How should Christians relate to the government? In this sermon, Vince Finnegan works through Romans 13 to show how we should relate to the powers that be. Ultimately God is in charge of raising up and tearing down regimes and nations over the course of human history. Our goal is to love one another as examples of genuine faith rather than get overwhelmed with political concerns.
Romans 13:1 – In order to stay constantly living for God, we must have the right mindset and proper behavior in relationship to the kingdoms of this world.
Subjection is very common. Wives to husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24), children to parents (Ephesians 6:1-3), servants to masters [employees to employers] (Ephesians 6:5-8), younger to elders (1 Peter 5:5), and believers to church elders (Hebrews 13:17).
Husbands tell wives to worship. Parents tell children to steal. Employer tells employees to lie. Church leadership tells people to have sex. Government tells clerk about marriage licenses to homosexuals.
Daniel 3:18; Daniel 6:10; Acts 4:18-20; 5:29
Deuteronomy 13:4 Submission in human relationships is commanded, but never when it breaks God’s commandments. We must obey God rather than man.
Romans 13:2 If we do not submit to the laws of the government, we will be judged by those laws. By no means is God saying to us that worldly governments are holy or that their reign is equitable, fair, and right. Governments are a temporary necessity in this present evil age to maintain a semblance of order until God’s perfect Kingdom comes.
The main danger was that the early Christians would err in refusing submission, even when it was proper, rather than in undue conformity to idolatrous rites and ceremonies.
Daniel 2:21; 4:17, 26, 34, 35 By God’s permission or appointment, those in office obtain their power. God often claims and asserts that He sets up one and puts down another.
Romans 13:5 – The word “minister” could also be translated “servant” as it often is in other translations. Kings, presidents, governors are God’s servants just as Pharaoh, Nebuchadnezzar, and Cyrus were. They were not serving us because they understood God’s Word and believed it, but because God is almighty and the supreme ruler of the earth.
7 – Mark 12:15-17; Matthew 17:24-27
8 – God does not want us to owe anyone because indebtedness may place us in a compromising position to be controlled or influenced by someone other than Him.
Genesis 14:21-24 Abraham refused to be indebted to the king of Sodom when he was offered great wealth. Nor would he accept the land to bury Sarah without paying, so he remained free from obligation to anyone other than God
1 John 3:16; 4:11 – We all love because God loved us, and He commands us to love others.
Romans 13:12 – We are to maintain an awareness of the urgency of our times. Each day, we are one day closer to his return or our death, whichever comes first.
Ephesians 5:14-16 – We cannot afford to fall into a lackadaisical slumber and squander the time we could have with God.