Summary: The role of government
Romans 13 a- Government
Turn with me this morning, to the book of Romans, chapter 13. We have been going through the book of Romans together, and today we come to the 13th chapter. In the book of Romans, Paul tells us that we have good news - even though we deserve condemnation for our sins -- all people, out and out sinners, good moral people, and even religious ones deserve the condemnation from God -- and even though we can’t earn our salvation, God, in His marvelous grace, offers us forgiveness through the sacrifice of Jesus Christ dying in our place to pay the penalty of our sins. The righteousness of Christ has been credited to our bankrupt account. And that IS good news for all who will by faith choose to receive that salvation and follow God.
In light of what Paul tells us in chapters 1-11, the doctrine of what is true, in chapters 12 - 16, we see our duty, HOW we should live in light of what is true. We saw in chapter 12 that we are not to make a sacrifice, but to BE a sacrifice, to live our lives for God’s glory. Paul has reminded us that we need to STOP being conformed to the world - being camouflaged to fit right in; instead, there should be something different about us, we are to be internally changed, just like a caterpillar becomes a butterfly. If we are going to seek to honor and obey God, we aren’t going to just make a few external changes to the things we do, but internally, in our hearts, we need to change and recommit to obey God.
Paul tells us we are to be serious about serving, using our gifts for the good of the church and the glory of God. And he tells us we are to be outgoing towards others, seeking to show our love in a thousand practical ways. Now we come to chapter 13, and Paul tells us that when we choose to be a living sacrifice, it will change the way we relate to our government.
Remember last month when you were driving down the interstate and you saw that flashing light in your mirror? A patrol officer was kind enough to be concerned for your safety and he allowed you to help contribute to provide better roads for our state. He even wrote out a friendly reminder for you to take home in case you forgot the information he shared with you. What was your attitude towards that officer?
Many of you have also received a friendly invitation in the mail, inviting you to share in the privilege of paying for the expenses of our country, and a friendly reminder that that gift is to come in by April 15th. The friendly people at the IRS would love to have your help! As a Christian, do we need to worry about paying taxes? I’ve known Christians who I went to church with who didn’t think they needed to pay any tax, because they thought the government didn’t follow God. Were they right in doing that?
Paul gives us some good, needed advice here in Romans 13, and we want God to speak to our hearts today about how we can be more faithful to God by the way we view our government. Let’s read what God has to say to us.
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 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 he will commend you. For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Let’s pray that God would help us to understand His message to us. PRAY.
Today, as we think of how our lives are to be different because we have been internally changed in the way we think, we understand that God wants our thinking changed in the way we think about our Government. There are many Christians who have very unbiblical ideas about government. But for a Christian, God tells us we have two main responsibilities: They are very simple and easy to remember: 1. Be subject to the government and 2. Support the government by paying your taxes.