Passage: Romans 13:1-7
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
“The universal call to submit to authority touches the root of our corruption. Everyone is a sinner, and every sin is an act of revolt against authority. If we respected the authority of God perfectly, we would never sin. Sin is a refusal to submit to the governing authority of God himself and God knows that about us. If we are not willing to submit to God, it is more difficult to submit to the police department, the government, and other authorities that rule over us. It is the duty of every Christian to be in subjection to the authorities.” – R.C. Sproul
Point 1: All authority is under God’s control
- Dan 4:17 – … to the end that the living may know that the Most High rules the kingdom of men and gives it to whom he will and sets over it the lowliest of men.’
- Jer 27:6 (43:10) – 6 Now I have given all these lands into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, my servant
- Isa 44:28 – who says of Cyrus, ‘He is my shepherd, and he shall fulfill all my purpose’; saying of Jerusalem, ‘She shall be built,’ and of the temple, ‘Your foundation shall be laid.'”
- John 19:11 (to Pilate) – 11 Jesus answered him, “You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above.
Point 2: If you resist authority God has established you ultimately resist God (v. 2)
- Rom 13:2 —“Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed and those who resist will incur judgment.”
Point 3: Government is established to to reward the good and punish the wicked (v.3-4)
- Rom 13:3-4 – For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.
- 1 Peter 2:13-14 – Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.
- John 6:38 – For I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me.
- John 11:5-10 – Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. 6 So, when he heard that Lazarus was ill, he stayed two days longer in the place where he was. 7 Then after this he said to the disciples, “Let us go to Judea again.” 8 The disciples said to him, “Rabbi, the Jews were just now seeking to stone you, and are you going there again?” 9 Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. 10 But if anyone walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him.”
- John 11:16 – So Thomas, called the Twin, said to his fellow disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.”
- Matt 26:39 – And going a little farther he fell on his face and prayed, saying, “My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless, not as I will, but as you will.”
- Matt. 26:52-54, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword. Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father, and he will at once send me more than twelve legions of angels? But how then should the Scriptures be fulfilled, that it must be so?”