Watch a short overview of Romans 13
Passage: Romans 13
v1-7 - This is the famous passage calling Christians to submit to the government, but like every other passage in the Bible, it's important to understand it in the context it was written: the heading for chapter 13 actually comes in the last verse of chapter 12: overcome evil with good. Even though the government may often seem like it's operating far outside the scope of God's will, God may actually be permitting it to do so for His purposes (8:28). God used the ungodly governments of the Egyptians, Canaanites, Persians, and even the Romans to carry out His will in the past, so it's not unprecedented for Him to be using our present governments even if we do not understand how. We also read this passage understanding that even the most powerful earthly government must itself ultimately submit to God's higher authority (v1, 2), and that you are never obligated to submit to the government when doing so would compromise your ability to submit to God's law.
v8-10 - This imperative to love one another mirrors several other passages throughout the Bible.
v11-14 - The command given to 'wake up from your slumber' in v11 is just as pertinent now as it was then. It's so easy to be lulled to sleep spiritually because we expend so much energy on things that ultimately don't matter. Set against this dulled mindset of conformity is v14: clothe yourself with Christ, and don't waste time worrying about worldly desires.
Old Testament Reference -
Isaiah 44:28 and chap. 45 describe how God used the pagan King Cyrus to do His will and discipline God's people.
Use the comment box below to discuss one or more of these questions. For every comment or reply you post, you will receive an entry for this month's prize: a gift certificate to Lakeside Deli.
As American citizens, we are responsible for our government (theoretically, at least). What attributes does chapter 13 give which we should we seek to have reflected in our government?
Is it possible to simultaneously resist and submit to ungodly government? How so?
What are some ways that Christians today are 'slumbering' (v11)?
Keep one of these phrases in your mind throughout the day and come back to it often, asking God to speak to you through these words:
v1 - God has established the authorities
v10 - Love does no harm
v11 - Wake up from your slumber