For there is no power but from God: the powers that are, are ordained by God. There will always be a certain debatable ground within which opposite duties will seem to clash, and where general principles are no longer of any avail. (b) Be distributed: for some are greater, some smaller. that is, with a magistrate, which oftentimes is dangerous. As Robert Parham’s recent editorial, “Romans 13 Is Weak Proof-Text for Anti-Immigration Church Members,” illustrates, Romans 13 is often the go-to proof-text for urging compliance with and allegiance to government authority. Chapter 12 concluded with Paul instructing Christians to not repay evil with evil. All that is alleged is that, primâ facie, the magistrate can claim the obedience of the subject. He wished to purify and to spiritualise their conception of the “Kingdom of Heaven,” which He came to found. The road He took in His earthly walk was a lonely way of isolation, rejection, and derision. The "principles" on which Christians should act are settled in this chapter. The state has its authority from divine establishment, 1:1b. Whatever the circumstances of your life or the decisions made in the global corridors of earthly rule, God is firmly and eternally in control, both of your life and over the governments of the world, and He has scheduled a time when He will put all principalities and powers under His feet. Since Paul was addressing the saints at Rome, it is logical that he would instruct them to submit to those who look after their souls. The powers that be are ordained of God. (2) the kingdoms of the world were then "pagan" kingdoms. Since Paul was addressing the saints at Rome, it is logical that he would instruct them to submit to those who look after their souls . When the laws interfered with the rights of conscience; when they commanded the worship of idols, or any moral wrong, then it was their duty to refuse submission. This passage has been used to tell people they always have to obey the government. 13 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,(A)for there is no authority except that which God has established. Jesus had every right to rebel. Romans 13:1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the {powers} that be are ordained of God. Christians professed supreme allegiance to the Lord Jesus Christ; he was their Lawgiver, their Sovereign, their Judge. This is equally true at all times, that the powers that exist, exist by the permission and providence of God. Or if he was not wrong—and the verdict of mankind has generally justified his act—what are we to think of the language that is here used by St. Paul? They refused to avail themselves of the elements of fanaticism which existed wherever there were Jews, and at the head of which they might easily have placed themselves. Now that is a powerful verse. Romans 13:1 Treasury of Scripture Knowing, Sacrifice and Offering (Easter Reflections - (9). It became, therefore, a question of great importance and difficulty, "what kind" of allegiance they were to render to earthly magistrates. Romans 13 is the thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans in the New Testament of the Christian Bible. Be subject: he doth not say, be obedient, but be subject; which is a general word, (as some have noted), comprehending all other duties and services. Towards the civil power they maintained an attitude of absolute submission. He speaketh not here of the person, nor of the abuse, nor of the manner of getting into power, but of the thing itself, viz. Bible / Our Library / Bible Commentaries / Matthew Henry Commentary on the Whole Bible (Complete) / Romans / Romans 13; Share Tweet. And yet as a general principle, the injunctions of the Apostle entirely hold good. Clearly, the relations which our Lord assumed towards politics had especial reference to this attitude of the Jews. It is a reminder to be obedient to the … In this sense, not only is the human system of society a part of the divinely-appointed order of things, but it partakes more especially in the divine attributes, inasmuch as its object is to reward virtue and to punish vice. How does this passage show Paul’s confidence in the sovereignty* of God? In Romans 13, the first thing he says is, we are to submit to government. “It is necessary to the very being of society that vices destructive of it should be punished as being so—the vices of falsehood, injustice, cruelty—which punishment, therefore, is as natural as society; and so is an instance of a kind of moral government, naturally established, and actually taking place. For there is no power but of God: this is a reason of the foregoing injunction: q.d. Are we to say, for instance, that Hampden was wrong in refusing the payment of ship-money? There are other inferior powers, which are also of God, as parents, masters, &c.; but of these he doth not speak in this place. Romans 13 means, "Remember them which have the rule over you," as you will also find at Hebrews 13:7. 2. It is another thing to say that in a certain given case such conflict has arisen, and that the duty which commends itself to the individual is the higher of the two. But in the context, Paul is speaking about how believers are to live in love and to get along peaceably with all people. It may be said to be more distinctly and peculiarly derived from Him than other parts of the order of nature, inasmuch as it is the channel used to convey His moral approbation, or the reverse. And, lastly, He finally submitted to the civil power, as the instrument divinely employed to inflict upon Him those sufferings which were to be the cause of our redemption. When the didrachma was demanded of Him, which it was customary for the Jew to pay towards the repair and maintenance of the Temple, He, though as Lord of the Temple He claimed exemption, nevertheless, for fear of putting a stumbling-block in the way of others, supplied the sum required by a miracle. Are there times when a Christian should disobey government? The laws were made by pagans, and were adapted to the prevalence of paganism. Brent Kercheville May 23, 2010 Click here to listen to this lesson. So in Luke 12:11, Christ tells his disciples, they should be brought before magistrates and powers; it is the same word, and it is plain he means persons in power. For there is no power but of, God: the powers that be are ordained of God, Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. Romans 13:1-7 is treated as if it contains all that the New Testament has to say regarding the Christian attitude toward the state. Our attitude and actions are to be compliant to the higher powers without compromising the truth - we are to be as gentle as doves but as wise as serpents. Where the precept is appealed to, “Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” one man will say that the particular point in question comes under the first head, another that it comes under the second. Allen, contains what are perhaps the most important words ever written for the history of political thought." Wesley's Notes for Romans 13:1. When He was arrested by the civil power, and unjustly tried and condemned, our Lord made no resistance. 