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GOOD INTENTIONS

May 14, 2015

Thursday

 

Romans 13:1-7

 

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. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 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: 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. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

 

 

LESSON

 

This chapter broadens the Christian’s sphere of responsibility by extending it to include the civil government under which he or she lives. Romans 13 is the premier New Testament passage that explains the believer’s civil responsibilities. Paul here expounded what it means to “render unto Caesar” what belongs to him. This subject has bearing on the spread of the gospel, so it is especially appropriate in this epistle. The church is not a nation among nations, as Israel was. Consequently it was important that Paul clarify Christians’ duties to our earthly rulers, as well as our duty to our heavenly Ruler.

For example, the Christian’s obligation to submit to a government that requires abortions would be different from his or her duty to one that only permits them. I believe a Christian should disobey a government when it requires him or her to practice abortion, but not if it only permits abortions. I do not believe a Christian should break the law to protest an ungodly practice that his or her government only permits. If he or she disagrees with a law, that Christian should pursue whatever options exist to change the law—short of breaking the law. I believe that those who choose to break the law simply to make a statement, even though they are willing to suffer the consequences, violate New Testament teaching on this subject. Those who serve the public, however, deserve honor. It seems that we all need to show more respect and honor for all and any who serve others in any way.

 

Memory Verse: Isaiah 52:7

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