Romans Chapter 13

"Practical Application, Civil Relationships."

This Bible Study is written by Roger Christopherson, and it's transcription/ location is provided by http://www.theseason.org

Chapter thirteen deals with how we are to get along in our civil community. Here in America we are blessed to have the civil laws and civil authority that we have. We are citizens of the strongest nation on earth, with rights that are the envy of the world. We are a land of free people, and we have the right to worship and conduct our affairs as we please, in as much as they respect our neighbors.

We also are blessed in that those that are sick and unable to work can be provided for. This land was built on competition, and it becomes a mess when we single out a certain group and give them special favors over the population at large. When you get lazy and think in this light, you brainwash yourself and make yourself a second class citizen, and this in a way makes you a handicapped citizen.

So we will see in this chapter how we should act as a Christian under any form of government in this world.

Romans 13:1 "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."

"Every living soul [or person is to] be subject unto the higher powers", which means to be obedient to the laws of that governments. There is no power, or government on this earth that is in existence but that God has allowed it to exist for His purpose. Even the people of Esau, the Russian people under the Communistic rule, were allowed to serve a purpose in the plan of God, and to fulfill prophecy.

Every world empire from Babylon under Nebuchadnezzar to the final world religious government under Satan in his role as the Antichrist, are ordained or allowed by God. Why would this be? Because they are fulfilling the word of God in prophecy. If Nebuchadnezzar's reign had not existed, then there would have been no government to chastise the House of Judah, when God told the prophets ahead of time that they would be in captivity for seventy years.

Daniel wrote us the best example of what God is saying here in Romans. If you operate within the parameters of any civil law within a nation, then that nation must protect your rights for you, to do what it is that you do. As long as it is a legal profession or business. As a Christian we are to respect the authority of the land that we are in, whether as a citizen, or visitor.

Daniel was taken as a prisoner to the land of Babylon, and in a few short years he converted king Nebuchadnezzar and became the chief tax collector of the very land that he was captive in. Daniel was in charge of the affairs of the entire Babylonian empire, second only to the king. Why? Because Daniel respected the laws of God that governed civil authority. God's Word tells us that there is no government in existence that God did not allow to be in authority.

This is why Ezekiel could say; Libya will be doing this, and Russia would be doing that, and the government in Jerusalem will be doing such and such at the time of the end. God set the governing forces up in each nation, and He put the form of order that would rule. Some of these nations will have a negative purpose to God's plan and some will play a positive part in God's plan, which is His Word.

Paul is giving us a doctrinal lecture here as to how we are to get along in our community. We are given instruction in civil matters, as to how we are to conduct ourselves with regard to the laws of our land or the land that we are in. If you follow these instructions, God will bless you. Basically this rule given here works under all governments, especially in the free world.

If you obey the laws of the land, then the government of that land is obligated to protect your interest and all the rights that that government offers to it's citizens, or subjects if under a king. When a government exists over a people, that government is ordained by God, or God would cause it to be brought to an end. When a government rises it is ordained by God for a purpose, and when it falls, such as the Soviet Union falling in three days, it will be rebuilt in two weeks or whatever the time frame set by God.

Revelation 13:1-5 tells us of a beastly government that would rise and control the entire earth in the years just prior to the return of Jesus Christ. That government had two heads, a political head, which would rise first, followed by a religious head, or government that would rise up out of the fall of the political world wide government. That world government [United Nations] has just celebrated it's fiftieth birthday, yet most Christians today are blind to the how the United Nation fits into Bible Prophecy, as they rush to become part of that governments "World Council of Churches".

At God's appointed time the political part of this "end times political beast" will receive a mortal head wound, and simply cease to exist politically, only then will the religious beast come to power. The Antichrist [Satan] will rule over this government, and the entire world will consider it a joy to be part of that government, all that is except for God's Elect. God allows governments to exist, and even Satan will set up his government under the authority of God.

Romans 13:2 "Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation."

The "power" spoken of here is the "government", so when you resist the government authority you resist the ordinance that God put into that government. An "ordinance" is an institution, or instrument that God is using for His purpose. God uses all sorts of ordinances within governments to carry out the fulfillment of His Word. When He said the whole world would worship the Antichrist, and the Political power would prepare the way for the Religious government to follow, then what we see today is the fulfillment of God's prophecy, as the entire world becomes active under the United Nations agencies.

