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(1-7) Subject unto the higher powers.—Looking impartially at the passage which follows, it would seem at first sight—and perhaps not only at first sight—that the Apostle distinctly preaches two doctrines, both of which are now discredited, the doctrines of divine right and of passive obedience. Subject to the governing authorities: The connection between Romans 12 and Romans 13is clear. The authorities that exist have been established by God. We are to give unto Ceasar the things that are Ceasars and to God the things that are HIS and when we trust Him in every situation of life we will find that His grace is sufficient and that His power is perfected in our weakness. What reasons are given for submitting to civil government (Romans 13:1-2)? proceeding of all magistracy whatever from God, still more precisely defined, in respect of those magistracies which exist in concreto, detailed and emphatic inculcation of obedience towards the magistracy. But in the context, Paul is speaking about how believers are to live in love and to get along peaceably with all people. (a) Indeed, though an apostle, though an evangelist, though a prophet; Chrysostom. For there is no power but of, God: the powers that be are ordained of God, Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers. Paul shifts subjects with no transition or introduction. It is an expression of this deliberate policy (if by that name it may be called) which we find in these first seven verses of Romans 13. This word (as one observes) implieth two things; invention, and ratification. Consequently, whoever… God sets them "in order," assigns them their location, changes and directs them as he pleases. The Lord God established a number of divine institutions at the beginning including marriage, the family, nationalism, and governmental authority, and down through history, we see that basest of men are often those the Lord sets in positions of authority. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13 . In either case a great responsibility is assumed, and it is especially desirable that the judgment of the individual should be fortified by the consent of others, if possible by the suffrages of the majority of those who are in a position to judge. His experience in Palestine would tell him to what unscrupulous acts of violence this might lead. But here is the rub: Romans […] I pray that while I am here, You will take my life and use me in whatever way You choose, that I may be a faithful witness and bring glory to Your name, in my small corner of this world. Devotional Questions – Romans 13:1-14 1. Although Paul undoubtedly changes topics at 13:1, the thematic links between 13:1-7 and 12:9-21 are difficult to ignore. The powers that be are ordained of God: this passage is an exemplification of the former. Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. 2. Use this table to get a word-for-word translation of the original Greek Scripture. Despite the polices of politicians, the regulations of religious leaders, and the dictates of both national and international dignitaries under whom we are currently placed, we have an assurance from the authoritative Word of God, that He is in control and has authorised every authority to carry out His eternal plan and purpose - so that CHRIST is ALL, and CHRIST will be ALL and in ALL. It’s no wonder non-Christians are fed up with Christians using the Bible to justify any political power play. Whether Christians were to acknowledge the laws of such kingdoms and of such men, was a serious question, and one which could not but occur very early. Orgh (“wrath”) is mentioned in 12:19 and 13:4, 5. It would seem as if by some intuitive perception the disciples entered into the intention of their Master. What does romans 13:1 - 2 mean? There are those that object, often justifiably, to Paul's clear directive to be subject to the ruling authorities and higher powers, both in secular governments and the hierarchy of the church, but the apostle Peter clearly emphasises this teaching in his first epistle, "Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God." And he forestalls the danger by an authoritative and reasoned description of the attitude which the Christian ought to assume. Lit., the existing. He speaks of powers, in the plural number, because there are divers sorts and kinds thereof, as monarchy, aristocracy, democracy: under which soever of these we live, we must be subject thereunto. Whatever the decision arrived at, it ought not to be made in a spirit of levity, nor ought it to be supposed that the dictum of the single conscience bears anything like the same validity as the universal principles of morals. When the didrachma was demanded of Him, which it was customary for the Jew to pay towards the repair and maintenance of the Temple, He, though as Lord of the Temple He claimed exemption, nevertheless, for fear of putting a stumbling-block in the way of others, supplied the sum required by a miracle. For there is no power but of God: this is a reason of the foregoing injunction: q.d. All that is alleged is that, primâ facie, the magistrate can claim the obedience of the subject. Verse 1 reads, "Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. Paul was not claiming that earthly governments must be obeyed because they are good or trustworthy. b. He warned that those who are called by His name will receive the same treatment from religious worldlings... for in this fallen world-system we will suffer tribulation and trials. Setting aside the hypocrisy of … "Romans 13:1-6 