In Romans 12 Paul instructed believers to not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. In Romans 13 believers are instructed to be subject to all governing authorities, as it is God who has established them. Those who resist authority are opposing God, and will receive punishment accordingly. God has intended rulers to be ministers for good, not evil; they have been granted the power to punish evil. Paul instructs believers to "render to all that is due them", citing examples of paying taxes and custom fees and granting honor. Believers are to be motivated by love, which when enacted, fulfills all laws, as it results in loving a neighbor as oneself and doing them no harm. Paul contrasts the flesh and the Spirit (as in previous chapters in Romans); believers are to lay aside the flesh and put on the Lord Jesus Christ, awaiting His return.
God has established a means to uphold civility and justice in society through various governing bodies. As believers, led by the Spirit (not our flesh), we will submit ourselves to authorities and love our neighbors, not harm them, which more than fulfills civil laws. If we are keeping in step with the Spirit, we will be exemplary citizens, knowing our true citizenship is in heaven. (An obvious exception is when the governing authorities oppose God's commandments. In light of corrupt governments which are enacting evil, believers are to obey God. One example would be if we are told we can't gather to worship God, as is the case in many countries... We then resort to "secret church".)
Dear Father, thank you for being a loving God of order, not chaos. I pray that I will love my neighbors as myself. May I pray for governing authorities, that they will act for good. Amen
Posted on Mon, June 1, 2015
by joel king