Summary: As we traced the Sovereignty of God through the Bible, one of the most frequent references to its concerns His Sovereignty over nations and governments. One of the references in the bible is in Romans 13:1-7.
God’s Rule Over the Nations
As we traced the Sovereignty of God through the Bible, one of the most frequent references to its concerns His Sovereignty over nations and governments. One of the references in the bible is in Romans 13:1-7.
Here is the theme of God’s establishment of every government in the world today and that has ever been in history. However, some Christians think that the existence of civil authorities is something we determine who will rule by election or revolution.
Verse 1: “There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” And flowing from this theme is the theme of our relation to the government whether we live in the Philippines, Iraq, North Korea or China.
In today’s message we will focus our attention in verse 1. We will give attention to others remaining verses next week. But for now, let’s give first our attention to verse 1b, for in here will be our foundation in dealing with the other text.
In Verse 1b we read: “There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been ordained by God.”
Take note of the word “ordained.” What does it mean?
“to arrange in an orderly manner, that is, assign or dispose (to a certain position or lot): - addict, appoint, determine, ordain, set.” (Strong’s Hebrew and Greek Dictionaries.
Now, what does verse 1b implies? There are four implications this verse gives us. I want to share these with you. I hope these will serves as a foundation to you why we have to submit to governing authorities.
I. It implies the truth that man did not create government. God did.
In 2 Chronicles 20:6 we read, “O Lord, God of our fathers, are you not the God who is in Heaven? You rule over all the kingdoms of the nations. Power and might are in your hand, and no one can withstand you.”
Hey, wait a minute! Isn’t it we vote for them that’s why they are in civil government? Many Christians thought this view and values were still held by a majority. They say, Christians only needed to mobilize the moral majority and encourage them to speak out—especially by voting. “We could turn things around, we were assured, if only we could mobilize the masses,” they say. No! Civil authority is God’s idea in this age.
God is supreme over and above the kings of the earth. God makes all the events in history. God is directing history towards the goal of His greatest glory and His people’s greatest good.
All authority is there because God put it there. All authorities: good or bad.
II. God determines who rules in these governments
In Daniel 2:21 we read, “[God] removes kings and sets up kings.” Also in chapter 4:17 we read, “The Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes and sets over them the lowliest of men.”
So it says here that they are all under His control. God puts them in office and he takes them out of office. Under his sovereign rule God does whatever He pleases. God establishes the civil government and determines who rules in those governments.
Does it mean it includes the tyrants and dictators of the history? Yes! They have ruled according to the sovereign will of God. That’s what the scriptures say.
Read Daniel 4:32, “And you shall be driven from among men, and your dwelling shall be with the beasts of the field; and you shall be made to eat grass like an ox; and seven times shall pass over you, until you have learned that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom He will.”
So Romans 13:1 applies to all rulers good and bad.
You mean, evil rulers allowed or ordained by God?
Lamentations 3:37-38 is a direct statement that God decrees not only good things, but also bad things.
We read, "Who is there who speaks and it comes to pass, unless the Lord has commanded it? Is it not from the mouth of the Most High that both good and ill go forth?"
God is not only sovereign over good but also over evil. He is in control over the evil rulers directed them in accomplish His purpose, directing it for His glory.
So God decrees not only good rulers but tyrants or evil rulers as well. Thus, if God decrees something, it must be because it was part of His plan.
Now, not only God established the government authorities; not only God determines who rules in these governments, but…
III. God determines the times of their ruling.
In Isaiah 40:23-24 we read, “Who brings princess to nought, and makes the rulers of the earth as nothing. Scarcely are they planned, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, when he blows upon them, and they wither, and the tempest carries them off like stubble.