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Posts Tagged ‘romans 13’

“Everyone must submit to governing authorities.” (Romans 13:1)
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Not every Bible verse we read may give us peace and comfort initially. A good portion of Scripture is instructional, designed for our well-being particularly when we’re unable to see the bigger picture. This was the
ecase for me four years ago. Romans 13:1-5 was not a comforting piece of Scripture to me, but I discovered peace and comfort in God in my obedience to His word. Like it or not (and I did not) Barack Obama was my president and I was going to submit because God said so. To put it another way: I feared not the man, but the Lord. I still do, therefore #Notmypresident was never an option.
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Now (for me) the tide has turned and I have a sense these Godly directives will be a bit easier for me to follow, but for you maybe not so much. Perhaps these last four years for you were smoother, but now you’re faced with submitting to folks you may very well despise. As I’ve previously outlined – I feel your pain and I can relate to what you’re going through. I am here to tell you that if you truly fear God, you would do well to comply with His directives. In so doing there is peace and there is comfort.
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do.” (Romans 13:1-5)
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Now of course this is all grand counsel if you are a Christian. If you are not, the Bible and all of God’s tenets are foolishness to you, which happens to be another position I can relate to. The solution for me was to submit to Jesus Christ and His perfect will for my life. Prior to receiving Jesus as my Lord and Savior, there was no peace or comfort, only temporary solutions to problems that I had absolutely no control over. In Jesus I discovered the solution.
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If you’re still reading and you’re not a Christian, I suspect that perhaps you’re feeling God attempting to draw you closer into a relationship with him. If that is the case, the onus is upon you to respond to Him and I’d encourage you to investigate further.
Please don’t hesitate to comment or ask a question.
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“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.” (Romans 13:1)

As per chapter 13 of the Book of Romans, God appoints governing authorities for a specific purpose. Here it is: “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. 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.” (Romans 13:3-4)

But if you do evil, be afraid

In theory, those who are appointed by God to these authoritative positions, be they police officers or Presidents of the United States, are Obama Face Palm-240x180to be ministers of God’s goodness, but this is not their only calling. They are also avengers (those who take vengeance), called to execute wrath (strong and fierce punishment) on those who do evil, for the sake of God’s righteousness and for those who abide by His laws. Never should they condone evil practices or suggest that those who long for justice are ignorantly riding their horses highly.

But Wait!

Didn’t God say, “Vengeance is Mine!” Is there not coming a day when God will pour out His wrath on an unrepentant world?

Yes, these things are true, but clearly, as the Romans 13 text demonstrates, God does not expect (or require) that the law-abiding world stand idly by while satanic-driven terrorism floods our streets. Prior to proclaiming [that] vengeance belongs to God, the Scripture maintains that whenever possible we’re to live peaceably with all men and to not exact punishment ourselves – God has appointed governments to exact certain punishments. The ultimate vengeance that belongs to God alone concludes with condemnation. Men and governments have no such authority, but neither must we wait to douse the fires of those who desire to set us ablaze. We are free to eliminate them and then trust God to judge them and us accordingly.

Meanwhile…

With God’s help, we’re to love and pray for those folks who do evil, remembering that Jesus took their sins to the cross, as well as ours. If they’re not aware of that Good News, then it’s our duty to tell them, if and when God affords us the opportunity to do so.

Hold Them Accountable

Don’t be fooled into believing that our only option is to be found in the voting booth. In America, the authorities that govern us (appointed by God) have also provided us many liberties. Let us boldly utilize them, while never forgetting to pray for the leadership of this country and also how God would use us.

Frankly, our leadership is not effectively doing the job God appointed them to do. The Romans passage quoted above tells us that ‘if you do evil,’ you should be afraid of the governing authorities. When I look around the world today, I don’t believe anyone looks at our president with fear. Based on his words and actions they may in fact see him as an ally or a sympathizer. This should not be and it’s okay to say so.

