TOPIC: Believers’ Obligations to Constituted Authorities.
Read: Romans 13(NKJV)
13:1. Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God.
13:2. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.
13:3. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same.
13:4. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to [execute] wrath on him who practices evil.
13:5. Therefore [you] must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.
13:6. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing.
13:7. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes [are due,] customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
13:8. Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
13:9. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness,” “You shall not covet,” and if [there is] any other commandment, are [all] summed up in this saying, namely, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
13:10. Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love [is] the fulfillment of the law.
13:11. And [do] this, knowing the time, that now [it is] high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation [is] nearer than when we [first] believed.
13:12. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.
13:13. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy.
13:14. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to [fulfill its] lusts.
Paul wrote this letter to the disciples in Rome that they should respect civil government. He knew that the persecution of the Roman State was closer, so he admonished the Christians, to submit to the civil government in all things lawful and honest. Paul in writing this was saying that it is important that Christians should submit to civil government because it is God who ordains every government, so that humans can be governed and prevent anarchy(1 Tim. 3:1; 1 Pet. 3:13-17).
Paul made it clear that submission to the government should not be because it is capable of punishing the offender, but for conscience sake (v.5). God instituted civil authorities (v.1), and He is not to be blamed for the wicked actions of any government because humans are fallible; only God is infallible.
Beloved, civil government – whether by election, selection or appointment- is established by God.
Therefore, Christians are not exempt from its laws inasmuch as those laws are not against God’s commands. Disobedience to constituted authorities is disobedience to God and attracts punishment (v.2). Constituted authorities are not limited to the civil government; in the Christian church where the clergy and some committees act in that capacity.
They also exist in any organisation where people lead in line with some specific laid down principles. Submission to leaders who govern with the fear of God is not foolishness but God’s command.
PRAYER: Lord help me to submit to constituted authorities in all things lawful honest, Amen