Please explain Romans 13:3, stating that "rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil." I could think of many rulers who are a terror to good works. Also, do we have to obey civil rulers and their laws in everything?
Paul is talking here about rulers in general, who uphold certain laws to guarantee a civil and peaceful harmonious lifestyle amongst their citizens. Paul is referring to the submission to and the enforcement of civil and criminal laws, such as theft or murder.
Paul is not talking here about the Hitlers or Neros, etc., who are encouraging their citizens to betray Christians or the Jews, so that they can be killed. We need to remember Christ’s statement to OBEY the Pharisees in all that they tell the people, but later, Peter did not obey them when they told him not to preach in the name of Christ. Christ would not obey them, either, to follow their rules of ceremonial washing, or to have no contact with “sinners.” So, Christ was talking about matters which were not in conflict with God’s word. (Notice, too, that John the Baptist openly rebuked Herod for committing adultery with his brother’s wife (Luke 3:19-20). Also, Daniel refused the obey the order of king Darius, not to pray to God, and his three friends disobeyed the order of king Nebuchadnezzar to worship the golden image).
In John 19:11, Christ told Pilate, “‘You could have no power at all…