Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed,Titus 3:1(NASB)
Paul addressed a short but power-packed letter to Titus, who was one of his fellow-labourers in the spreading of the gospel of grace - particularly to the churches in the island of Crete. Having outlined the duties of church elders and the pastoral role of those in Christian leadership, Paul exhorts Titus, and all his fellow-believers in Christ, to be subject to rulers, to obey the legislative authorities, and to be ready for every good deed that God has prepared for us to do.
Although we are to be subject to rulers and authorities, we are by no means to compromise our faith. Indeed, earlier in his epistle Paul gives specific instruction on godly leadership and Christian living which should be adhered to and shared with others. Each one, who is mature in the faith, should be a godly example of a spirit-filled believer... speaking, exhorting, and rebuking with authority, those that do not maintain the high, biblical standards that God expects from all His children.
However, we read in this particular verse that pastors and those in church leadership have a duty to remind the people of God to be submissive to magistrates and other administrative authorities. We are all to be obedient to governmental legislation... and to be prepared and willing to do any upright and honourable work.
As has been evident from the beginning of time, God has established certain fundamental principles and institutions to which we should all adhere - including marriage, family, leadership, and government. And although the statutes of God, which are laid out in His Word, supersede those of any national government... nonetheless, we are to remain subject to rulers and authorities... and are instructed to adhere to the rules and regulations they impose.
Daniel reminds us that, "God removes kings and sets up other kings." And in his epistle to the Romans, Paul expands on his instruction to Titus, saying, "Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority.. except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God."
As Bible-believing Christians, we all have a duty to be honourable citizens of our local communities, as well as our national governments. Indeed, as the Bible declares and as history records, even a bad government is better than no governmental control, which inevitably declines into lawlessness and anarchy. A regime may be ungodly and it may be unchristian... or anti-Christian, but the breakdown of government results in lawlessness - and the absence of governmental control ends up in chaos and mayhem.
Scripture is very clear about line-management and authority, in both the Christian Church and in secular government... and there is no question that as Christians, we are to abide by the laws and legislation of the land. However, the Bible also makes it very plain that in certain circumstances where the law of the land violated the fundamental truth of God - that we are to obey God, rather than men.
Let us take to heart what the Bible teaches about our rights and responsibilities in the world in which we live, and let us remember that although we are living in the world, and must abide by governmental rules, we are not of the world, and should be reflecting the character and behaviour of a child of God.
Heavenly Father, thank You for Your goodness and grace and the wonderful way that You have disclosed to us our roles and responsibilities... not only in our Christian fellowships, but in the wider, secular world in which we live. May we live honourable lives which display a godly integrity and Christian grace to all with whom we come in contact, and may we, from this day forward, live a life that honours Your holy name. This we ask in Jesus' name, AMEN.