Subjection to magistrates enforced.Romans 13:7 We must render to all their dues,Romans 13:8-10 only love is a debt we must always owe, and virtuallycontaineth the whole law.Romans 13:11-14 Rioting, drunkenness, and other works of darknessmust be put away, as much out of season under the gospel. (3) many of the early Christians were composed of Jewish converts. '', Nevertheless, they look upon civil government to be of divine appointment. He was completely innocent and had done nothing wrong—nothing of which He was accused had been part of His conduct. Romans 12 Romans 14 Chapter 13. Tribute is to be paid to whom tribute is due. Many of the monarchs were blood-stained warriors; were unprincipled men; and were polluted in their private, and oppressive in their public character. It is quite probable, however, that the main danger was, that the early Christians would err in "refusing" submission, even when it was proper, rather than in undue conformity to idolatrous rites and ceremonies. This clause is attested and illustrated by Proverbs 8:15 Daniel 4:32 John 19:11. See on Mark 2:10; see on John 1:12. Or: Shall we be Christ's people with a pinch of American flavoring? It discharges the same functions that God himself discharges, though in a lower scale and degree. Moreover, after this manner they explain (w) Proverbs 5:8, ""remove thy way far from her", this is heresy; "and come not nigh the door of her house", , "this is the power". The emphasis of this sentence seems to lie in the word ordained; power and civil authority is not simply from God, as all other things are, but it is ordained by him. Romans 13:1-7 is treated as if it contains all that the New Testament has to say regarding the Christian attitude toward the state. Daniel knew life as an exile. There are other inferior powers, which are also of God, as parents, masters, &c.; but of these he doth not speak in this place. Whatever the persons in authority over us themselves may be, yet the just power they have, must be submitted to and obeyed. magistracy and authority: and he says, it is of God; he instituted the office, and he appointeth or permitteth the person that executes it. And though He instructed His children to give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, He never once deviated from His overriding life-principle, to give unto God the things that belong to God. Rebellion against the state is mutiny against both God and government, 1:2a. We do not follow a God of chaos, each doing whatever we want. Higher powers (ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις). But this still leaves the question open, whether in any particular case tribute is rightfully due or not. Again, "says (u) Rabban Gamaliel, , "take heed of the power" (i.e. The general principle will be seen to be, that we are to obey in all things which are not contrary to the Law of God. Romans 13:1-7 doesn’t give license to participate or support earthly governments by using the same methods that these governments do. Brent Kercheville May 23, 2010 Click here to listen to this lesson. Romans 13:1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the {powers} that be are ordained of God. Romans 13 is the thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. We are not to cherry-pick passages of which we approve and refuse to obey those we find difficult or offensive! The word used here does not designate the "extent" of the submission, but merely enjoins it in general. '', ""the horse leech hath two daughters, crying, give, give", Proverbs 30:15, it is asked, what is the meaning of give, give? Jesus had every right to rebel. (4) nor was the case much different with the "Gentile" converts. And yet as a general principle, the injunctions of the Apostle entirely hold good. It became, therefore, a question of great importance and difficulty, "what kind" of allegiance they were to render to earthly magistrates. A critical factor for biblical interpretation is context, context, context. What Does Romans 13:1 Mean? When the true meaning of Romans 13:1-7 is revealed, we understand Paul was writing, “To all who are in Rome, beloved of God, called to be saints.” (Romans 1:7) He was not writing to the general population of Rome. In Romans 13:6, 7, the terms that designate types of “tax” were common in the Greco-Roman world, but their precise meaning is not known today. Higher powers.—Authorities, i.e., magistrates, the abstract for the concrete. IMO. Let every soul; i.e. For - The apostle gives a "reason" why Christians should be subject; and that reason is, that magistrates have received their appointment from God. a. So far as His practice was concerned, our Lord pursued a course of simple obedience; into the theory of political or civil obligation He absolutely refused to enter. It would occur also very soon, in circumstances that would be very affecting and trying. Be subject - Submit. Therefore the tyranny of the pope over all kingdoms must be thrown down to the ground. Or if he was not wrong—and the verdict of mankind has generally justified his act—what are we to think of the language that is here used by St. Paul? The former chapter is called by some St. Paul’s ethics, and this his politics. It does not necessarily follow that precisely the same attitude is incumbent upon the Christian now. It is the magistrate quâ magistrate, not quâ just or unjust magistrate. for there is no power but of God; God is the fountain of all power and authority; the streams of power among creatures flow from him; the power that man has over all the creatures, the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field, and