Hi hi! I hope you’re doing great, as I am. If you haven’t read Chapters 11 and 12, you can do so here and here. And if you haven’t been following, I got you too. I have compiled all the chapters in one place and you can view and choose any of your choice here. Remember to always read in context. Let’s dive straight into Romans 13.
Romans 13:1– Higher powers means authority. All authority comes from God, so all should obey them. The Greek word translated “subject” here, as well as thirteen other times in the New Testament, is “HUPOTASSO.” This was a military term meaning “to rank under” (Vine’s Expository Dictionary). Although, in most cases, obedience is a part of submission, these terms are not synonymous. Just as those enlisted in the army have limits to their obedience to an officer, so we only obey others as long as their commands do not oppose God. A failure to understand the difference between submission and obedience has given birth to many false teachings that have caused some people to obey others in matters of sin. That is never commanded in the Word of God.
This sentence–“For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God”–has perplexed many people. Was Paul saying that God wills that there be oppressive governments like the Nazis or even the Roman government that Paul was under? Definitely not. Even though He has used corrupt rulers and governments to punish offenses, their governmental authority was not created by God to be oppressive. They were ordained to be ministers of God to us for good (Romans 13:4). In the same way that God ordains people to the ministry yet they fail to fulfill that call as God intended, likewise, God ordains governments but doesn’t ordain everything that they do. There are countless scriptural examples of rebukes and punishments by God upon civil leaders because they did not submit to His will.
13:2– Paul tells us not to resist this authority, that is, not fight against them. But this does not mean we should comply to all they say.
13:3-5– The authorities placed over us mostly fight evil, and not good. So we who are good and do good, have nothing to fear. You should only be afraid of them when you do evil. Submitting to them gives us a clear conscience.
13:6-7– Pay your taxes, respect and honour those in authority.
13:8– Do not be in debt and do not owe anything, except love. It might be funny to say, but we should owe each man love. Always giving love, every time. For in loving each other, we are fulfilling the law.
13:9-10– The 4th to 10th laws out of the 10 God gave to Moses on the mount can all be summed up to “Love your neighbour as yourself”, which is the commandment Jesus gave in Matthew 22:39. In loving, we cause harm to nobody, and that is fulfilling the law.
13:11-12– When Paul talks about salvation here, he means the return of our Lord, Jesus Christ. And so, we should be more sensitive to doing good works and walking in light and righteousness. We should commit ourselves to be slaves of righteousness and not the flesh or worldly desires.
13:13-14– We shouldn’t yield to the things of the flesh but conduct ourselves honourably and as becomingly as in the day. Many of us Christians have mistakenly believed that during our lives here on the earth, we are doomed to have ungodly lusts and desires. However, it doesn’t have to be that way. The sin nature that enslaved our flesh is gone, and to the degree that we renew our minds through God’s Word, we can experience victory over the flesh (Romans 5) . The reason that the flesh seems so strong in many of our lives is because we are continually feeding it.
Hope you had fun reading this? I’ll see you next time. Please don’t forget to share with as many as possible and subscribe to get all the updates.