Though the entire world charges blindly in following this world government, God instructs His elect to become sealed in their minds, which is to know the signs of the times. We do that so that we would not be deceived by what is going on around us. The Political one world government will fall, and it will fall because that is the purpose written in God's Word. It will fall just as Russia fell and came to the free nation's of the world as a common beggar, as the book of Obadiah said it would.

Paul is saying in verse two that what is happening, is happening because God wants it to happen that way, He ordained it, and to resist that government you live under will bring judgment down on your own head. When you disobey the laws of any land, you find yourself in jail. What good can you do for God while in confinement? In the free world you can go there anytime as a free person, so why work against what God has instructed, and lose all of your blessings.

Romans 13:3 "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:"

The word "Rulers" covers from your local policeman on the beat, to the very top officials of government. They are not going to come against you as long as you do what is right. They will not harm anyone doing good, but they will when you do evil against your neighbor, or his land.

In the question, "Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power?" is directed to those doing evil, and they should be afraid. When you do good the government in power will not only praise you, but also protect you in your good work, as a good citizen. Then all the time you could be planting seeds of God's Word, and doing God's work.

We see through the uplink of satellite TV, and the transponders on those satellites above that our nation protects the rights of ministries to pierce the borders of all nations on earth. It protects the right of free speech to all, and allows the gospel to go forth. When one violates the laws that govern that right, then that right is taken from them. What is important is not whether we correct the system that has imperfections, but that we use the system for the advancement of God's Word.

In God's wisdom, He has allowed all systems of government to exist, and in His appointed time, those governments will be dissolved. As long as we follow the rules of the system we are in, we are granted the all rights of that system. We are to take advantage, with God's blessings, of what ever system of government you find yourself in.

Romans 13:4 "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."

Paul is saying that the policeman or any governmental official is a minister from God to you, for your good. They are servants of the people, for their protection. If you are doing things and stirring up matters that is against that government then be afraid, or that the government has the right to come down on you. There is a reason that the authority of the government and God has been placed on that official, for it is for the common good of all the people. Friend, that policeman is the minister of God, because God ordains the nation and all of the leaders.

When some outside force or person is a threat to your family or the peace of the community, then your government and its officials are to protect you, and they are to execute wrath on them that bring evil to the community. It is not you that carries out the judgments of the law, but the government. When the government refuses to execute those judgments, then God will remove those in charge, and in America it is done at the ballot box, or by the means spelled out in the laws of the land.

Though there are some negative cases, we in America are very fortunate to have the quality of policemen that we have, as well as the officials that run our governments. On the whole they are dedicated people that put their lives on the line daily, and commit themselves to giving us a land of peace and prosperity.

This is God's teachings and not ours. If you do something evil and against the law, then you are subjects to the punishment of that act of yours, by the law.

Romans 13:5 "Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake."

When you do what is right, by the law, you avoid the wrath that the breaking of the law brings. When you train your conscience as to what is right and wrong, then your conscience is your guide, and when there are not standards in place by Scriptural training, then the law of the land becomes the standard for what is right and wrong.

When you have uncivilized people, you have no law, no standards, no discipline, nor do they even know how to respect any law and order. Those uncivil people will amount to nothing until they find the Lord, and establish discipline and principles in their lives.

Romans 13:6 "For for this cause pay you tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing."

This spells out why we pay tribute, or taxes. You pay taxes to those ministers of government because the are the ones that attend continually to providing protection for you, and those citizens of the land. This applies to both the local and the national levels. We can see the policeman on the beat daily, but those other needs of protection, such as the bombers in a foreign land, or the submarines that haven't surfaced for the past two months, and only God and the president knows where they are, that is all part of the taxes you pay. Today it takes more then swords to protect a nation, and even the satellites in the heavens are part of our protection.

Taxes are used to keep sanity and safety in our nation. Our constitution guarantees us certain rights, and to obtain and maintain those right, it takes money. Today we call it "our fair share". If you don't care about rights or protections, there are many nations that have very little taxes, rights or protection. God is spelling out the fact that law and order costs money, and those living under that protection must pay the tribute, or taxes for that benefit. If you expect to live amongst civilized people, then be civilized. The law of whatever land you are in is God's law.

Romans 13:7 "Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour."

When Jesus was asked by the Pharisee hypocrites if they should pay tribute to Caesar or not, He responded to them in Matthew 22:21; "Then saith He unto them, "Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's."