the fishes of the sea, is originally of God, and by a grant from him; the lesser powers, and the exercises of them, in the various relations men stand in to one another, are of God, as the power the husband has over the wife, parents over their children, and masters over their servants; and so the higher power that princes have over their subjects: for it is the God of heaven that sets up kings, as well as pulls them down; he is the King of kings, from whom they derive their power and authority, from whom they have the right of government, and all the qualifications for it; it is by him that kings reign, and princes decree justice. We live in a generation in which public opinion of those in political leadership is probably at an all time low. The road He took in His earthly walk was a lonely way of isolation, rejection, and derision. To them, and to those that are authorized by them, we must submit, for that is all one as if we did it to themselves, 1 Timothy 2:2 1 Peter 2:14. He has just forbidden taking vengeance and advocated treating with kindness those who mistreat us. What does this verse really mean? Lit., authorities which have themselves over. Chapter 12 concluded with Paul instructing Christians to not repay evil with evil. Romans 13:1-7, The Christian and Government. Whatever the circumstances of your life or the decisions made in the global corridors of earthly rule, God is firmly and eternally in control, both of your life and over the governments of the world, and He has scheduled a time when He will put all principalities and powers under His feet. The Church at Rome was largely composed of Jews, and these would naturally be imbued with the fanatical spirit of their countrymen. If the Christian is not to seek personal vengeance, it does not take away the government’s authority to punish wrongdoers. Texts such as Romans 13:1-7; 1 Peter 2:13-17; 1 Timothy 2:1-4; and Titus 3:1 … 13:1 St. Paul, writing to the Romans, whose city was the seat of the empire, speaks largely of obedience to magistrates: and this was also, in effect, a public apology for the Christian religion. We who are His children are also told to be of good cheer, for by His death and resurrection He has overcome the world, and although we will inevitably face difficulties and dangers in this fallen world, the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us - Praise His Holy Name. His informants at Rome may have told him of excitement prevailing among the Jewish portion of the community. There is no power.—It is strange that the Apostle seems to go almost out of his way to include even usurped and tyrannical power. Very similar language, it will be remembered, is found in 1Peter 2:13-17. There are a number of reasons for this, including what appears to many as a \"crisis in character.\" In any event, this is, generally speaking, the situation. They carried into the former sphere the fanaticism natural to the latter. Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. There may possibly be a conflict of rights and duties, and the lower may have to yield to the higher. It certainly doesn’t show obligation of the Christian to “protect their country” as many have taught. Yet in what cases this was to be done, where the line was to be drawn, was a question of deep importance, and one which was not easily settled. He wished to purify and to spiritualise their conception of the “Kingdom of Heaven,” which He came to found. With these feelings they had become Christians; and it was natural that their former sentiments should exert an influence on them after their conversion. (b) Be distributed: for some are greater, some smaller. A great example of this was the prophet Daniel. Romans 13:1-2New International Version (NIV) Submission to Governing Authorities 13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,for there is no authority except that which God has established. Vicit patiendo. Wesley's Notes for Romans 13:1. Clearly, the relations which our Lord assumed towards politics had especial reference to this attitude of the Jews. The principles for God’s empowerment of the state are found in Romans 13:1-5: Christians are to submit to the state, 1:1a. From exhorting the believers at Rome to a life of entire devotedness to God, and the various duties of brotherly kindness, the apostle now proceeds to inculcate upon them that subjection and obedience which they owed to their civil rulers, and those duties of justice and benevolence which were due from them to all men. But of God - By God's permission, or appointment; by the arrangements of his providence, by which those in office had obtained their power. The "principles" on which Christians should act are settled in this chapter. but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God—"have been ordained of God. By this, we are not to infer: Ro 13:1-14. The authorities that exist have been established by God. The powers that be - That is, all the civil magistracies that exist; those who have the "rule" over nations, by whatever means they may have obtained it. If Romans 13 does not mean "obey the State," what does it mean? For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. The answer, “Render to Cæsar,” &c., left matters precisely as they stood, for the real question was, “What was Cæsar’s, and what was not?” The ambiguity of the reply was intended. Romans 13:1 At the very least, Paul derived this from the example of Christ, who submitted to wicked and corrupt officials and authorities. there is no authority except that which God Himself has permitted, and the powers