I lay down this maxime of Divinity; Tyranny being a work of Satan, is not from God, because sin either habitul or actual, is not from God; the power that is, must be from God; the Magistrate as Magistrate, is good, in nature of office, and the intrinsically end of his office, Rom. 13:4. for he is the Minister of God for thy good; and therefore a power ethical, politic, or moral, to oppress, is not from God, and is not a power, but a licentious deviation of a power, and is no more from God, but from sinful nature, and the old serpent, then a license to sinne. – Samuel Rutherford, Lex, Rex, or the Law and the Prince (1644), emphases added. Lex, Rex, or the Law and the Prince is available on the Puritan Hard Drive.
Governments have long oppressed religious freedoms. The USA was supposed to be a safe haven for all religions (with the caveat that they did not break the laws of the land, human sacrifice and the like) but many have been oppressed. So how can a “Christian” support the government?
Jesus had an answer:
Does not Christ confirm the lawful authority of the beast of Rome when He says, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s” (Mt. 22:21)?
Answer: This question was proposed by the enemies of Christ (the Pharisees and the Herodians) in order to “entangle him” (Mt. 22:15). If Christ were to answer, “Render the tribute to Caesar”, the Pharisees (who strongly opposed Roman complicity) would have slandered Christ as a Roman sympathizer. However, if Christ were to answer, “Render not the tribute to Caesar”, the Herodians (who strongly supported Roman alliances) would have slandered him as being an avowed enemy to Caesar. But the Lord Jesus “perceived their wickedness” and essentially gave them a non-answer to their question. Since it was not an honest question, Christ did not play into their trap by answering their question. In fact, “they could not take hold of his words before the people” (Lk. 20:26). Even they could not clearly understand what He had said about the issue of paying tribute to Caesar. Thus, if the enemies of Christ couldn’t pin Him to an answer one way or the other (though they would have loved to), neither can any one living today conclude whether Christ condemned paying tribute to Caesar or commended it from His answer. Such evasion to entrapment was used by Christ on other occasions as well (cf. Mk. 11:27-33; Jn. 8:1-11). Even if Christ did endorse the paying of tribute to Caesar, that is not an oath of allegiance paid to Caesar, nor a declaration concerning the lawfulness of Caesar’s authority. For tribute exacted by an unlawful government is simply extortion required by a thief who threatens to take all your property if you don’t pay him part of your property. Furthermore, even foreigners and aliens pay taxes to nations in which they work without declaring any allegiance to the civil government of that nation. Thus, the payment of taxes is not an oath of allegiance.
– Greg Price, Biblical Civil Government Versus the Beast and the Basis for Christian Resistance (emphases added).
Jesus makes it clear that our duty is to God, but we also have a responsibility to the government God has appointed over us. Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God [granted by His permission and sanction], and those which exist have been put in place by God. Romans 13:1
I encourage you to read our Sunday’s Sermon Series – Civil Government by using the search box.