Study from God’s Word… Romans, Chapters 12 - 16 … Passage for Reflection: Romans 13: 1-2 … NIV 1 Let everyone be subject 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, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
My Journal for Today: After reading/studying through the first 11 chapters of Paul’s epistle to the Romans, Paul gives them (and us) the basics of Christian theology. But then, the Apostle shifts gears in the later chapters of his epistle, giving the Roman Christians (and all of us in God’s word) some very practical lessons in how to apply God’s truth to our lives in this world. And some of those truth teachings can be pretty hard to handle; and, I believe, none more that today’s highlight text on being submitted to earthly governments.
Maybe you don’t have trouble applying Romans 13; but at times I do; and Dr. Smith, in his devotional for today points to some of the questions I have had. I can certainly buy into the concept of God being sovereign in His omniscience and omnipotence. I can see that God has plans for mankind that we may not be able to grasp at any given time (that’s the truth of Isaiah 55: 8-9. But when we read Romans 13, how do we even remotely grasp and apply these truths when we see governments established (by God’s sovereignty and providence) involving totally anti-God agents like Hitler, Stalin, or Idi Amin, let alone jokers leading countries these days like Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the current and absolutely despicable President of Iran.
Yes, I can see how God, in history, used tyrants like Pharaoh, in the time of Moses, or misguided fools like Pilate, who were providentially used by God for His plan of deliverance of God’s people and the salvation of mankind. But … but … but …; am I to say that my God actually and providentially installed governments which are so radically opposed to any God, let alone the God who went to the cross to redeem us from ourselves?
Talk about a difficult word. But Jesus declared (in Mark 12: 17), “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” which I know includes taxes, humble service, and yes, even the honor Caesar is due as the duly installed and providentially established government of God. But does that mean I’m to be subservient to a government requiring me to follow unGodly laws? … Well, there’s where the submission to government authorities ends and our allegiance to God stands forth. Even Jesus said that, though we are to honor our parents, who gave us birth or are the God ordained leaders of our homes, when it comes to the hierarchy of authority, we’re to look to God first, even if it means turning away from the allegiance we have to our parents [see Matt. 10: 37].
In other words, when it comes to dealing with governments and human governing authority, we are to give them their due as far as they give honor to the God Who gave them the power they have. But when those authorities, even parents, misuse or abuse that authority and set forth rabid, anti-God policies, rules, or laws, it is our given allegiance to follow God even if it means standing against the laws or rules of man.
How we exercise such judgment and application of truth will determine how we interact and honor (or dishonor) the God-established government under which we currently serve. Personally, I hate to see some of the policies being set forth by our current government; but IF I don’t see CLEARLY that these policies are unGodly, I will – according to God’s truth in Romans 13 - honor the laws of our President, Congress, and Judges. That’s God’s way; so it should be mine.
My Prayer for Today: Tough word today, Lord; but it’s Your truth; and I will follow it. Amen