Summary: A sermon on Romans 13:1-7 talking about the responsibility of government toward their citizens and talking about the responsibility of citizens toward their government (Material and seed thoughts from Dr. Jack Cottrell's commentary on Romans)
The origin of Uncle Sam probably began in 1812, when Samuel Wilson was a meat packer who provided meat to the US Army. The meat shipments were stamped with the initials, U.S. Someone joked that the initials stood for “Uncle Sam”. This joke eventually led to the idea of Uncle Sam symbolizing the United States government.
This passage of Scripture is relevant to this past week when we celebrated our nation’s independence day. The main point seems to be “conscientious citizenship, painstaking patriotism.” But there is another side to this coin. While stating the citizens’ responsibility toward government, Paul gives us valuable information about the government’s responsibility toward its citizens. This passage presents the clearest biblical teaching concerning the God given origin and God intended purpose of human government.
Submission to authority is simply one aspect of God’s will for us. We are told to submit in the home, in the church, in our jobs and also to the government. God’s will for Christians includes not just specific Christian duties (talking about those over the past several weeks) but also the laws of the Creator that apply to all human beings as his creatures.
Last week we talked about evil. The Lord deals with evil in two ways in our day. With one hand, God holds the cross of grace and in the other he holds the sword of his wrath. God is not using these instruments directly. God has placed them into the hands of his two main representatives: church of Christ on earth wields the cross of grace, and human governments wield the sword of his wrath.
As individual Christians and as a church, we need to live out the instructions in Romans 12:17-21. Let’s be clear about this. It is okay to want justice to be done- by the government. Some evildoers respond to acts of kindness and good will. They repent and stop doing their evil because of the grace shown to them. However, other people do not respond in this way. The only thing they respond to is a good butt whipping. Evildoers are not free to do all the harm they please, without restraint and without fear of any kind of punishment. While we are not allowed to take vengeance against those who do us wrong, God has established civil government to be his agent to see that such vengeance is carried out.
Thesis: Let’s talk about the responsibility of government toward its citizens and then talk about the responsibility of citizens toward their government.
Responsibility of government toward its citizens
The purpose of government is to uphold moral laws. Does this in 4 ways:
To stop evil behavior by the fear of punishment. “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.” Romans 13:4, NIV.