Studies In The Book Of Romans
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1. Was it God’s design that there be rulers among men?
Yes: “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. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 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” (Romans 13:1-3).
Submissiveness is an attribute spiritually minded people should not have a problem with (Ephesians 5:21).
We are to be in subjection to civil authorities (IPeter 2:13-16 and Titus 3:1-2).
We should not be minded to oppose government in itself (Jude 8).
Having said all of that, we cannot obey men over God (Acts 5:29).
Moreover, we have to understand that our motive in obeying civil authority is not to be pleasers men (Galatians 1:10), but to be able to stand before men without offense (Matthew 17:24-27).
Thus, the whole point is, we are to live above reproach (IPeter 4:12-16).
God put authority in the hands of men, some specifically, others through the fact that God allows civil authority (cf. Daniel 5:18 and John 19:11).
Rulers are supposed to exercise judgment in carnal matters (Deuteronomy 25:1).
Christians, in matters against each other, should not use these civil authorities to settle disputes (ICorinthians 6:1-8).
2. Does God approve of rulers executing judgment among men?
Yes: “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” (Romans 13:3-4).
Rulers are SUPPOSED to be against evil (Proverbs 14:35 and Proverbs 20:2).
Doing good SHOULD keep us out of trouble (IPeter 3:9-13).
HOWEVER, the Lord also tells us that sometimes justice [of men] is not so just (Matthew 10:16-18 and Acts 12:1-2).
Be mindful that God has given the authority for rulers to execute judgment (Proverbs 16:14-15, Proverbs 20:8, and Proverbs 20:26).
3. Do we need to be in subjection to rulers?
Yes: “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake” (Romans 13:5).
We addressed this already in verses 1-3.
One additional thought we see here though is that our subjection need not only be for fear of wrath, but also for our own conscience sake (Acts 24:16, IPeter 2:19-20, and IPeter 3:15-18).
4. If rulers impose taxes, fines, or fees; must we pay them?
Yes: “For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour” (Romans 13:6-7).
Pay taxes and dues (Luke 20:21-25).
Honor and fear (Proverbs 24:21 and IPeter 2:17).
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