Summary: Being citizens of heaven doesn’t minimize our responsibilities on earth for the Christian citizen is called upon to be the best citizen. The Christian will have a high view of authority & will be submissive to it as a matter of conscience.
ROMANS 13: 1-7
YOU AND YOUR GOVERNMENT
An Idaho SHEEP RANCHER was approached one day by a stranger in a suit. He said, "If I can guess how many sheep you’ve got, may I have one?" Thinking this to be near impossible the rancher agreed. The stranger then stated, "You have 1,795 sheep." Stunned by the correct answer the rancher told him to choose his sheep. The man selected an animal and slung it over his shoulder and started to walk away. The rancher called after him, "Hey if I can tell you who you work for can I have that animal back?" "OK." "You work for the government." The government worker asked, "How did you figure that out?" "Well," the rancher said, "put my dog down and I’ll tell you."[Lowell Streiker. Encyclopedia of Humor. Hendrickson Publ. Peabody, Mass. 1998. p. 293]
A presidential aide said, "Mr. President, I was wondering, sir if it might be possible for MY SON TO WORK somewhere in the White House." Of course," answered the president. "What does he do?" The aide threw up his hands and said, "Nothing."
Excellent, noted the president. "We won’t even have to train him." [Ibid. p. 287]
There’s not much respect for government in America today, especially with all the election/political talk going around. That’s unfortunate at best and diabolical at worst for the Christian is commanded to be subject to his government.
Our text moves from stressing what our individuals responsibilities are to others to spotlighting how we are to respond to the government. What ought to be the attitude of Christians toward governing authorities? We have been called out of this world system but still live in it. Being citizens of heaven does not minimize our responsibilities here on earth for the Christian citizen is called upon to be the best citizen. The Christian, Scripture insists, will have a high view of authority and will be submissive to it as a matter of Christian conscience (CIT).
I. THE PRINCIPLES OF AUTHORITY, 13:1-2.
II. THE PURPOSE OF AUTHORITY, 13:3-4.
III. THE PROCESSES OF AUTHORITY, 13:5-7.
These words beginning in verse 1 are as important as any that have ever been written on political thought and duties. "Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities." What a strong statement about the right of governments to rule and our responsibility to support them. WHY? The next part of verse 1 answers why. ... "For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God."
Human government is ordained or established by God. Weirsbe said, "God has established three institutions: home (Gen. 2:18-25), church (Acts 2), and government (Gen. 9:1-17)" [Weirsbe, Warren. The Bible Exposition Com. Victor Books. Wheaton, IL. 1989. p. 556]. Ordained means it originated from God, or it is His idea. Government is instituted under divine authority. Human authority is derived from God’s authority. It is authority delegated in certain spheres of life. Therefore we should say as Jesus did to Pilate in John 19:11, "You would have no authority [exousía] over Me, unless it had been given you from above." Pilate misused his authority to condemn Jesus, but it was delegated to him by God [Stott, John. Romans. IVP. Dover Grove, IL.1994. p.340].