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October 5, 2023 - Romans 13

Romans 13, I suppose, can be a debate inducing chapter as Paul instructs us on our relationship to and responsibility toward government: “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God” (13:1). This instruction extends even to the paying of taxes (13:6-7). Of course, Jesus also instructed his listeners to give to Caesar what was his (taxes).

The question, of course, always comes up: “But what do we do when dictates from the government contradict clear biblical teaching?” Peter and the apostles, as they responded to the demands of the authorities that they stop preaching, clarify for us: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29). The Christian life, on the one hand, is indeed a matter of black and white, as we put it: “This is right. That is wrong.” On the other hand, the Christian life is one of faithful and obedient balance. We are indeed to obey the authorities, always weighing their instruction over against God’s Word. Such a life requires wisdom that flows from a close relationship with our God and from regular time in his Word. “Lord, help us, today, to possess and display such wisdom.”

What does the Lord require for praise and offering?

What sacrifice, desire or tribute bid you bring?

Do justly; Love mercy; Walk humbly with your God.

How shall our life fulfill God’s law so hard and high?

Let Christ endue our will with grace to fortify.

Then justly, in mercy we’ll humbly walk with God. --Albert F. Bayly (1949)

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