. For instance, there are numerous ways that God suppresses evil in a fallen and sinful world. First, he gave man a conscience, which is meant to arbitrate between good and evil. Of course the conscience is easily corrupted by sin, but it is still used by God to restrain wickedness to a degree. Second, there is the family, which as an institution of God restrains sin through teaching mutual love and care among families members. Third, there is government by which laws of conduct are established and the policing of wrong behavior is curtailed. Fourth, there is the church where men and women are supposed to be taught the gospel of Jesus Christ. In the church Christians learn to be subject to God by obeying those who teach His word correctly.
Conscience and each of the institutions above are means by which God restrains evil. The Bible teaches men and women to be submissive to each institution for God’s glory. There is no question that in submitting to a government the Christian gives evidence to his or her willingness to submit to God in doing of what is right.
Furthermore, no worldly institution can be expected to be without corruption, so submission must be done with an acknowledgement that no government is perfect. Rome certainly wasn’t, which was the government that Paul lived under. It is not the Christian’s place to oversee authorities and correct them every time they go wrong. We are not called to correct all the people around us for everything either. There is a time for everything said Solomon (Ecclesiastes), but wisdom and discretion must accompany all godly counsel.
One of the most godly men in the Bible is the prophet Daniel. He was taken into Captivity by a very ungodly nation and placed in a position where he could be a voice for good. But before he ever got to a position of authority he took a stand for what was right. It was not serious like killing an unborn, but simply involved the dietary laws of Moses. However, Daniel made up his mind or purposed in his heart (King James) what he would do.
“But Daniel made up his mind that he would not defile himself with the king’s choice food or with the wine which he drank; so he sought permission from the commander of the officials that he might not defile himself.” (Daniel 1:8)
Notice Daniel did not take matters into his own hands but first sought permission from the officials. Daniel went on to tell the official that he would not eat the King’s food, but if he did not fair well, the official could do what seemed right to him and not risk loosing his head. As a result of God’s faithfulness to Daniel, he became more healthy without the king’s food. Thereby, He became a testimony to the officials concerning God’s faithfulness through his willingness to be submissive but uncompromising regarding God’s law.
There is a line to be drawn in the sand by all God fearing men when they are forced to break an unconscionable law of God. Peter and John understood this to be true when they appeared before the counsel in Israel.
“But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard.” (Acts 4:19, 20)
Peter concurred with Paul on the matter of submitting to authorities in (1 Peter 2:13), but he also understood that submission is only meant to go so far. When submitting to the governing authorities means disobeying God personally, which results in having a defiled conscience, the only recourse is to stand in opposition and pay the consequences. Daniel faced being thrown to the lion’s because his conscience would not allow him to commit idolatry.
The world in which we live is governed by the laws of physics. We have no option but to be controlled by the law of gravity, which keeps our feet planted nicely upon the ground. The law of lift and drag allows planes to overcome the law of gravity and soar to heights of 40,000 feet. Submitting to authority is akin to the law of gravity, it keeps our feet upon the ground and allows the world to know that the Christian is not rebellious. To obey God rather than men at the cost of a person’s neck is like soaring at 40,000 feet. The Christian needs to keep these things in mind because the days are evil and we know not when such laws will come against us.