Summary: God states in Romans 13 the picture of Government, our responsibilities and obligations.
In the course of any given week we can hear of stories of corruption. It becomes most distressing when it is from elected officials, for we know that is was our money. From this past week:
In Romans 13, the Apostle Paul, a Roman citizen by birth, is writing to a church located in the very capital of the Roman Empire, the heat and center of government. They were people very aware of the operations of government and the effect on the people. In terms of the audience, a considerable proportion, though probably not the majority-of the membership of the Roman church consisted of Jews. Many of the Jews of that day and age were looking for an opportunity to shake off the yoke of subjection to Rome, and were eager to become politically independent once more, with a king of their own.
Perhaps we can look at the government like many did in the first century and think that we are citizens of heaven (Phil. 3:20) and we should not concern ourselves with them.
• Such is the position of many pacifist groups like the Jehovah’s witnesses, and the Mennonite.
However God states in Romans 13 the picture of Government, our responsibilities and obligations. We can see:
1) Government Appointed 2) Obliged 3) Warning 4) Enforced 5) Obeyed
Government Supported & Honored
1) Government Appointed
Rom 13:1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
This text is the locus classicus, the key text in scripture to determine the role of Christians & Politics or Government.
We must understand who it is talking about before we try to apply it today.
Let is an injunction, a command.
Every person no exceptions.
Which calls us to be subject, which is different that blindly obeying. More of that to follow.
• In it’s broadest context: it applies to anyone who is in a position of authority over us. The authorities are in the plural form, it applies to the authority as a whole.
The specific reference in this text is to elected officials.
Scope: Prime minister, Premiers, Mayors, clerks
Subject: is a military term denoting soldiers arranged in order under the commander and subject to his commands. They are lined up
Please turn to 1 Pt 2
How this looks is the issue for us. The nature of the subjection is in question. Like I alluded to earlier, it is not blind obedience, but a specified duty.
• Just as a soldier who is subject to a commander is obligated to only obey lawful orders and obligated to prevent unlawful actions, so too we must look at our orders.
1Pe 2:13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 1Pe 2:14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 1Pe 2:15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 1Pe 2:16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 1Pe 2:17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.