Romans 13:1-2, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.”
As Paul writes to the believers in Rome, Nero was the emperor of all the Roman Empire. Say what you will about the authorities under which God has placed you; your parents, teachers, employers, law enforcement, the government. How do they stack up compared to Nero? As Paul was writing this letter and telling believers that all authority is given by God, they watched as Nero took Christians and dipped them alive in hot wax and used their bodies as candles to light his garden. They knew the atrocities that happened for his entertainment at the coliseum as believers were eaten by lions in the arena. But Paul’s Life had not been a cakewalk either. He had been beaten, imprisoned, and presumed dead in an attempted execution, and was writing this letter from a prison cell. All the while, the commandment to obey our authority didn’t change.
We don’t obey those in authority because we like them. We don’t obey them because we agree with their politics or positions. We submit to their authority because God placed them over us and by obeying them, we are ultimately obeying God.