-Paul continues his remarks on the Christian life with a treatise on being subject to governing authorities in individuals’ lives. First, he makes it clear that these authorities have been instituted by God and those who resist these authorities resist what God has appointed (Romans 13:1-2). Those who rebel against their Divinely ordained governance will incur judgment and should be afraid of dire consequences. If we obey the laws of the land given by the authorities over us we will receive approval since these leaders are the Lord’s servants for our good (Romans 13:3-4). For the sake of a good conscience then, we must be in subjection to them as the Lord desires (Romans 13:5). This even applies to paying taxes; we are to give revenue to whom revenue is owed, to respect those to whom respect is owed, and to honor whom honor is owed (Romans 13:6-7). *Application* Jesus said, “render to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s (Matthew 22:21, Mark 12:17, Luke 20:25).” This is a tough pill for us to swallow just a day after the taxes have been raised in our land following the deal to avert falling of the fiscal cliff. The fact remains that we are in subjection to those God places in power. Paul lived in time that was even more repressive than our current state, if you can believe that. Yet he wrote inspired words to tell us our biblical responsibility in attitude and practice towards our leaders. As tough as it seems, we must remember to show respect and honor and obedience to the rulers of our land even when we may be opposed to their policies in principle. God has given us this command they we may be approved (Romans 13:3).
-Therefore, we are to owe no one anything, except to love one another, which fulfills the Law (Romans 13:8-10). Love does no wrong to a neighbor, which gives perpetual goodness and overcomes evil (Romans 12:21). *Application* When tempted to complain and be bitter, remember to love and let God’s grace fill your heart, especially towards your fellow man.
-Paul in his last paragraph of this chapter offers us a wakeup call from our slumber. The day is at hand for us to put on the “armor of light” and to “walk properly as in the daytime (Romans 13:11-13).” The author then gets specific as to what we need to put off which are: orgies (carousing, revelry, excessive feasting), drunkenness, sexual immorality (promiscuity, fornication, adultery, homosexuality, etc.), sensuality (licentiousness, debauchery, insolence, disrespect), quarreling, and jealousy (Romans 13:13). Instead we are to “put on” the Lord Jesus Christ through His Holy Spirit and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires (Romans 13:14). *Application* When the Light comes in the darkness has to flee. In the same way, when we wake up to Christ and live in Him, the deeds of flesh should vanish from our thoughts, words, and actions. The Spirit-filled life is what we are talking about here. Christ is the only one who can give us ultimate victory over these temptations and sins that attempt to beset us. Rely on His power to overcome!
Verses to Memorize- Romans 13:10, 14