Higher Powers

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    Romans 13 starts out with the phrase, “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers”. There are times when the “higher powers” are not godly or righteous. There are times when the “higher powers” are down right wicked, yet Christians are still commanded to be subject to these higher powers. If we consider the time in which this was written, the Christians then were under the rule of the Roman government which was one of the most wicked and ungodly governments that ever existed. Yet the Christians were still to be subject to this “higher power”.

    Paul then lists reasons why they are to be subject to higher powers. First, The powers that be are ordained of God. We often forget that God is in control and the governmental powers that have control do so because God allows it. How many times throughout history has God allowed a wicked nation to rise to power and then used them to punish others? Egypt, Babylon, and Assyria were all very wicked nations that rose to power to be used by God to punish His people for turning away from Him. God is still in control and while the “higher powers” might be wicked, they are there because God allows it to be and as such we should be subject to them.

    Second reason (verse 3): rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. The intended purpose of a government is to be a terror to wicked people. We all realize that is not always the case...and it wasn’t then either. There are always going to be wicked people in positions of authority who abuse their power and they will be judged by God. At times throughout history it has been the case that a majority of people in authority abused their power, yet we as Christians must still do what is right. Even when the government becomes a terror to those doing right...we still must do what is right. We cannot forget that God is in control and will judge those who abuse their authority and become a terror to the righteous.

    Taxes are a difficult thing as well. Why would I want to pay taxes to a government that is using that money for ungodly and unrighteous reasons? Yet Paul tells the Christians to pay their taxes (tribute).

    Then starting in Romans 13:8 Paul gives them a list of how they were to treat one another. These principles really are the key to living right.

    Love one another— If we love one another we will treat on another properly. Every other one of these could fall under the category of “love one another”. Do not commit adultery, do not kill, do not steal, do not bear false witness, do not covet. Then he says it one more time: “love your neighbor as yourself”.

    We as Christians need to be people who first and foremost submit to God. Yet when it doesn’t violate God’s law we also must submit to governmental powers. We must live in such a way that we don’t have to hide who we are. Walk honestly as in the day. Put on Christ. Avoid the lust of the flesh. In doing so, we avoid the condemnation (13:2) and we have the reward waiting for us!

    Romans 13
    Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. [2] Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. [3] For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: [4] For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. [5] Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. [6] For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. [7] Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour. [8] Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. [9] For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. [10] Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. [11] And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed. [12] The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. [13] Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying. [14] But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

  • You're gonna have to expand on this one...

    I just can't get there in my mind. I can't imagine God wanting me to fall subject to disgusting despicable abominations of man. Every level of government in every single place in this country seemingly has unjust unholy people working there. They demonstrate on a daily basis that they care not for God or man.

  • First and foremost we are under the authority of God. We must submit to His will in all things (Matthew 28:18). God is the one who allows governments to have their authority (Romans 13:1)...yet He also expects them to use their authority in submission to Him. In other words...if a government tells me to murder someone, I must realize that even though they have some authority, they don't have the authority to tell me to violate God's laws (murder). If a government tells me I can't teach about God, then they have once again violated God's authority and I must continue teaching about God. Yet when it does not violate God's laws, I must as much as I possibly can follow the laws of the Government. I may not like the laws they make, but am to be subject to them.

    When a government is evil, they have out stepped the bounds of authority God has given them. I cannot submit to and follow evil laws because I also answer to God, yet even in an evil government there are still good laws that I must submit to. As wicked as Rome was and as many wicked laws that there were, Rome still had good laws that needed to be followed. Rome was a government that oppressed the people, persecuted Christians, and even had many put to death in horrific ways. Yet the Christians were not to rebel and physically fight against that Government. We must not forget that God's Kingdom is not physical and as such physical kingdoms are not worth fighting against (John 18:36). Consider the power that Jesus had...yet even though He could have struck every wicked person dead...He still humbly went to the cross.

    Don't forget...Rome was in power for a purpose. God allowed Rome to be in power to accomplish His will. It might be the case that the wicked rulers in our country are being used by God to accomplish His will.

    The United States Government is quite different than Rome though in the fact that our system of Government has legal ways built into the constitution with which to oppose and change our government. If we don't like what is being done, we can, while still submitting to the laws, protest it, and try to vote people in who will do what is right. It sometimes seems like a lost cause...but we are not here forever. This world is not our home!

  • ... and like rome, this country will pass into history if we sit around and let these godless greedmongers in the legal system continue using the law to enslave the populace and erode our freedoms.

    Laws have been used to justify the most horrific crimes against humanity throughout history. The people perpetrating the madness ALWAYS have the backing of the law.

    This country only exists because we started killing the people responsible for the laws we didn't agree with.

  • You are correct. Yet even when this country falls, truth will live on. Sometimes it takes the falling of a governmental power for righteousness to stand. Yet until that government is taken down, I must strive to follow the laws when those laws are not wrong.