It is time that we follow this verse, and do as our Lord has command us to do. This chapter is addressed to those that claim to be saved, and are a child of the living God, and Paul is addressing us in this issue in God's name. Paul is telling us to pay the tribute where it is due. To pay respect and honor to those given the authority over us, and to pay attention to the customs of the land that we call home or are visiting. We are to fear, or be alarmed and on guard of those where it is necessary for your own safety and protection.

When things are not as we feel it should be, according to God's Word, then we vote our conscience. When enough people vote their conscience the problem is corrected. When the people don't, then God gives them what they deserve in bad government, and evil officials. When we do it God's way then we will always have God's protection, and government ordained of God over us.

Romans 13:8 "Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law."

Don't owe a debt of brotherly love to anyone, but return that brotherly love that has been shown to you. This is not in reference to money here, but when your neighbor does you a favor in the kindness of his heart, be willing to return that favor with kindness. This deals with a Christian love shown to your fellow man. Jesus taught it in Matthew 22:37-40.

Matthew 22:37 "Jesus said unto him, "Though shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind."

Matthew 22:38 "This is the first and great commandment."

Matthew 22:39 "And the second is like unto the it, "Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself."

Matthew 22:40 "On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets."

Part of loving your neighbor is telling the truth, and facts as to whatever the the problem might be. When there is a conflict between you and the Word of God, the instructions written in His Word is what we are to follow.

Within the civil community we are to conduct ourselves in brotherly love towards those around us, and to be concerned for their well being and prosperity, just as we would have them treat us.

Romans 13:9 "For this, "Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false withness, Thou shalt not covet;" and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thy self."

Thou shalt no kill, in the Greek, means "criminal homicide"; in the Strong's Greek dictionary # 5407, "phoneuo, to murder, to be a murderer, [comes from # 5406]" In # 5406, "Phoneus, always a criminal act, intentional criminal homicide." You can't love your neighbor, and murder him.

Paul is saying here the exact same thing that Jesus taught in Matthew 22:37-40, and that is if there is any other law or commandment ever written, it could all be summed us in "Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself." If you love him as you love yourself, why would you ever steal something that belongs to him, or lie about him and slander his name, or even want to seek what is rightfully his? You would be happy for the success that he has achieved, or that new car that he has just bought, and you would be on the look-out when he is gone, to see that his property and animals were safe. Friend, this is all just using plain common sense as we live our lives. Neighbors pull together when there is a problem facing them.

Romans 13:10 "Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law."

If there is a binding in love and friendship between you and your neighbor, the thought of breaking the law against him would never enter your mind. That love and friendship would bind you as a brother to him. Love fulfills all of the law. It doesn't matter if that neighbor is a Christian, a Jew, or Islamic, God is telling us to learn to get along with him, and treat him as a brother, and show love and kindness towards him.

If it is not possible, then don't let that barrier come about on your part as a Christian.

Romans 13:11 "And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed."

"Knowing the time" is to know the season that you live in. The season of today is well established in the Word of God, from one end of the Scriptures to the other. We are in what the prophets called "the time of the end", and that is the season. Paul is saying that what ever time or season you live in, it is high time that you awake out of your sleep, and pay attention to the laws and neighbors around you. Remember the subject here is civil law, and our obedience to the laws of the land, it's officials, customs, and the honor and respect that is due it.

Our example for the season we are in was Daniel, an obedient servant to God, yet also serving well in the position that God placed him in. In the time of the end there will be another Babylon, "Mystery Babylon, the mother of harlots" the whole world will be living under that government. The ruler over that government will be Satan himself in his role as the Antichrist. When we are sealed in our minds with the entire world of God, they we know exactly how we are to live in that season that we are in.

Our salvation is closer when we first became believers, and to us living in the times of the end, we had better be aware of the sign and seasons of the prophecy that are written in His Word. We are in this world, and the governments of the world are ordained of God, for His purpose. Though we love our neighbors, and obey the laws of the land, those sealed in their minds with the Word of God, know that God will protect them no matter what government that they are under.

Romans 13:12 "The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light."

The prince of darkness is Satan, and the darkness that is in this world is all from Satan. We are to put off the darkness of this world, and put on the armor of light. That armor is of God, and it is love, faith, hope, charity, being a good neighbor, obeying the law, paying tribute or taxes as God commanded, and all the other things that God has instructed us to do.