In this light, it’s okay to vocalize our concerns and to pray for these problems to be rectified. All of this certainly, and yes Biblically, falls into the category of submission to authority. So pray for salvation for those who may need it and also for Holy Spirit revival for those who need that. Pray for obedient boldness for those [who] God may be calling to leadership positions and that others may step down for their failure to uphold the tenets of their offices.

Hope

Our ultimate hope is in Jesus Christ, but let us also be good stewards of the goods and governments He has provided. Let no one neglect them as they wait for Christ’s return.

“Jesus taught peace, love and forgiveness. He came to give His life for the sins of mankind, not to take life. Muhammad on the contrary was a warrior and killed many innocent people. True followers of Christ emulate Christ — true followers of Muhammad emulate Muhammad.”

Franklin Graham

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Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that beare ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.” (Romans 13:1-2)

Government: What’s a Christian to do?

Have you ever listened to a Bible teaching on Romans 13:1 and come away believing all an American Christian can do is vote, and then trust God for everything that vhappens after that? Well if we lived in a country where all we were allowed to do was vote, that would be true, but that is not the case in the United States. Voting is only one of several activities that the government (whom we are submitted to), encourages it citizens to exercise. It could be argued that if you’re not exercising all your liberties [as they pertain to government function and personal citizenship], then you are not wholly submitted to these higher powers.

What are those activities? Here’s the short list:

Rights, Responsibilities, and Duties of a U. S. Citizen (and Christian)

  • Vote
  • Serve on a jury
  • Run for office
  • Become eligible for federal grants and scholarship
  • To communicate with the world.
  • Demonstrate and/or protest
  • To express and/or publish one’s opinions or those of others.
  • To practice one’s religion
  • Support and defend the Constitution
  • Serve the country
  • Participate in the democratic process
  • Respect the rights, beliefs, and opinions of others
  • Participate in your local community
  • To enjoy equally the rights, privileges and protections of personhood as established by law.
  • To petition an official for redress of grievances
  • To petition a court for redress of grievances
  • To petition a legislator
  • To help enforce laws and practices and to resist those which are not

Jesus Didn’t Do These Things

Jesus didn’t vote either. One reason may have been because the government in Jesus’ day gave little or no such freedoms to their citizens. I suspect if the topic of voting was brought to His attention (and if voting was a liberty granted by Caesar), Jesus would have said ‘vote,’ and vote wisely.

Without any doubt, there is ‘no authority except from God, and those governments and officials that exist are established by God,’ but ask yourself, is God establishing these offices based on our civil participation (or lack of participation) in the legal process?

  • Do we get political tyrants because we have only voted and did little else?
  • If our government grants us liberties and we ignore them, can we consider ourselves submitted to these higher powers?
  • Are we resisting the very ordinance of God laid out in Romans 13:1-2?
  • Are we in fact getting what we deserve?

How do these things line-up with Psalm 37?

Do not fret because of evildoers, Be not envious toward wrongdoers.  For they will wither quickly like the grass And fade like the green herb. Trust in the LORD and do good; Dwell in the land and cultivate faithfulness. Psalm 37:1-3

It cannot be argued that Christians are ‘strangers and pilgrims’ here on earth, but nowhere in the Bible are we counseled to forgo our responsibilities towards stewardship in citizenship. Quite frankly I believe the United States is in the downward spiral that we’re in because Christians have not been faithful with these duties. Some Christians don’t even vote! That is a complete failure in submission to Christ Jesus and His ordinances regarding this matter. If something is wrong with government locally, federally, or on the state level, and we’re sitting on our hands and biting our tongues until the next election, then we deserve whatever political wrath that comes down the pike.

And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it…Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving. (Genesis 1:28; Colossians 3:23-24)

Consider the list of liberties above and how God would have you exercise your freedom as a citizen subjected to those with authority over you.  If you have been given rights by your government (like voting) and you ignore those rights, you are submitted to apathy and negligence rather than those who rule over you.

What are your thoughts?

Please use Bible Scripture to support your position if possible.

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