3. And it is observable, that the apostle speaks of powers, and not persons, at least, not of persons, but under the name of powers, to show that he means not this, or the other particular prince or magistrate, but the thing itself, the office and dignity of magistracy itself; for there may be some persons, who may of themselves usurp this office, or exercise it in a very illegal way, who are not of God, nor to be subject to by men. Breaking Down the Key Parts of Romans 13:1 #1 “Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities,” As already stated, the Father wants us to submit to him by submitting to those he has sovereignly put in authority over us. ... Romans 13:1(WBS) Verse Thoughts. We are not called upon to enter into the casuistry of the subject. Let every soul be subject to the supreme powers - … "Let every soul"-"The thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, according to J.W. Whether Christians were to acknowledge the laws of such kingdoms and of such men, was a serious question, and one which could not but occur very early. Those kingdoms had been generally founded in conquest, and blood, and oppression. Doubtless, he here intends also to repress the vain curiosity and agitation with which men are prone to inquire into the "titles" of their rulers; to guard them from the agitation and conflicts of party, and of contentions to establish a favorite on the throne. Rather, he was establishing the principle that we should all be subject to the higher powers, in spite of their faults and failings, because there is no authority except that which God Himself has permitted, and the powers that exist do so by God's sovereign appointment. Says Mar Ukba, there are two daughters which cry out of hell, and say in this world, give, give, and they are heresy, "and the civil power". One of the crucial issues before the church in America today is: Shall we be American with a pinch of religious flavoring? And there will be the further drawback, that in such cases the individual usually acts as judge in his own cause, where his conscience is pretty sure to be biased. Same Subject Continued—Political and Social Relations—Motives. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. The dominion of the Messiah was to be not a spiritual, but a literal dominion, in which they, as a people, were to share. Honour all men; love the brotherhood; fear God; honour the king.". Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. The principles for God’s empowerment of the state are found in Romans 13:1-5: Christians are to submit to the state, 1:1a. They would denounce the "religion" of the pagans as abomination; and as that religion was interwoven with the civil institutions, there was danger also that they might denounce the government altogether, and be regarded as opposed to the laws of the land. It is the magistrate quâ magistrate, not quâ just or unjust magistrate. The very mention of the Messiah would tend to fan their smouldering passions into flame. The order of magistracy is of God; it is of his ordination and appointment, and of his ordering, disposing, and fixing in its proper bounds and limits. Yet the Jews had long been under Roman oppression, and had borne the foreign yoke with great uneasiness. At the same time, the Apostle may very well have had a special as well as a general object. of magistrates), for they do not suffer a man to come near them, but in necessity, and then they appear as friends for their own advantage, but will not stand by a man in the time of distress.''. And, since the certain natural course of things is the conduct of Providence or the government of God, though carried on by the instrumentality of men, the observation here made amounts to this, that mankind find themselves placed by Him in such circumstances as that they are unavoidably accountable for their behaviour, and are often punished and sometimes rewarded under His government in the view of their being mischievous or eminently beneficial to society.” In other words, the machinery of civil society is one of the chief and most conspicuous instruments by which God carries out His own moral government of mankind in this present existence. 3. God invented and devised this order, that some should rule, and others obey; and he maintaineth and upholdeth it. Here the individual conscience must assume the responsibility of deciding which to obey. Yahuwah has never commanded anyone to obey human law in violation of divine law. (1) Every soul.—A Hebraism for “every person,” though at the same time here, as in Romans 2:9, there is a slight stress upon the fact that man is a conscious and intelligent being, capable of moral relations, and it is especially with reference to these relations that the phrase is used. Not only so, but when resistance was made on His behalf, He rebuked the disciple who had drawn the sword for Him. Be subject - Submit. The Apostle would be aware of this. 13:1-7 The grace of the gospel teaches us submission and quiet, where pride and the carnal mind only see causes for murmuring and discontent. It discharges the same functions that God himself discharges, though in a lower scale and degree. This clause is attested and illustrated by Proverbs 8:15 Daniel 4:32 John 19:11. In the first verse of the foregoing chapter the body was put for the whole man; here, the soul; and when he says every person, it is plain that ecclesiastical persons are not exempted. The exceptions to this principle are few and far between. Let us never forget that it is the Lord Most High Who remains ruler over the realm of mankind... and He uses each one to forward His perfect purpose and plan. If Romans 13 does not mean "obey the State," what does it mean? He is, however, evidently speaking of the magistracy in its abstract or ideal form. Vicit patiendo. Romans 13:1 At the very least, Paul derived this from the example of Christ, who submitted to wicked and corrupt officials and authorities. God and the state will punish those who violate law, 1:2b. Paul shifts subjects with no transition or introduction. The Lord Jesus was the perfect example of a Man who subjected Himself to the established earthly authorities. 