July 11th Romans, 13
1: Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2: Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3: For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: 4: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 5: Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6: For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7: Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. 8: Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 9: For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 10: Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 11: And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. 12: The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 13: Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. 14: But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.
Paul now tackles the difficult subject of the Christian relationship to civil authority. And he says that Christians are to be subject to higher powers. They are to be law abiding citizens. Why must Christians obey civil authority? Because all the powers of men are ordained of God. The most high rules in the kingdoms of men and he sitteth over it whom so ever he will. And those who resist the authority of men resist the ordinance of God. And those who resist these that God has ordained resist God and will face the judgment of God. The Police do not chase after good men, but only those who do wrong. Christians should live exemplary lives so that ‘the power that be’ will give glory to God. Those that judge men execute the judgment of God. He is Gods servant he is the minister of God who is commissioned to execute judgment on those who do evil. We are not just to obey civil authority so that we will not suffer punishment but so that we might live with a clear conscience. Christians are to pay their taxes; they are to pay tolls and custom duty on goods. They are to give respect to those to whom respect is due. Christians should try to not have debts unpaid, but they are to love one another because love fulfils all the law. All the commandments of God are summed up in the concept of love. Those who love do not hurt their neighbour. It is time to wake up and realise that the coming of the Lord is coming near. And therefore our salvation from the very presence of sin is nearer all the time. Let us put off sin in our lives. Let us live in complete honesty, not in have raves and getting drunk, not in sleeping around or in sexual wantonness, not in bickering with others or being jealous. Christians are to live in the Power of the Holy Spirit as Christ did and we are not to provide opportunities for the flesh to take control so that we become overwhelmed by the lusts of the flesh.