Romans 13:1-7 “God and Government”

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From the perspective that we have as citizens of the United States of America, hearing Paul’s words at the beginning of Romans 13 doesn’t strike us as being too out of place.  Despite some of the disfunction, our government could hardly be compared to some of the dictatorships or other corrupt, abusive governments that exist in the world today. We are blessed to live with such freedoms and protections as we have here.

It is no secret, however, that even the best governments in the world deal with corruption and acts in ways that are clearly outside of God’s desires.  Paul was writing in the midst of a corrupt government structure, not just to encourage Christians, but also to remind governments where their authority comes from.  We submit to governing authorities with an eye on the one and only, true source of all authority in heaven and earth.

Questions to take home:

  1. Paul uses the word “subject” or, in other translations “submit” verse 1.  What does this word mean? Another place that this word is readily used is Ephesians 5:21-6:10.  How would you define the word “submission”? What is it’s implications in your life?
  2. Reread Romans 12:17-19.  How are verses 3-5 informed by the latter part of Romans 12?  Paul speaks of God using governments and authority as part of His judgment and wrath against sin.  How do you feel about this? Does it make you see things any different?
  3. Why do you think Paul felt it important to include verses six and seven with regard to taxes?  Read Matthew 22:15-22. What does Jesus have to say about this? Why do you think this is an important part of how we live out our faith in Christ?