In this installment of 10 Things You should Know we’ll turn our attention to Romans 13:1-7 (and 1 Peter 2) and the Christian’s responsibility toward human government. Continue reading . . .
In this installment of 10 Things You should Know we’ll turn our attention to Romans 13:1-7 (and 1 Peter 2) and the Christian’s responsibility toward human government.
(1) All governmental authority comes from God (Romans 13:1,4,6). This applies to Pharaoh in Egypt (Rom. 9:17), as well as the pagan rulers in Babylon (see Daniel 2:19-21, 36-38; 4:24-37), and Pontius Pilate in the days of Jesus (John 19:11-12). Those in authority are therefore rightly called God’s “ministers” (v. 4) and “servants” (v. 6).
When Paul describes those in governmental authority as his “ministers” or “servants” he is not referring to their spiritual condition, as if to suggest they are all born again. Rather, he is describing their function under God’s sovereignty. They “serve” God and his purposes, even if they are oblivious to his influence over their lives.
(2) Because all governmental authority comes from God, all Christians are to live in subjection to it (Romans 13:1,5; 1 Peter 2:13-17). That does not mean we must obey everything that our government commands or requires. There are certain exceptions, as we’ll see below.
(3) Because all governmental authority comes from God, to resist “it” is to resist God (Rom. 13:2). Simply put, a crime against the state is a sin against God. But fear of civil judgment is not the primary motivation for obedience to the law (see Rom. 13:5). We have a responsibility to the will of God regardless of the consequences of our criminal behavior. Our obedience to the law of the land is based first and foremos