S233-080308 Ro 13a
Alêtheia Christian Fellowship ~ 080308 ~ Romans 13a
Very difficult passage today and yet it is one of the simplest in the Bible.
Why so difficult?
Because people are loathe being humble and submitting to anything; people to God, workers to employers, young men to their elders, wives to husbands or children to parents.
The Bible was not written to make us smarter sinners, but holy saints.
My question for you today is: In what, and more to the point: In whom do you really trust?
Romans 13:1a ~ Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.
Period – imperative statement, i.e. every person must be in subjection to the government!
Every person is a Hebraism or Semitic idiom meaning:
No ifs, ands or buts about it (pa~sa yuch>).
1What constitutes government; 2what is subjection and 3how can I continue to believe what I want to believe in spite of this text?
Context tells us this is primarily civil government of all levels.
Subjection is uJpota>ssw, I bring it up because we’ll see this root several times today.
ta>ssw means to appoint and uJpo> means under. This is a Greek military term meaning to be under the command of a higher ranking officer.
Some have said we are to be in subjection or submission to the government, but we are not to obey the government.
Try being in the military and submitting to your commanding officer while at the same time disobeying him.
You can hold fast to your preconceived ideas about the government and taxes or you can understand what God says about the subject.
Today we have people who teach riot and rebellion in the name of Christ! They would have us believe that the Christian thing to do is to disobey the law, rebel against the authorities, refuse to pay taxes and permit every man to do that which is right in his own eyes.
Once again we don’t want to submit
Romans 13:1b-2 ~ 1bFor there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.
No authority except from God = all power is by means of God.
1- God has all the power so He allows everything.
2- God established human government as the means of avoiding anarchy.
Those which exist are established by God = whatever governmental position there is, it stands ordained by God (ta>ssw, appoint).
Nowhere does the Bible say what form of government is better than another except in the case of the theocracy of early Israel.
It is impossible for sinful man to be civil without some rules and subsequent enforcement.
Verse 2, therefore anyone who resists (ajntita>ssw, appoint themselves against) authority has…
Opposed the ordinance of God (ajnqi>sthmi, ajnti + i[sthmi, stand firmly against God’s direction); and they who have opposed will receive condemnation (Judgment) upon themselves –
Incur not only government’s wrath, but God’s wrath as well.
1 Peter 2:13-15 ~ 13Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men.
I’m not going to try to convince you of anything – I’m simply explaining what God has said on the matter.
Romans 13:3-5 ~ 3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake.
Deacons of God
Sword = capital punishment and all lesser punishments are designed for order and one should obey in order to be praised by government instead of punished by government.
Conscience (sunei>dhsiv) will typically produce better citizens than any possible consequences.
Aristotle said, “I have gained this from philosophy: that I do without being commanded what others do only from fear of the law.”
For the Christian this should be absolutely true – even when you know you can get away with something and everyone else does – your Christian conscience should prevent you.
This is the crux of legalism verses grace – legalism produces the minimum acceptable standard out of fear while a conscience due to grace causes us to go beyond the minimum requirements even when no one else will know.
Who receives glory? God and the Christian community are praised.
Let your Christian conscience be your guide asking yourself what Jesus would do.
I won’t give you particulars – that’s for you to work out, but I will say that if you think Jesus would cheat on His income taxes you don’t know Him.
This is not flag-waving patriotism, but the patriotism that seeks to make a better future.
1) There is no authority except from God.
2) Government brings wrath on evil.
3) People have a conscience.
Romans 13:6&7 ~ 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Render to all what is due them = Pay your obligations both financial and otherwise as an example…
Tax = Direct as in income tax or poll tax
Custom = Indirect tax as in sales tax or gasoline tax
Pay all direct and indirect taxes – pay what the government demands!
Matthew 17, the 2 drachma tax
Matthew 22, Mark 12 and Luke 20 all tell the story of give unto Caesar.
Fear = Genuine respect
Honor = Value
Because of grace – we are temporary sojourners in this place – this is not our home!
Submit, submit, submit – it is the Christian lot.
Only by humbly accepting Christ can we be saved and only by humbly recognizing who we are in Christ can we submit to Him
Sold out, on board, Genuinely trusting.
If we will be humble we can be saved
Humbleness in this life implies trust in an unseen God
This supernatural perspective enables submission
Submission is obedience to God through obedience to others – obey me, for the right reason, and you are obeying God.
We see that it is good from God’s perspective and we trust more.
More trust lets God be more and me be less and so leads to greater humility and on to greater trust.
It is all about what and, more to the point, in whom you really trust.