As we address the issue of politics today we are reminded that it has always been a challenge. A major difficulty early Christians encountered was related to the problem that faced them when the divinely appointed Government acted in ways that directly disobeyed divine law. The rule of thumb articulated by Peter before the Council— “We ought to obey God rather than men”—applied in those early days and still applies today.
In a time when respect for authority is low, Christians must be very careful to ensure that any act of civil disobedience is a matter of conscience inspired by divine principle. Stuart Briscoe says; “When the Christian has a duty to disobey the civil authority as clear cut as he would normally have an obligation to obey, his disobedience should be seen as a striking act of conscience because it is so different from his normal attitude of compliance, cooperation, and support.” The Christian whose regular law-abiding attitude is suddenly crushed by a conscience-inspired action is certain to get their message across. The refusal of the early Christians to worship Caesar was striking not only because of its courage but also because of its amazing contrast to their regular position of “rendering to Caesar what was Caesar’s.”
The distinctive message of Paul concerning the Christian’s response to secular authority is to be seen as a call to Christians to demonstrate their renewed lives by responsible behavior. Briscoe goes on to say; “By honoring authority structures because they are divinely established and by challenging corrupt systems because they are deviations of the divine intention, the Christian living in secular society is uniquely equipped to glorify God and enrich society.”
Food for thought,