Let every person be subordinate to the higher authorities, for there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1 NABRE
Paul writing to the community of Rome expects Christians to be exemplary citizens. Paul declares that God is the only authority and any secular authority is given their authority by God. This idea carried over from the Hebrew Scriptures where God wields the sovereign power to raise up kings and to remove them, to plant nations as well as pluck them up. God uses earthly empires and potentates, good and evil alike, as instruments to accomplish his purposes in history. So Paul would say submitting to public officials is part of our service to God. It is true that authorities over step their bounds, but Paul speaking in general terms believes leaders will act in the interest of the public good. We see this is not always the case, particularly when power comes with money, but trusting God as the highest authority and knowing God uses suffering to gain followers and growing individual disciples, we are still to honor secular leaders. Paul goes so far as to say every person, Christian’s as individuals must submit to legitimate authority. Secular leaders have a legitimate, though not absolute, claim on our honor and obedience that, at least in principle, is not in competition, with the Christian message that Jesus is Lord of all. Writing that authority comes from God, Paul is saying that civil governments are a divine institution with a divine origin.
For the Christian we must be civilly obedient. We might cringe reading this civil submission, because Paul attaches no qualifications to this message. But always we must obey God rather then men (Acts 5:29.)
Do you believe civil leaders are divinely ordained? Do you trust your leaders?For the Christian we must be civilly obedient. We might cringe reading this civil submission, because Paul attaches no qualifications to this message. But always we must obey God rather then men. Click To Tweet
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