Roaming Through Romans (Romans 13)
We continue on through Romans, reading what Paul had to say to the church in Rome. Chapter 13 starts out: “Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” Rom. 13:1 Paul continues on by urging all Christians to pay their taxes and to respect and honor their national leaders, because he insists that government leaders are God’s servants. (Romans 13:2-7)
I wonder what Paul would say to some of the churches today who openly disrespect our national leaders. Would Paul approve of the Christian groups that have mixed their angry political agendas with the gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ? Is it the position of the body of Christ to stir up hatred for our elected government leaders along with preaching the gospel? Is Romans 13 still relevant for us today in America? When I visit some Bible bookstores today and observe that books written by political stars are mixed in along with Bibles and devotional material, I am upset that my Jesus has been so compromised.
Should an attack on the leaders of our national government be one of the missions of the church today? I don’t read that in Romans 13. Of course throughout history there have been some truly evil government leaders, (Hitler, Stalin, etc.). Under these extreme circumstances the church should be prepared to accept martyrdom before submitting to such dictators, mass murderers, etc..
Paul continues in verse 8: “Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law.” He continues that all of the commandments “are summed up in this one rule: Love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.” Romans 13:9b and 10. There it is again! Love should be the hallmark of all Christians.
“The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy.” Romans 13:12-13. Christians are to act differently from the world. Sexual immorality and drunkenness and jealousy are called ‘the deeds of darkness’. The Lord wants so much more for us. He wants us to live in peace and be faithful, to have true love and put on the ‘armor of light.’
Romans 13 ends with these words: “Rather clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.” Romans 13:14. We are instructed to clothe ourselves in the Lord Jesus! Make no provision for our sinful desires. He must increase and we must decrease. Don’t you love the way this chapter ends. It tells us to wrap ourselves up in Him. Let’s do it.