off, let's present the verse in question:
Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. (Rom 13:1-2) NASU
"So God allowed people like Hitler to reign, and people should obey them?" someone accuses the Christian.
It's completely bogus to suggest that God would only allow "good people" to control our governments. While the concept may be nice, it's not based in reality. Satan is called the Prince of this world. (John 16:11--KJV) So how does one treat the text in Romans 13, that says we must obey the government?
Firstly, it says, "there is no authority except from God." The Greek meaning of 'authority' is that all privilege, force, capacity, competency, freedom, or delegated influence has its origin in God. Just as life finds its origin from the Creator, so too do all forms of authority. The Law comes from Him. Even the universe functions within a set of laws. Without such authority all would be in chaos.
When a government or king rules, however badly, the structure of that control is based on the parameters God intended. The problem, obviously, is sin. Because sin rules in the hearts of most men, evil is prevalent and gets mixed in with their decisions, so to speak.
For example, sex is one of God's gifts to humanity, if it is enjoyed as He intended it, within the bounds of marriage between man and woman. However, people have taken this God-given gift and turned it into something horrible. The same can be said of government: evil men take something God has ordained and use it to make people suffer.
Verse 5 of Romans 13 says, "Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience' sake." God doesn't want His children launching anti-government campaigns or acting in ways that would bring dishonor to His name. Our job is to preach the gospel and so change individual hearts. Only then can change within society be realized.
That said, we are not to obey the government if it contradicts God. When the rulers of Jerusalem ordered Peter and the other apostles to stop preaching, Peter and the apostles answered, "We must obey God rather than men." (Acts 5:29) Indeed, Jesus went against both secular and reigious authorities because of their aggravated stance against God's law.
I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people, for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way. This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim 2:1 - 4)