Summary: As Paul discusses the transformed life Christians are called to, he addresses the need for Christians to submit to the governing authorities and to pay their obligations of taxes and respect.

A. A young boy, who wanted $100.00 very badly, prayed for two weeks but nothing happened.

1. Then he decided to write God a letter requesting $100.00.

2. When the postal authorities received the boy’s letter to God, they decided to send it to the President of the United States.

3. The President was so amused that he instructed his secretary to send the boy $50.00 from God.

4. The President thought that this would be a lot of money to the little boy and thus satisfy him.

5. The little boy was delighted with the $50.00 and immediately wrote a thank you note to GOD that read: “Dear God, Thank you very much for sending me money. However, I noticed that for some reason you had to send it through Washington, D.C., and, as usual, those politicians took half of it.”

B. Politics and government are very important and are volatile subjects, not only in our day, but throughout history.

1. We joke that the only two constants in life are death and taxes, and nobody likes either of those two things.

2. Today, as we continue in our sermon series from Paul’s letter to the Christians in Rome, we come to a section where Paul focuses on a single point: the need for Christians to submit themselves to government authorities.

3. As we will see, Paul issues that demand at the beginning of this section and then he gives three reasons why believers must do so.

4. Then in verse 5, Paul repeats the demand to submit to authorities and then briefly mentions again the two of the reasons for submission to authorities.

5. Finally, Paul concludes the paragraph on a practical note where he urges the Roman Christians to continue to pay their taxes.

C. Paul’s sweeping and apparently unqualified demand that believers obey governing authorities has generated a lot of discussion and debate over the centuries.

1. I want us to explore the key issues Paul addressed in this section and then work to apply them to our lives as we live in the year 2020 and reside in the United States of America.

2. But before we get to those things, there is another question that needs to be answered: Why does Paul include this teaching at this point in this letter to the Romans?

3. To some people, this paragraph doesn’t seem to belong at this place in this letter.

4. Last week, we were blessed to study the large section of chapter 12, where Paul spends a good amount of time describing what sincere love looks like.

5. And interestingly enough, the section that follows the section we are examining today about our relationship to government also addresses the subject of love.

6. So why would Paul stick this subject of submission to government right in the middle of addressing the subject of love?

7. Some people have argued that this paragraph must have been written and inserted by someone else after Paul wrote this letter, but we have no evidence that the letter to the Romans was ever without this paragraph.

D. So, how then does this section fit with what Paul has been addressing since the beginning of chapter 12? I think there are some good ways to see how it fits.

1. First, in the section beginning in chapter 12, Paul has been describing the transformed life expected of followers of Christ.

2. This goal of transformation and “non-conformity to the world” caused some believers to adopt extreme positions.

3. Some concluded that living the spiritual life as Christ followers meant that everything in the world needed to be avoided by truly “spiritual” Christians – including things like the institutions of marriage and the government.

a. Paul and the other apostles had to combat that kind of extremism by pointing out that such institutions were, in fact, appointed by God for the good of human beings.

b. Christians should not think that their faith requires them to consider the institutions of marriage and government as inherently evil and unspiritual.

c. That’s why Paul felt the need to balance his demand that believers not “conform to this world” with a reminder that government authorities were in fact servants of God, doing God’s will.

4. A second connection of this section with the previous section has to do with Paul’s command not to take vengeance, but to allow God to be the judge.

a. One reason why we can do that is that God has ordained government as the institution to carry out his judgment in this world.

E. With that introduction, let’s move through Romans 13:1-7.

1. The basic point of the section is summed up in its opening words: Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. (Romans 13:1)

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Jon Black

commented on May 4, 2020


Jon Black

commented on May 4, 2020


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