The story goes that a man moved into a new neighborhood, and went over to one of his new neighbors and asked the old man, how are the neighbors in this new neighborhood? And the old man asked him, How were they were you came from? The new neighbor responded, great! So the old man responded, then they will be great here. If the new neighbor responded bad, then in the wisdom of the old man that also would have been the old man's response.

Your neighbors will be to you the way that you are to them. Putting on the armor of light, is to see and understand God's teaching on these matters, and making them part of your life. The governments on this earth are here for God's purpose, just as you have been placed in the world to serve God for the time that you are living here. In the eyes of God, all of His children are equal, and even though God is dealing with each differently, we are to love our neighbors. We show our obedience to God by showing love and respect to them, as God commanded, then He will in turn bring peace to our lives. The "works of darkness" then go against any of the works of the light that God tells us to do. This applies to civil matters, as well as our personal lives.

Romans 13:13 "Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying."

We are children of the light, not darkness, and we should be happy for people that are successful. When you treat others as you would have them treat you, that is walking honestly. "Rioting" is being out of control on civil matters, while "chambering" is your living out of control through your sexual life. "Wantonness" is just plain filthy living, and deals with everything from Sodomy to a wild and out of control life style. It involves everything that you do and say, and goes to the make up of your character.

"Not in strife and envy", means we are not to be quarrelsome with those around us. Don't allow others to place mental blocks in your mind. When lies are place in our minds they cause hatred between not only each of us, but extends to those that are not of our same race or religious persuasion. From strife and envy comes race warfare, class warfare, and all sorts of divisions that are just not according to God's Word. As one of God's elect, we are not to allow any form of strife and envy to bind our minds, but to live in peace and love with our neighbors, whom ever they might be.

When God blesses a member of the community then we are to be happy for them, for from their blessing many others will be blessed in return. We should make the blessed one be our example, and not envy him, for it will only bring unrest, and discontent to hold a grudge against that person. If you seek advice from someone, he is a good one to ask, and not the malcontent sitting on the corner wasting his life away, without a mission to their life.

We are one nation under God made up with many different peoples. Each person in the community has their own religious values, levels of economic wealth, and family values. God has established our nation and directed our leaders in the past to give us our constitution that we should govern ourselves by. Today there are many different groups that are trying to build barriers between the people of our land, and divide our government to were there will be only confusion. As Christians we are to separate ourselves from them, and have nothing to do with them. As a child of God and in His will, we are to be obedient to the laws of the land. When we see laws are not right and go against God's Word, then we must go through the lawful procedure to have them changed. If the people are to lazy to have them changed, or blind to what that law is doing, then they deserve to live under those laws.

Christians are to tell the truth, and live honestly with those neighbors around us, and who we come in contact with. By knowing the Word of God, we know the signs of the times, and we can prepare ourselves for those changes that will come.

It didn't matter what government was in charge to Daniel, for he was elevated in Nebuchadzzer's Babylonian empire that God compared to the Antichrist's rule of the end times. Then when that Babylonian kingdom fell, Daniel 6:28 says; "So this Daniel prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the Persian." Daniel followed the principles that God set forth by his knowing that all government is ordained by God. It didn't matter to Daniel who was in charge. God set the kingdoms up and He took them down, and it was all for His purpose. When Daniel followed God's Word, he prospered in Babylon, under the Mede and the Persian empires, even though all those governments were different. The principles Daniel followed was the rendering to God what is His, loving your neighbor, and honesty in all that you do, were his basics.

Romans 13:14 "But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof."

This doesn't mean that you are not to pay attention to security, or provision for your family, or even your retirement. Paul is warning us to put on Jesus Christ and get rid of that part of you that is harmful to you and gives in to your flesh nature that we all have. We all should strive to be perfect in the ways of the Lord, however don't be down on yourself when you fall short. That is the time to ask forgiveness to the heavenly Father, in Jesus' name, and set our lives right before the Lord.

Jesus Christ is the living Word, and we put on Jesus Christ by studying His Word, and placing it within our minds. When you put it on, you wear it, and it becomes your way of life. It goes where you go, and controls what you do and say. We are to study the teachings of Jesus, for in those teachings are the common sense things that we should use in dealing with our neighbor, planning the things we eat, bringing up children, and living a good life within our communities.

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