Romans 13: Respecting Authority

If all power to rule exists with God’s permission, how do we explain the rise of tyrants like Adolph Hitler?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Jeremiah 27:5 With my great power, I reached out and created Earth and all its creatures, both animals and people. I decided who would rule.
John 19:11 “You would have no authority over me at all if it had not been given to you from above. Therefore, those who delivered me to you are guilty of the greater wrong.”
Romans 13:1 Respect governing authorities and their laws, because all power to rule exists with God’s permission.
King James
Jeremiah 27:5 I have made the earth, the man and the beast that are upon the ground, by my great power and by my outstretched arm, and have given it unto whom it seemed meet unto me.
John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.
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.

When is it time to obey God and not men?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Daniel 6:7 “All the governors, captains, and administrators have met with consultants to establish this royal statute and agree that you should make it the law of the land. For the next thirty days, no one is to pray to any god or man other than you, O king, or they will be thrown into the den of lions.
Daniel 6:10 Daniel knew the edict had been signed, he went still left his windows open toward Jerusalem and knelt before God to pray three times a day, just as he had before.
Acts 5:29 “We are compelled to obey God, not men,” Peter said, and the rest of the apostles agreed.
Romans 13:2 When people rebel against the authority that God has ordained, they will receive God’s judgment.
King James
Daniel 6:7 All the presidents of the kingdom, the governors, and the princes, the counsellors, and the captains, have consulted together to establish a royal statute, and to make a firm decree, that whosoever shall ask a petition of any God or man for thirty days, save of thee, O king, he shall be cast into the den of lions.
Daniel 6:10 Now when Daniel knew that the writing was signed, he went into his house; and his windows being open in his chamber toward Jerusalem, he kneeled upon his knees three times a day, and prayed, and gave thanks before his God, as he did aforetime.
Acts 5:29 Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.
Romans 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Why should we respect authorities, even if they are wrong?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Exodus 22:28 You must never say God is evil or speak against the ruler of his people.
1 Samuel 24:5–6 Later, David regretted having cut off Saul’s skirt.
1sa 24:6 He said to his men, “I should never have done this to my master. Since he is God’s anointed, I am sorry to have raised my hand against him.”
Acts 23:5 “I am sorry,” Paul said. “If I had known he was the high priest, I would have held my peace, for Scripture says, You must never say God is evil or speak against the ruler of his people.
Romans 13:3–4 The police come to correct wrongdoing, so you don’t have to fear them, not if you are doing good. You will earn their praise. Their duty is to protect and serve. But if you do wrong, they come with their guns for good reason. They are God’s helpers to bring judgment upon those who do evil.
King James
Exodus 22:28 Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.
1 Samuel 24:5–6 And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. And he said unto his men, The Lord forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the Lord’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the Lord.
Acts 23:5 Then said Paul, I wist not, brethren, that he was the high priest: for it is written, Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.
Romans 13:3–4 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: 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.

How do tax cheaters justify their actions?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 13:6 Pay taxes for the same reason—to support the public servants who maintain peace and order.
King James
Romans 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Why do you think Christians are notoriously bad about tipping restaurant servers?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 13:7 Live with integrity. Pay all the taxes you owe. Be sure your bills are paid when they are due. Respect the rights of others, and honor those who do well.
King James
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.

Why is it good to avoid debt?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 6:16 Don’t you know that you are a slave to whatever you obey? Either you serve sin and will die, or you serve God in complete obedience, choosing to do what is, to the best of your knowledge, most pleasing to him.
Romans 13:8 Have no outstanding debts except to love one another, for this is the fulfillment of the law.
King James
Romans 6:16 Know ye not, that to whom ye yield yourselves servants to obey, his servants ye are to whom ye obey; whether of sin unto death, or of obedience unto righteousness?
Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

How is obeying God’s commandment to love better than keeping the Law?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 13:9–10 All of God’s commandments—to not covet—to avoid lying, cheating and stealing—to never commit adultery or murder—all these are fulfilled in one simple act of obedience: Love your neighbor as much as you love yourself. Love never wishes harm upon someone, which explains why love is the fulfillment of the law.
King James
Romans 13:9–10 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

Why does what we say not always match what we do?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 13:11 It’s about time you wake up and practice what you say you believe, for your day of accountability will soon come.
King James
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.

What must we do to see the dawn of righteousness in our lives?

Author’s Thoughts
Authors’s insights pending.
Author’s Paraphrase
Romans 13:12–14 The night is almost over, and then comes the dawning of a new day. So put away the evils that people do under the cover of night, and exercise righteousness, which we see in the light of day. Stay away from wild parties, drunkenness, and sexual immorality. Don’t be jealous or become a part of malicious quarreling. Adopt the same kind of behavior that we have seen in our Lord Jesus Christ. Desiring to please God and caring so much for others, you have no thought of satisfying your selfish desires.
Philippians 3:13 Friends, I haven’t figured everything out yet, but I know one thing: the past needs to be forgotten so I can focus on doing better in the future.
James 4:8 Move closer to God, and he will move closer to you. Wash your hands of wrongdoing and purify your hearts with good motives. Don’t live a double-life, but have a single focus upon what the Lord wants.
1 John 3:2–3 Beloved, we may be God’s children, but we don’t yet know what we will become. But the more of him we see, the more we’ll want to be like him, for we shall see how great he really is. Those with hope in Christ should strive to be without sin just as he is.
King James
Romans 13:12–14 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. Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.
Philippians 3:13 Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,
James 4:8 Draw nigh to God, and he will draw nigh to you. Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded.
1 John 3:2–3 Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it doth not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when he shall appear, we shall be like him; for we shall see him as he is. And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.