Summary: A 10 week study on the book of Romans to help every Christian be all they can be.
Welcome back to Basic Training. We have 2 weeks remaining in our study of the book of Romans after today.
Open my eyes so I can see Your truth.
Open my ears so I can hear Your voice.
Open my mind so I can understand Your Word.
And open my heart so I may receive all that You want me to receive. AMEN
Remember last week? Paul started to teach us how we are to put all the doctrinal teaching from the first 11 chapters to practice.
He talked about the transformations that are supposed to take place in the believer after repentance occurs.
A transformation of humility, love and of honor.
In Romans 13, Paul continues his discourse teaching the believes how we are to live once we have accepted God’s gift of salvation through Jesus Christ.
He does so by briefly sharing what our relationship should be in regards to Church and State and he talks about our debt of love as well as the importance of following the Commandments.
I think it is kind of funny that these topics are in the same chapter since so many people think there should be a separation of Church and State. So many people are trying to remove the 10 Commandments for all public places and government buildings.
It was actually Thomas Jefferson who first used the phrase separation of Church and State.
Jefferson wrote, "I contemplate with sovereign reverence that act of the whole American people which declared that their legislature should 'make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,' thus building a wall of separation between Church & State.
Jefferson statement was meant not as a way to protect the State from the church but rather a way to protect the Church from the State.
Let’s look and see what Paul has to say about this subject.
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor. Romans 13:1-7 NIV
The key to understanding this portion of chapter 13 is to understand what Paul means by governing authorities.
There are two schools of thought.
The first is that Paul is making reference to the church government. The leaders of the Roman church as well as the leaders of the church as a whole who were located in Jerusalem.
Although this is important and should be done, verse 6 sheds light to the real purpose of this statement. Paul talks about taxes.
Paying taxes is something that is done in the nation and the state the person is living in, therefore the second school of thought is that Paul is talking about our world leaders is probably the most accurate understanding.
Remember that Paul had told us in Romans 12 to repay evil with kindness. The Roman government treated Christians poorly. They persecuted them by beating them and even killing them. The Christians had a reason to not like the government.
With that being said, we live in a generation in which public opinion of those in political leadership is probably at an all time low.
There are a number of reasons for this, including what appears to many as a "crisis in character." People are not happy with government and it doesn’t matter what political affiliation you are.
So how are we as God’s children suppose to feel about our governmental leaders?
Jesus taught on this very sensitive subject in both in Matthew, Mark and Luke. Each time He concluded that we are to render unto Caesar that which belongs to Caesar.
Obviously there are going to be times when we don’t agree with the government, such as was the case in the 1700’s when the United States of America was born.