Paul told us in Romans 12 that we were not to seek personal revenge. This chapter tells us that it is the job of the authorities who are in control to bring judgment. God places people in control and God ordains that there be governing authorities to be in control. Therefore it is our job as Christians to submit to authority.
“Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)
Ouch! There are a lot of people in our world today who do not agree with this concept. If they do not like the way the governing authorities act, they think that they can just denounce the governing authority. We truly must not mistake though that sometimes the governing authorities are put in place for blessing and sometimes it is to bring about judgment. When Paul wrote this letter to the Romans they were not under a democracy and the government there was not necessarily a friend to Christians. However, Paul still wanted the Romans to recognize that their job when it came to government was to submit to government and that not submitting brings judgment on themselves. Paul also says in this passage if you do what is right and you should be good.
“For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended.” (Romans 13:3)
This is not to say that there are not crooked people in authority or that everyone who has authority is handling things right. But what it is to say is that it is our jobs to handle ourselves. God can bring his own kind of judgment down on the one who is doing wrong and don’t you doubt for a minute that he certainly will.
So what do we do with all the unrest and the hate and the rhetoric of today. The same thing Paul told the Romans to do.
“Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for whoever loves others has fulfilled the law. (Romans 13:8)
We are supposed to love others. No matter if we agree with everything they say or not. We are to love. Even when we can’t understand their side of the story. We are to love. Even when we don’t like their side of the story. We are to love. If we love our fellow man and woman, then the rest will fall into place. You can’t do wrong to your neighbor if and when you are operating out of love.
Love does no harm to a neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law. (Romans 13:10)
Paul is ending this chapter stating that he believes the hour is nearer for salvation than “when we first believed.” And while thousands of years has passed since he wrote this it definitely still holds true simply because of the passage of time. I keep hearing people prophesying that we are in the end times and it is drawing near. Make no mistake every breath you take gets us one breath closer to end times. Every breath we take gets us one breath closer to death. But while God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are one and they share the same thoughts and the same actions. Jesus told us himself that only God knows when that time will happen. (Matt. 24:36)
“Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the flesh. (Romans 13:14)
I just want to live as close to Jesus as I possibly can every single day so that He is as close to me as the clothes on my body so that I will walk in the right. That is my desire.
Oh lord, teach us the way we should walk. When we get frustrated with the governing authorities in our life, remind us that you put them there and that you will handle that. Show me how to love my neighbor so as to not even consider doing wrong to him. Clothe me in your love today Lord Jesus and I will let you worry about tomorrow!