Romans 13:1-5 adjures us to subject ourselves to the governing authorities, both out of fear for the God who instituted them as His servants as well as for conscience sake. Let us also not forget the commandments, not only to honor the king (1 Peter 2:17), but to “be in obedience to every ordinance of men, because of the Lord, whether to a king as supreme, or to governors as sent by Him for vengeance on evildoers, but for praise on well-doers.” 1Pe 2:13-14
With that in mind, let me be crystal clear that in our representative republic, we the people ARE the governing authority, and men and women that we elect as our representatives, including Governors, are to do our will as our servants, and not their will as our masters! In fact, the Colorado state constitution says the following: “All political power is vested in and derived from the people; all government, of right, originates from the people, is founded upon their will only, and is instituted solely for the good of the whole.”
Samuel Ruthorford authored a book entitled Lex Rex, which is Latin for “law over kings.” The founding principle that he left to us and that became a founding principle of the English Common Law, and of our constitutional republic is that, in the USA, the only sovereign or king is the law, and the highest law of our land is our Constitution. Thomas Pain wrote, “…so far as we approve of monarchy, that in America, the law is king. For as in absolute governments the King is law, so in free countries the law ought to be king.” Paine truly believed that our “governing authority” was instituted by God, for it was directly founded upon God’s law, and that our “governing authority”, our sovereign to which we are to submit is the constitution of the United States of America, as well as God’s law as written in the Bible, the source and foundation of our law.
I would contend that our founding fathers would insist that we are not only allowed to disobey our governor, when he violates our constitution with unlawful orders, but that we are, for conscience sake, and as stewards of the liberty entrusted to us, obligated to do so. Any elected official who violates our Constitution with illegal mandates is a law-breaker and is the “wrongdoer” that will face the wrath of God and who should be held accountable by the true governing authority, which is “We The People” who live in good standing with the law, the highest law of our land, our Constitution. No, I’m not calling for armed revolt, but peaceful non-compliance with unconstitutional mandates. Nor am I calling for “civil disobedience”, for we are not the one’s who are disobeying the law – they are!
Nehemiah was a shining example of a governor who gave of himself with a strong sense of civic virtue by being a true servant to the people entrusted to his care. Would to God that we had true civil servants today who would make Nehemiah 5:14-15 their statement of their political platform and their guiding principle and greatest ambition!
“And from the time that I was chosen to be their governor in the land of Judah, from the twentieth year even to the thirty-second year of Artaxerxes the king, twelve years, I and my brothers have not eaten the bread of the governor. But the former governors that had been before me were too heavy upon the people, and had taken bread and wine from them, besides forty shekels of silver. Yes, even their servants bore rule over the people. But I did not do this, because of the fear of God.” Neh 5:14-15