2. At first glance, Romans 13:1-7 may seem to be out of context. The apostle here both uses the language, and speaks the sentiments of his countrymen the Jews, who are wont to call magistrates, "powers"; hence those sayings were used among them; says Shemaiah (t), "twvrl edwtt la, "be not too familiar with the power".''. It is one thing to say that a conflict of duties may arise, and that the higher is to be obeyed. We live in a generation in which public opinion of those in political leadership is probably at an all time low. Although Paul undoubtedly changes topics at 13:1, the thematic links between 13:1-7 and 12:9-21 are difficult to ignore. Their religious hopes took a political form. On another occasion, when a question was asked as to the legitimacy of the Roman tribute, He replied in words already quoted, “Render to Cæsar the things which are Cæsar’s, and to God the things which are God’s.” And, lastly, when appeal was made to Him to settle a disputed inheritance, He refused, saying to His petitioner, “Man, who made Me a judge or a divider over you?” Here we have really the key to the whole question. Lit., the existing. (3) Another argument of great force: because God is author of this order: so that those who are rebels ought to know that they make war with God himself: and because of this they purchase for themselves great misery and calamity. for there is no power but of God; God is the fountain of all power and authority; the streams of power among creatures flow from him; the power that man has over all the creatures, the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field, and the fishes of the sea, is originally of God, and by a grant from him; the lesser powers, and the exercises of them, in the various relations men stand in to one another, are of God, as the power the husband has over the wife, parents over their children, and masters over their servants; and so the higher power that princes have over their subjects: for it is the God of heaven that sets up kings, as well as pulls them down; he is the King of kings, from whom they derive their power and authority, from whom they have the right of government, and all the qualifications for it; it is by him that kings reign, and princes decree justice. His intent is to explain the good news of Jesus Christ in accurate and clear terms. Every soul: Thi… The whole pagan magistracy they regarded as founded in a system of idolatry; as opposed to God and his kingdom; and as abomination in his sight. Let every soul be subject to the higher powers. Whether it was the cities of Babylon, Rome, Greece, or the nation into which we ourselves have been born, God is in control, "for there is no power but of God and the powers that be, are ordained by God.". This the Christian religion clearly taught; and in cases like these, it was indispensable for Christians to take a stand. This does not mean that he "originates" or causes the evil dispositions of rulers, but that he "directs" and "controls" their appointment. His informants at Rome may have told him of excitement prevailing among the Jewish portion of the community. The powers that be - That is, all the civil magistracies that exist; those who have the "rule" over nations, by whatever means they may have obtained it. "Romans 13:1-6 Subjection to magistrates enforced.Romans 13:7 We must render to all their dues,Romans 13:8-10 only love is a debt we must always owe, and virtuallycontaineth the whole law.Romans 13:11-14 Rioting, drunkenness, and other works of darknessmust be put away, as much out of season under the gospel. What are we to understand by this? The New Testament alludes to the state in diverse ways. And though He instructed His children to give unto Caesar the things that are Caesars, He never once deviated from His overriding life-principle, to give unto God the things that belong to God. Whatever the persons in authority over us themselves may be, yet the just power they have, must be submitted to and obeyed. Daniel knew life as an exile. Father, I thank You that You are in control of all that is happening in my life, throughout the world, and beyond. Despite the polices of politicians, the regulations of religious leaders, and the dictates of both national and international dignitaries under whom we are currently placed, we have an assurance from the authoritative Word of God, that He is in control and has authorised every authority to carry out His eternal plan and purpose - so that CHRIST is ALL, and CHRIST will be ALL and in ALL. What Does Romans 13:1 Mean? *The correct ex-pression is “the Lord God omnipotent reigneth” Revelation 19:6. Generally speaking, human government serves to rein in and punish those who do evil. (a) Indeed, though an apostle, though an evangelist, though a prophet; Chrysostom. (6) in the "changes" which were to occur in human governments, it would be an inquiry of deep interest, what part Christians should take, and what submission they should yield to the various laws which might spring up among the nations. For - The apostle gives a "reason" why Christians should be subject; and that reason is, that magistrates have received their appointment from God. This subjection must be limited only to lawful things; otherwise, we must answer as they did, Acts 4:19: or as Polycarpus did; when he was required to blaspheme Christ, and swear by the fortune of Caesar, he peremptorily refused, and said: We are taught to give honour to princes and potentates, but such honour as is not contrary to true religion. Paul was not claiming that earthly governments must be obeyed because they are good or trustworthy. 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