that exist do so by God's sovereign appointment. How does this passage show Paul’s confidence in the sovereignty* of God? Soon the hands of these magistrates were to be raised against Christians in the fiery scenes of persecution; and the duty and extent of submission to them became a matter of very serious inquiry. Breaking Down the Key Parts of Romans 13:1 #1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,” As already stated, the Father wants us to submit to him by submitting to those he has sovereignly put in authority over us. They refused to avail themselves of the elements of fanaticism which existed wherever there were Jews, and at the head of which they might easily have placed themselves. And it is observable, that the apostle speaks of powers, and not persons, at least, not of persons, but under the name of powers, to show that he means not this, or the other particular prince or magistrate, but the thing itself, the office and dignity of magistracy itself; for there may be some persons, who may of themselves usurp this office, or exercise it in a very illegal way, who are not of God, nor to be subject to by men. They would denounce the "religion" of the pagans as abomination; and as that religion was interwoven with the civil institutions, there was danger also that they might denounce the government altogether, and be regarded as opposed to the laws of the land. "Let every soul"-"The thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, according to J.W. We must always remember that the power of every government, whether good or ill, is delegated authority from heaven, and the Lord will often use the effectual fervent prayers of His committed saints to accomplish His plans and purposes, through the good or evil choices of human rule. Romans 13:1 Treasury of Scripture Knowing, Sacrifice and Offering (Easter Reflections - (9). For such is the will of God.. that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. In this sense, not only is the human system of society a part of the divinely-appointed order of things, but it partakes more especially in the divine attributes, inasmuch as its object is to reward virtue and to punish vice. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. of magistrates), for they do not suffer a man to come near them, but in necessity, and then they appear as friends for their own advantage, but will not stand by a man in the time of distress.''. As Robert Parham’s recent editorial, “Romans 13 Is Weak Proof-Text for Anti-Immigration Church Members,” illustrates, Romans 13 is often the go-to proof-text for urging compliance with and allegiance to government authority. Every soul: Thi… The whole pagan magistracy they regarded as founded in a system of idolatry; as opposed to God and his kingdom; and as abomination in his sight. Our attitude and actions are to be compliant to the higher powers without compromising the truth - we are to be as gentle as doves but as wise as serpents. There will always be a certain debatable ground within which opposite duties will seem to clash, and where general principles are no longer of any avail. And going back to the fountain-head of Christian doctrine, we find, indeed, no express statements, but several significant facts and some important intimations. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bond-slaves of God. The New Testament alludes to the state in diverse ways. For there is no power but from God: the powers that are, are ordained by God. I pray for the leaders and government of this nation and pray that You would expose and punish the evil-doers and being men and women of integrity to lead our country. that is, with a magistrate, which oftentimes is dangerous. I think the issue is crucial because there are many in our churches (many of us) who have not seriously and earnestly asked themselves: Am I more American than I am Christian? We sometimes feel that we are surrounded by evil leaders who seem to have an anti-God agenda and we find it difficult to understand why. Honour all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honour the king.". See on set under authority, Luke 7:8. The apostle here both uses the language, and speaks the sentiments of his countrymen the Jews, who are wont to call magistrates, "powers"; hence those sayings were used among them; says Shemaiah (t), "twvrl edwtt la, "be not too familiar with the power".''. We are not called upon to enter into the casuistry of the subject. Be subject: he doth not say, be obedient, but be subject; which is a general word, (as some have noted), comprehending all other duties and services. How far they should submit, if at all, to heathen magistrates, was a question of deep interest; and there was danger that the "Jewish" converts might prove to be disorderly and rebellious citizens of the empire. We sometimes feel that we are surrounded by evil leaders who seem to have an anti-God agenda and we find it difficult to understand why. Where the precept is appealed to, “Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” one man will say that the particular point in question comes under the first head, another that it comes under the second. Father, I thank You that You are in control of all that is happening in my life, throughout the world, and beyond. In the first place it should be noticed that though the duty of obedience is here stated without qualification, still the existence of qualifications to it is not therefore denied or excluded. In Romans 13, the first thing he says is, we are to submit to government. 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