Romans 13, Authority, godly love, godly behavior, put on armor and Christ
- God designed the principle of authority for the benefit of creation. Every authority governs by God’s placement or permission. This passage sets the principle of submission to authority, and omits exceptions. We are to obey governing authorities. But if there is a conflict between human authority and God’s authority, Peter and others said that we must obey God rather than man (Exodus 1.15-22; Daniel 3.8-18; 6.1-28; Acts 4.19-20; 5.27-29; Romans 13.1-2).
- Romans 13 gives three fundamental statements about authority: 1. The ruling authority is God’s servant, whether the ruler recognizes it or not; 2. The governing authority is supposed to punish evil behavior and promote good behavior; 3. We obey rightful authority because it is the right thing to do (conscience sake) and because disobedience can bring punishment (brings wrath, Romans 13.3-5).
- Jesus taught that there are two areas of obligation—to God and to Caesar (Matthew 22.15-22; Mark 12.13-17; Luke 20.19-26). We owe obedience and taxes to “Caesar.” God wants us to pay taxes because taxes pay the governing authorities to work. We owe godly love to our neighbor because godly love to our neighbor fulfills God’s moral laws for society which protect and bless society, and reflects God’s love to people (Romans 13.6-10).
- The return of Jesus Christ for his church and then to finalize human history is now closer than when we believed the gospel. Therefore, Paul emphasizes six things to do: 1. wake up to Christian living, 2. put off sinful deeds and habits, 3. put on the spiritual armor for protection, 4. behave properly, 5. put on the character of the Lord Jesus Christ, and 6. do not put yourself in situations where you might sin. We can summarize all six as keep spiritually alert and become more Christ-like (Romans 13.11-14).