Be Subject to Governing Authorities Romans 13:1-6

by John Cortright

Romans 13:1-6

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities.

God is sovereign over the nations of the world. 

He can cause governments to rise or fall. This can be seen throughout Scripture.

  • Genesis 14:13-24 – God delivered Abraham defeating King Chedorlaomer and the kings of the east.
  • Genesis 40 & 41 – God brought Joseph to power in Egypt. Pharaoh set him over all the land of Egypt.
  • Exodus 5-14 – God delivered the children from Pharaoh in Egypt.
  • Book of Joshua – God destroyed seven nations in the land of Canaan (Acts 13:19).
  • Numbers – God raised up judges to deliver Israel from kings and nations.
  • Samuel & Kings – God brought about the nations of Israel and Judah.
  • Jonah – God did not overthrow the city of Nineveh when the people repented after Jonah’s preaching.
  • Isaiah 10:5 – God called the nation of Assyria the rod of his anger.
  • Jeremiah 27:6 – God Called King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, His servant.
  • Daniel 5:25-28 – God told Belshazzar of Babylon that God had numbered his kingdom, put an end to it, and given it over to the Medes and Persians.
  • Isaiah 45:1; Ezra 1:2 – God called Cyrus, king of Persia, His anointed to subdue nations.

See Daniel 4:17b; John 19:10-11a; and Jeremiah 18:1-10.

Romans 13:2-5; 1 Peter 2:13-17; Titus 3:1

We are to submit to regulations from governing authorities because this is what we have been told to do in Scripture.  Our ultimate direction comes from Jesus Christ and what he has directed through the writing of his apostles.  The direction here in Scripture is general wording, not specific to any one type of government, and it’s not specific to any ordinance or law.  Within 10 years that this was written to the church in Rome, the Emperor Nero declared Christianity illegal and began a persecution against the church.  There are times in Scripture when believers did not submit to a government ordinance because it went against God’s law (midwives not obeying Pharaoh’s command to kill the boy children; Rahab denying to the king of Jericho that men from the sons of Israel were in her house; Meshach, Shadrach, & Abednego not bowing to Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image; Daniel still praying after the law of the Medes & Persians was signed; the apostle’s saying “we ought to obey God rather than men” when told not to preach in the name of Jesus).  If a government makes a law that contradicts God’s commandment, then you follow God’s commandment.  But don’t use this as “freedom to cover for evil” to justify disobedience to government.

Also, there is nothing in Scripture about party affiliation, whether you should vote or not, nor whether you should be involved in politics or not.  What we are told is that we are to submit.

Romans 13:5-6; Matthew 22:15-22; Matthew 17:24-27
Pay your taxes!  God is our sufficiency.  He supplies all our needs.

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