Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. -Romans 13:4
Philippines is a nation that is familiar with criticisms to the government. Although not everyone is critical of our leaders, we are aware that in this country citizens are most likely to have grown up hearing radio commentators, reading social media comments, and other forms of media that in one way or the other bash against the leaders of our country.
This spirit is also common in the students of some major universities of Metro Manila. This spirit seems to a have a never-ending discontentment to every move somebody makes.
Heard of turu-an syndrome, scape-goating? This is not just a Filipino-problem, this is a human problem. This is not unique to us, but common to the whole world. This isn’t a problem of the modern day, but a root problem of the heart existing from the very start of human history.
In the beginning
Back to the Garden of Eden, the man Adam, after he did wrong, made an alliby and transferred the blame to the woman, even blamed God Himself. Observe here that Adam reasoned out: “The woman whom you gave to be with me… she [made me to commit sin]” (Gen. 3:12)
Even the woman was not exempted. She transfered the blame to the serpent: “The serpent deceived me, and I [sinned].” Surprisingly, the serpent [Satan] did not blame anyone.
We always look to other people to be blamed, we even have the inclination to blame God. In tragedies like Typhoon Yolanda and Haiyan, others blame “mother nature” (the substitute for God) or blame others by theorizing that the storm was man-made . We have this nature to look outside ourselves and point to others to be held more responsible, while on the other hand, we excuse ourselves.
One event that unleashed this nature of our hearts is the worldwide trending of CNN’s Cooper versus Korina Sanchez. Honestly, I do not really know the deepest details of the conflict, I know that Cooper gave a report regarding his observations in Leyte, and Korina gave a rebuttal and challenge to CNN.
But reading the comments of netizens, there is a common spirit of discontentment and degrading of the government. The site rappler.com observes:
“Netizens expressed their disappointment over Sanchez’s comments. Some of them pointed out that she is married to DILG Secretary Mar Roxas…” Source: Rappler.com article
A commenter adds: “this is just tip of the ice berg of soulless Philippine politician…. need a slipper slap on the face of shameless politician…”
Another one says: “all in the government. purely papogi lang ang alam niyang gawin.”
Here’s also another case:
See what happens when someone who has psychological issues gets elected as President? This man is nothing more than an egoistic, self aborbed, narcissistic spoiled brat. -“Landis”
BOBO MO MR. PRESIDENT!! HND DAPAT IKAW ANG NAGING PRESIDENTE NG PILIPINAS!!! WLA KANG KWENTA!! MALE VERSION K NG KAPATID MO!!! G**O!!! KA!!! -“Ron”
Does these sound like Adam and Eve? The sons of Adam in the present age sounds like pointing (and even cursing) others especially the politicians and the government.
“whoever resists the authorities” (Rom. 13:4)
Observe the serious warning here. This describes how man reacts to higher authorities. Greek “anth-is’-tay-mee”: To resist means to oppose, to go against, to withstand.
The Bible has proven itself once again to be timeless and eternal, because this phrase is very applicable today. It has not turned obsolete. It speaks at its face value as fresh as the dew this morning.
In this Information Age, the “resistance” of authorities only goes viral, virtual and incomparably fast as the speed of light. The spirit of resistance and distrust to the government has always been the same in the unsaved heart for hundreds of years. In the unregenerate community, the internet only amplifies the mind of man that resists authorities and transfers the blame to anyone except himself.
“resists what God has appointed” v. 4
The message here is clear: whoever opposes the higher authorities in the government, opposes the authority of God, the disposal of God or the wisdom of God. He slaps the hand of God who appointed the rulers there at the first place.
Yes, the persons behind the government may be wicked, dishonest or maybe truly playing dirty politics, yet the authority given to them by the Greater Authority Himself must be submitted to and obeyed, as He Himself commands.
We are aware that the Apostles themselves commanded that it is “better to obey God rather than man.” (Acts 5:29) And we are to be discerning that there are ways where we are not to submit to the government, especially in concerns of forcing us to do evil, just like what the first-century Christians did.
“those who resist will incur judgment.”
Bible-believing Christians must take heed to the warning that judgment is inevitable to the non-submissive, unless that soul repents.
Human history and Bible history is filled with true-to-life examples of people who resisted the human authorities and received their deserved condemnation. Some of them are Absalom who opposed the King David, and one notable account is the group of Korah and Abiram during the time of Moses.
This group of people resisted the human governing authority, even though as for that moment, the leadership of Moses brought them to a humanly difficult and frustrating situation in a killer desert. Look at what happened to them:
Num 16:26-35 And he spoke to the congregation, saying, “Depart, please, from the tents of these wicked men, and touch nothing of theirs, lest you be swept away with all their sins.” (27) So they got away from the dwelling of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram. And Dathan and Abiram came out and stood at the door of their tents, together with their wives, their sons, and their little ones.
(28) And Moses said, “Hereby you shall know that the LORD has sent me to do all these works, and that it has not been of my own accord. (29) If these men die as all men die, or if they are visited by the fate of all mankind, then the LORD has not sent me. (30) But if the LORD creates something new, and the ground opens its mouth and swallows them up with all that belongs to them, and they go down alive into Sheol, then you shall know that these men have despised the LORD.”
(31) And as soon as he had finished speaking all these words, the ground under them split apart. (32) And the earth opened its mouth and swallowed them up, with their households and all the people who belonged to Korah and all their goods. (33) So they and all that belonged to them went down alive into Sheol, and the earth closed over them, and they perished from the midst of the assembly. (34) And all Israel who were around them fled at their cry, for they said, “Lest the earth swallow us up!” (35) And fire came out from the LORD and consumed the 250 men offering the incense. (source app: E-sword)
This true-story shows us how God’s wrath was unleashed to a rebellious and non-submissive people.
Why submit and honor?
The Apostle Paul in Romans 13 gives us nutritious reasons that explains why we should submit to our human authorities:
1. They have been instituted by God. (v.1)
2. To resist them is to resist Him. (v.2)
3. To oppose them brings judgment (v.2)
4. They are the hand of God to inflict terror to evil doers (they are for us, although many times, because of sin, we see dire corruption and inequality) (v.3)
5. They are God’s servants for our good (v.4)
6. The government is the “sword-bearer” of God (v.4) They are God’s representatives to manage the sword- a symbol of justice, security and peace.
7. Submit to avoid God’s wrath and to have a clear conscience.
8. Because of the grace of God, these services are given to us, therefore, pay your taxes. (v.6)
9. Honor those who honor is due. Honor the honorables. (v.7)
10. Don’t stay at debt with anyone. As much as possible, get out of debt. Only become debtors of love (v.8)
Peter supports Paul by going on to say:
“Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.” -1 Peter 2:13-15
As a Regenerate Christian, the will of God for us is to be subject to every human government, not to play bad politics but to honor God through our obedience and ways. We are to pray for them as what our Master did to the government and religious leaders that killed Him.
To all the Filipinos, the will of God for all of us is not only to be submissive to our human authorities, but to repent, to turn from our sins, and run to Christ. The will of God for Filipinos is for us to come to salvation. He is “not willing that any should perish, but that all should reach repentance.” 2 Peter 3:9
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