Keep a clear conscience ...

Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. ... The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. -Romans 13:1,4,5 NLT

I wonder what American revolutionists who were Christians thought when they read the words (in the King James of course) "Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers"? Christian Brits like the preacher John Wesley thought the Colonists had no business rebelling - he said that they "enjoyed their liberty in as full manner as I do". And when Paul wrote these words the Israeli nation was under the harsh thumb of the Roman Empire. Authority is a complex issue.

Martin Luther King, Jr. bucked the authorities in the Deep South and proved to be a courageous prophet. Jesus spoke of such prophets being killed in Israel. Often a government or a leader is corrupt and must be prophetically opposed the way that the prophet Nathan opposed King David. That said, I think that we should take Paul's words to heart and keep a clear conscience as we recognize God's direct and delegated authority in our lives.

Cleanse me Lord from any way that would be in rebellion to your authority. Teach me to pray for my leaders.


  1. In watching current events as they unfold, this is something we have to remember daily. And God's sovereignty over all these authorities.

    1. So true Nonnie! In the end, God's kingdom will come.


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