Make your own free website on Tripod.com

Romans 13:1-7

 

 

v 12:2 And do not be conformed to this world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

 

v 13:1 Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.

 

Christians must not live by the standards and morality of this world. The ruler of this present age, the prince of darkness does not anymore have any governance over us who were once his subjects. Now we are Godís and Jesus is our King, under Whose rule we are bound. The change of citizenship from that of the Evil One to that of the Light also involves an inner change, a transformation, a renewal, a recreation, a rebirth. For unless one is born anew from the old filthiness, he cannot see Godís kingdom, much less enters it.

 

The new creature, the Christian man, is aware of God and places himself in His presence and under His sovereignty. Thereafter his manners and conducts are that which are pleasurable to God; though the world may prosper or persecute, his dealings are with God and he is conscious of this fact. Therefore, even in the matters pertaining to the world, the Christian man is aware that he ultimately deals with God. Take for example the blessed apostle Paul who though bound by the chains of Rome, knew and charged himself to be Christís prisoner. It is of little wonder then, the same apostle would admonish us to be subject to the governing authorities; to every one of us he had given this imperative. The reason underlying was most simple: None would be king save by Divine appointment, no throne would stand unless God wills it stand. Humanly, the votes may be cast, but the result is in the hands of the Almighty God.

 

v 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.

Since civil authorities are set over us by God, it is His will that we submit ourselves to them. If a king was raised to rule his people, the reason why he was raised was so that the people may be ruled by him. If a council or a parliament was formed to govern the state, the reason for its formation was so that the state may be governed by it. Whoever then who resists or revolts against the authorities who were set over us by the sovereign will of God, they are in fact revolting against Godís direction.

 

The unregenerated mind is always revolting. It seeks to elevate itself above everything else, even God. It places itself first before others and set itself ruler over all. Christians, however, are called to be like Christ, to in humility and submission faithfully serve the God-ordained order of the Creation. If we are called to submit to one another, to be subjected to and humble ourselves among equal, how much more are we called to be subjected to those whose ordination is presently above us, by Godís good pleasure. It is in the experience of subjections and submissions that we learn and imitate Christ Who though in the form of God, made Himself of not reputation, taking the form of a slave and being humble and obedient to the point of death, even subjecting Himself to the shameful death by crucifixion.

 

v 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.

 

v 4 For he is Godís minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is Godís minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil.

 

God has appointed civil authorities to preserve harmony and peace. The authorities are a threat to the wicked, they seek to suppress the activities of evil in the society. As deacons who administer Godís providence in the Church, so the authorities are Godís deacons to administer justice and peace in the society. By the common grace of god, the King and the Parliament are allowed and are enabled to enact constitutions and laws to regulate the business of the people they rule over. And by these constitutions and laws, the authorities prosecute and execute crimes and evils. So to the wicked, be exceedingly afraid and turn away from your malicious ways, and to the good, to all Christians, be subject to the governing authorities. They are like Godís representatives, indeed in the old days, they are called ďgodsĒ, establishing his righteous rule on earth. God Who dispense His blessings, Who sends forth the sun and rains to Christians and non-Christians alike, also requires that his righteousness be complied to, by both Christians and non-Christians alike. Therefore, in the society even, His righteousness is reflected in the administration and rule of the authorities, especially in their prosecution of evil practices.

 

v 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscienceís sake.

 

v 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are Godís ministers attending continually to this very thing.

 

If the King and the Parliament is of God, who came forth by Godís sovereign will and good pleasure, who are Godís servants/ministers to uphold justice and peace, who are Godís representatives in the society to prosecute evil, we therefore are obliged to be subjected to them. Not only because we are afraid of the punishment inflicted on evil doers, but also because we know this; the authorities are ordained by God to rule over our civil activities. Therefore as Christians, we must obey civil authorities in obedience to Godís appointed order. We know that the government is given the mandate and power to administer certain thing, inter alia, taxation, so we must on our part perform our duties to them.

 

v 7 Render therefore to all their dues: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

 

The apostle wrote in reminiscence of the Lordís word which taught us to render to Caesar the things owed to him and to God the things that are Godís. Each on has their sphere of authorities, all the institutions of man are appointed by God to exercise power over certain delegated matters and God is above all. So to those whom God has appointed over us, let us give to them whatsoever allegiance owed. These are their dues and our reasonable services while we are in the world. Again it has to be stressed that our failures to comply with the duty expected of us towards the authorities constitute a revolt, not only against the authorities, but also against God Who had set this hierarchy of power for the running of human affairs. Finally, let us again be reminded of the Lordís words, ďRender therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesarís and to God the things that are GodísĒ. The King is above us, God is above all.

 

 

Lessons

 

  1. The imperative is clear; let every person [yuxh lit. soul] be subject [uJpotassestw imperative form Ė Ďlet be subjectí] to governing authorities [ejcousiais uJperexousais== -Ďauthorities above/supremeí]. (v1)

 

  1. All authorities are appointed [tetagmenai - Ďset in order, destined, appointed, institutedí] by God without exceptions.
    • Resisting authorities is like resisting Godís will, going against what He has appointed to pass. (v2)
    • Christians are called to humble submission in the manner of Christ (12:2, 11:5)

 

  1. The civil authorities are instituted to administer justice [ekdikos - Ďbring out rightí]. (v4)
    • Prosecute crime (v4)
    • Protect, reward and friendly to the good (v3, 4)
    • Allowed to punish etc. Given a certain jurisdiction (v2, 4, 6)

 

  1. We have duties and obligations to the government and must perform these without fail. (v7) Ė ajpovdote pasin taVs ojyeilas Ė ĎGive back/repay to all the debts/rightsí