Submission to the Authorities
13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Fulfilling the Law Through Love
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
Besides this you know the time, that the hour has come for you to wake from sleep. For salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed. The night is far gone; the day is at hand. So then let us cast off the works of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and sensuality, not in quarreling and jealousy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires.
Romans 13 Commentary
by Hank Workman
Nothing is worse than a short night’s sleep. It feels as though the moment your head hit the pillow, the alarm went off.
Throughout Scripture from story to verses that point to something I would call “God Time”. It’s the timing of God in things that we don’t perceive or understand. He may promise something and we have confirmation toward that, and then nothing happens – and we wait for the fulfillment. This happened with David. He was anointed as king of Israel and it would take years and years for any of that to pass. There are other times where God Time moves quickly and we’re running to keep up with Him.
Nehemiah felt called to build the wall around the broken down Jerusalem, and when everything fell together for him, he found himself beyond his own reality of Persia back in Jerusalem and the project was completed in record time. Despite all the obstacles and hardships and people coming against him, the God Time ordered it and it was so.
We know Jesus is coming back. We even hear reports and warnings from groups as they take events and crisis in the world and draw parallels to Scripture itself. The reality is we don’t know. In fact, Jesus told His disciples He didn’t know… He would be told and He would return. Only God knows. God Time.
Paul encourages his readers to be ready for this God Time. He sounds the alarm. Calls to wake from the slumber.
“It is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.”Romans 13:11
God Time affects all of us. It also is something we get discouraged with or in as we wait in expectation for His promises to come together. But the end-all of God Time is Jesus’ return. As Paul encourages the reader, we must take to heart that salvation is nearer than we first believed. Another day has passed in the God Time of what He has in store for His people.
Live in expectation and diligence of God Time.
Romans 13 Commentary
by Brad Boyles
In Chapter 13, Paul’s focus is the authority of the government, and how the Christian should respond to such authority. In Paul’s time, there were overzealous Jews who claimed that they would honor no authority other than God, and therefore, pay no taxes to any authority other than God. Sounds kind of convenient doesn’t it? It reminds me of the passage in Matthew 22 where the Pharisees along with the Romans try and catch Jesus off-guard by asking him about politics. Jesus very plainly says, “give to Caesar what is his, and give to God what is his.”
Paul’s writings affirm the same position. There is no authority on this planet that hasn’t been allowed by God himself. Therefore, when we don’t submit to authority, we question the sovereignty of God. In fact, Paul makes it clear that the person who rebels against the governing authorities rebels against God.
It sounds to me like Paul is arguing that Christians should set the standard for what is considered a “good citizen.” We see a tremendous example of this in Scripture with Daniel, who earns respect from the foreign leaders around him, yet knows exactly when to draw the line when his faith is challenged.
We can’t assume that following and respecting authority means we have to compromise on our faith. But sadly, many Christians these days are quick to use their “rights” to veto any obligation to authority. To those observing who do not believe, this kind of attitude sends a message loud and clear that Christians are no different than any other type of person in the world.
Paul says it best when he writes, “Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.”