1 Peter 2:13-15
Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;…
The religion of the Lord Jesus entered practically into all the relations and interests of human life. The condition of the world, politically regarded, when the Roman empire exercised universal sway, was indeed very different from that which obtains at the present time. But the principles inculcated in the first century of our era are adapted to guide and govern the conduct of Christ's people through all time.
I. THE CHRISTIAN VIEW OF CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
1. Regarded in itself, it is a human institution, but it is nevertheless ordained by God. In this respect it is in the same case as the family. To believe in a Divine Ruler and a divinely appointed order, is to accept the state and its ordinances as appointed by the wisdom of God himself.
2. The Christian recognizes the Divine principle of government as personified in civil rulers. These are supreme-as kings; or persons commissioned, and exercising delegated power, as governors.
3. The Christian perceives the necessity of those functions which rulers are bound to discharge. There is no government worthy of the name which does not punish evil-doers, and protect, favor, and praise those who do well.
II. THE CHRISTIAN'S DUTY TOWARDS CIVIL GOVERNMENT.
1. Generally speaking, that duty is submission, loyalty, and cheerful obedience. When laws are promulgated, the Christian respects and observes them; when taxes are levied, the Christian pays them; when service is required, the Christian renders it.
2. He acknowledges that this course of conduct is supported alike by the example and by the teaching of Christ.
3. Yet this obedience is within certain limits, and is subject to certain reservations. No man is under obligation to obey an ordinance of the civil power which is contradictory to the express and unmistakable law of God. And when the ruler himself is disloyal, and violates the constitution to which ruler and subject alike are subject, there are cases in which even resistance is allowable, if not binding.
III. THE CHRISTIAN'S MOTIVES TO OBEY THE CIVIL GOVERNMENT. He does not act simply in his own interest, to avoid penalties, to secure place.
1. He obeys for the Lord's sake, i.e. with a Christian aim before him.
2. He obeys because such is the will of God himself.
3. He obeys in order to remove hindrances from the way of the progress of Christianity among men. Scandals are avoided, prejudices are overcome, good will is conciliated; and the path is made clear for the progress of the gospel. Loyalty to the state and to the sovereign is loyalty to Christ, to God. - J.R.T.
Parallel VersesKJV: Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;