Whosoever resisteth the power - Ὁ αντιτασσομενος, He who sets himself in order against this order of God; τῃ του Θεου διαταγῃ, and they who resist, οἱ ανθεστηκοτες, they who obstinately, and for no right reason, oppose the ruler, and strive to unsettle the constitution, and to bring about illegal changes,
Shall receive to themselves damnation - Κριμα, condemnation; shall be condemned both by the spirit and letter of that constitution, which, under pretense of defending or improving, they are indirectly labouring to subvert.
Whosoever therefore resisteth - That is, they who rise up against “government itself;” who seek anarchy and confusion; and who oppose the regular execution of the laws. It is implied, however, that those laws shall not be such as to violate the rights of conscience, or oppose the laws of God.
Resisteth the ordinance of God - What God has ordained, or appointed. This means clearly that we are to regard “government” as instituted by God, and as agreeable to his will. “When” established, we are not to be agitated about the “titles” of the rulers; not to enter into angry contentions, or to refuse to submit to them, because we are apprehensive of a defect in their “title,” or because they may have obtained it by oppression. If the government is established, and if its decisions are not a manifest violation of the laws of God, we are to submit to them.
Shall receive to themselves damnation - The word “damnation” we apply now exclusively to the punishment of hell; to future torments. But this is not necessarily the meaning of the word which is used here κρίμα krimaIt often simply denotes “punishment;” Romans 3:8; 1 Corinthians 11:29; Galatians 5:10. In this place the word implies “guilt” or “criminality” in resisting the ordinance of God, and affirms that the man that does it shall be punished. Whether the apostle means that he shall be punished by “God,” or by the “magistrate,” is not quite clear. Probably the “latter,” however, is intended; compare Romans 13:4. It is also true that such resistance shall be attended with the displeasure of God, and be punished by him.
We are not required to defy authorities. Our words, whether spoken or written, should be carefully considered, lest we place ourselves on record as uttering that which would make us appear antagonistic to law and order. We are not to say or do anything that would unnecessarily close up our way. We are to go forward in Christ's name, advocating the truths committed to us. If we are forbidden by men to do this work, then we may say, as did the apostles, “Whether it be right in the sight of God to hearken unto you more than unto God, judge ye. For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.” AA 69.1Read in context »
The words, “We know that Thou sayest and teachest rightly,” had they been sincere, would have been a wonderful admission. But they were spoken to deceive; nevertheless their testimony was true. The Pharisees did know that Christ said and taught rightly, and by their own testimony will they be judged. DA 602.1
Those who put the question to Jesus thought that they had sufficiently disguised their purpose; but Jesus read their hearts as an open book, and sounded their hypocrisy. “Why tempt ye Me?” He said; thus giving them a sign they had not asked, by showing that He read their hidden purpose. They were still more confused when He added, “Show Me a penny.” They brought it, and He asked them, “Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.” Pointing to the inscription on the coin, Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” DA 602.2
The spies had expected Jesus to answer their question directly, in one way or the other. If He should say, It is unlawful to give tribute to Caesar, He would be reported to the Roman authorities and arrested for inciting rebellion. But in case He should pronounce it lawful to pay the tribute, they designed to accuse Him to the people as opposing the law of God. Now they felt themselves baffled and defeated. Their plans were disarranged. The summary manner in which their question had been settled left them nothing further to say. DA 602.3Read in context »
17 (2 Corinthians 8:21; 1 Peter 2:12). The Honest Are His Jewels Forever—Truthfulness and frankness should be ever cherished by all who claim to be followers of Christ. God and the right should be the motto. Deal honestly and righteously in this present evil world. Some will be honest when they see that honesty will not endanger their worldly interests, but all who act from this principle will have their names blotted out of the book of life. 6BC 1081.3Read in context »