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God’s Rules for Our Relationship with Government

Devotional Notes Romans 13
B1 What does this mean?
C1 God’s Rules for Our Relationship with Government
D1 God sets up and brings down who will be the leader. Some leaders are relatively good and some evil. God has delegated them to be the government leader. If they lead according to God’s desires, there is blessing. If they don’t lead God’s way, there is trouble and curse. You can see the contrast in the examples below.
E1 King Nebuchadnezzar: Daniel 4:29-32 GNB Only twelve months later, while he was walking around on the roof of his royal palace in Babylon, 30 he said, “Look how great Babylon is! I built it as my capital city to display my power and might, my glory and majesty.”31 Before the words were out of his mouth, a voice spoke from heaven, “King Nebuchadnezzar, listen to what I say! Your royal power is now taken away from you. 32 You will be driven away from human society, live with wild animals, and eat grass like an ox for seven years. Then you will acknowledge that the Supreme God has power over human kingdoms and that he can give them to anyone he chooses.”
E2 The Exodus Pharaoh
F1 Exodus 5:2 NIV Pharaoh said, “Who is the LORD, that I should obey him and let Israel go? I do not know the LORD and I will not let Israel go.
F2 Exodus 14:27-28 NLT So as the sun began to rise, Moses raised his hand over the sea, and the water rushed back into its usual place. The Egyptians tried to escape, but the LORD swept them into the sea. 28 Then the waters returned and covered all the chariots and charioteers–the entire army of Pharaoh. Of all the Egyptians who had chased the Israelites into the sea, not a single one survived.
E3 King David: Acts 13:22 NLT But God removed Saul and replaced him with David, a man about whom God said, ‘I have found David son of Jesse, a man after my own heart. He will do everything I want him to do.’
E4 King Josiah: 2 Kings 23:25 NLT Never before had there been a king like Josiah, who turned to the LORD with all his heart and soul and strength, obeying all the laws of Moses. And there has never been a king like him since.
E5 Each one died, but there was a difference.
D2 Verse 2, we obey their rules unless it contradicts God’s rules. Then we obey God’s rules regardless. Acts 5:27-29 NLT Then they brought the apostles before the high council, where the high priest confronted them. 28 “Didn’t we tell you never again to teach in this man’s name?” he demanded. “Instead, you have filled all Jerusalem with your teaching about him, and you want to make us responsible for his death!” 29 But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.
D3 Our attitude towards government is found in Hebrews 13:14 NLT for this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come.
D4 Verse 6, we are to pay taxes. Matthew 22:21 LEB They said to him, “Caesar’s.” Then he said to them, “Therefore give to Caesar the things of Caesar, and to God the things of God!
D5 We are not to be revolutionaries overthrowing the government. We are to preach Christ and His gospel. If they believe, society will be changed and peaceful.
D6 A comment from one church father: Justin Martyr (Apology 1: 17) writes, “Everywhere, we, more readily than all men, endeavor to pay to those appointed by you the taxes, both ordinary and extraordinary, as we have been taught by Jesus. We worship only God, but in other things we will gladly serve you, acknowledging you as kings and rulers of men, and praying that, with your kingly power, you may be found to possess also sound judgment.” Athenagoras, pleading for peace for the Christians, writes (chapter 37): “We deserve favor because we pray for your government, that you may, as is most equitable, receive the kingdom, son from father, and that your empire may receive increase and addition, until all men become subject to your sway.” (Source).
C2 God’s Rules How to Love Our Neighbor
D1 Imagine how society and its evils would be changed if we would live by God’s rules. We must live by His rules even if no one does. Imagine is all these laws were lived consistently? There would be no theft, no rape, no murder, no lying, etc. The Ten Commandments would be obey. See Exodus 20, the Ten Commandments.
D2 Verse 8,
E1 Whatever we owe others, pay them back as soon as possible.
E2 We must love our neighbor. This is the definition of the love spoken of here: …for he who loves another has fulfilled the law.
D3 Verse 9, society would improve if all lived by these rules. Romans 13:9 WEL Because: you must not commit adultery, you must not kill, you must not steal, you must not bear false witness, you must not covet, and whatever other commandment, it is briefly summarized in this saying, “You must love your neighbor as you do yourself.”
D4 Verse 10 is God’s standard. If I love my neighbor (anyone I meet), I will not lie, steal, hate, murder, covet, sexually sin, etc. This standard cannot be followed perfectly until the New Heavens and New Earth, but it should be our attitude and goal that with God’s help, we will do it.
C3 God’s Desire for Us to Live Ready for His Return
D1 Verse 11:
E1 We are not to sleep, that is, not being slothful, neglectful, making excuses, etc. We are to follow what Jesus wants us to do. When we don’t do the actions of verse 9, then we witness for God that His ways are the ways of peace and order.
E2 Salvation (deliverance) refers to Jesus’s coming for us. 1 Thessalonians 5:23 WEL May the God of peace, himself, sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit, soul, and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.
D2 Verse 12,
E1 Night and day refers to the Kingdom of night and the Kingdom of light (day).
F1 Kingdom of night: The rules, worldview, and lifestyle of the arch-rebel—satan.
F2 Kingdom of day: The rules, worldview, and lifestyle of God.
F3 John 3:19-21 NIV This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light, so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.
