Rom 13 Pt. 2
So am I getting ready to do my devotions. And todays passage is from Rom. 13. In light of what just happened "1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."
For my overseas friends who haven't been to the United States, what I am writing may seem odd to you. Some of you live in politically and religiously oppressive countries. I cannot grasp what you are going through, simply because I haven't done it myself. So my thoughts here may seem odd to you. Don't get me wrong. I still believe in our form of government, I still believe that the system works. I still believe that God has blessed this nation.
I also understand that life changes. The United States isn't the same as it was 50 years ago or 100 years ago. We have weather many changes, both good and bad over that time. I believe that whatever is about to happen, we will do so again. My concern comes from the heart of this matter. For the first time in it's history, The US is a post-Christian society. That means that our morals and values are no longer shaped by the framework of our faith. The same framework that shaped our nation over 200 years ago. It is that which bothers me more than anything else. I have never nor will I ever think that government is our Savior or the answer to our hopes. I see people today who do think that and know that they are going to be disappointed again as so many before them.
But Romans 13 was written in a pre-Christian world. Christianity hadn't taken ahold of culture and society as a whole yet. When Paul could have given the people permission to rebel against a Roman rule that came from the hands of blood thirsty men who honored a judicial system founded on idolatry. Instead he says, submit to it. Honor them, pay your taxes and respect them. While Jewish Christians had already been persecuted for their faith and Gentile Christians could see trouble coming their way too, Paul wanted them to communicate to the world that they were going to be the best citizens of the state that they could hope to have.
Tomorrow, what to do when authority crosses the line.