E2 We must be ready. Luke 12:42-48 NIV The Lord answered, “Who then is the faithful and wise manager, whom the master puts in charge of his servants to give them their food allowance at the proper time? 43 It will be good for that servant whom the master finds doing so when he returns. 44 Truly I tell you, he will put him in charge of all his possessions. 45 But suppose the servant says to himself, ‘My master is taking a long time in coming,’ and he then begins to beat the other servants, both men and women, and to eat and drink and get drunk. 46 The master of that servant will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he is not aware of. He will cut him to pieces and assign him a place with the unbelievers. 47 “The servant who knows the master’s will and does not get ready or does not do what the master wants will be beaten with many blows. 48 But the one who does not know and does things deserving punishment will be beaten with few blows. From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.
E3 Weapons of light:
F1 The weapons (defensive and offensive) that God gives. See Ephesians 6:10-20.
F2 2 Corinthians 6:7 NLT We faithfully preach the truth. God’s power is working in us. We use the weapons of righteousness in the right hand for attack and the left hand for defense.
F3 2 Corinthians 10:4 NLT We use God’s mighty weapons, not worldly weapons, to knock down the strongholds of human reasoning and to destroy false arguments.
D3 Verse 13
E1 Here is a list of 6 things not to do. It is not loving our neighbor when we do these things. It is a poor testimony for Jesus if we do.
E2 We are not to do carousing (partying, drunkenness, and all that goes with it), drunkenness (a habit of being drunk), orgies (whoredoms and prostitution of every kind—Adam Clarke), uncontrolled lust (with the accompanying actions mainly sexual), heated arguments (arguing, fighting, bullying, etc.), or envying.
E3 Matthew 5:16 NRSV In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father in heaven.
E4 We must not live our life satisfying our fleshly desires. Barclay on the 6 sins:
It is interesting to look at the six sins which Paul selects as being, as it were, typical of the Christless life.
(i) There is revelry (komos, Greek #2889). This is an interesting word. Originally komos (Greek #2889) was the band of friends who accompanied a victor home from the games, singing his praises and celebrating his triumph as they went. Later it came to mean a noisy band of revellers who swept their way through the city streets at night, a band of roysterers, what, in Regency England, would have been called a rout. It describes the kind of revelry which lowers a man’s self and is a nuisance to others.
(ii) There is drunkenness (methe, Greek #3178). To the Greeks drunkenness was a particularly disgraceful thing. They were a wine-drinking people. Even children drank wine. Breakfast was called akratisma, and consisted of a slice of bread dipped in wine. For all that, drunkenness was considered specially shameful, for the wine the Greek drank was much diluted, and was drunk because the water supply was inadequate and dangerous. This was a vice which not only a Christian but any respectable heathen also would have condemned.
(iii) There was immorality (koite, Greek #2845). Koite (Greek #2845) literally means a bed and has in it the meaning of the desire for the forbidden bed. This was the typical heathen sin. The word brings to mind the man who sets no value on fidelity and who takes his pleasure when and where he will.
(iv) There is shamelessness (aselgeia, Greek #766). Aselgeia (Greek #766) is one of the ugliest words in the Greek language. It does not describe only immorality; it describes the man who is lost to shame. Most people seek to conceal their evil deeds, but the man in whose heart there is aselgeia (Greek #766) is long past that. He does not care who sees him; he does not care how much of a public exhibition he makes of himself; he does not care what people think of him. Aselgeia (Greek #766) is the quality of the man who dares publicly to do the things which are unbecoming for any man to do.
(v) There is contention (eris, Greek #2054). Eris (Greek #2054) is the spirit that is born of unbridled and unholy competition. It comes from the desire for place and power and prestige and the hatred of being surpassed. It is essentially the sin which places self in the foreground and is the entire negation of Christian love.
(vi) There is envy (zelos, Greek #2205). Zelos (Greek #2205) need not be a bad word. It can describe the noble emulation of a man who, when confronted with greatness of character, wishes to attain to it. But it can also mean that envy which grudges a man his nobility and his preeminence. It describes here the spirit which cannot be content with what it has and looks with jealous eye on every blessing given to someone else and denied to itself. (Source)
D5 Verse 14
E1 We are to put on, clothe, array ourselves with 2 things:
F1 Putting on the Lord Jesus means to live and think in God’s ways
G2 Colossians 3:12-17 BSB Therefore, as the elect of God, holy and beloved, clothe yourselves with hearts of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience. 13 Bear with one another and forgive any complaint you may have against someone else. Forgive as the Lord forgave you. 14 And over all these virtues put on love, which is the bond of perfect unity. 15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, for to this you were called as members of one body. And be thankful. 16 Let the word of Christ richly dwell within you as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. 17 And whatever you do, in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him.
To be clothed with a person is a Greek phrase, signifying to assume the interests of another – to enter into his views, to imitate him, and be wholly on his side. St. Chrysostom particularly mentions this as a common phrase, ὁ δεινα τον δεινα ενεδυσατο, such a one hath put on such a one; i.e. he closely follows and imitates him.
C4 Questions
D1 What is our relationship with secular government?
D2 How are we to pray for our leaders?
D3 How completely do we obey their orders?
D4 Why is it important for Christians to pay taxes.
D5 What is a Christian life?
D6 How is living this Christian life help society?
How do I apply this to my life? Help me to remember and give me grace to obey.
Posted by Choco at 14:23 on 14 Aug 20
Labels: Epistle of Romans, Spiritual Light and Darkness, The Christian and Government, Ready for Jesus’s return


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