We are continuing to learn how to become image-bearers to the King of king as we study Romans. Paul shows us in today’s lesson from Romans 13 how to live out loud as Christ followers. Go ahead and read chapter 13.
This chapter is divided into two parts. The first part is on having respect for authority. The second part teaches us the characteristics of living for God.
“Everyone must submit to government authorities.”1
Many are having a tough time following this during this tumultuous election year in the U.S.
ASK YOURSELF: Why are we to submit to authority according to verse 1?
Paul tells us that when we rebel against authority, we are rebelling against something that God implemented for us.
ASK YOURSELF: What happens to those who rebel; see verse 2?
Many are going to struggle with God’s Word on this. Paul shares how life should be lived out. When those in authority respect their position, they will not strike fear in those who do the right thing, but to those who choose to do wrong.
ASK YOURSELF: Paul asks, “Would you like to live without fear of the authorities?” What answer does he give in verse 3?
“Those in authority are God’s servants sent for your good.”4
ASK YOURSELF: What else can authority do to those who do wrong, see verse 4?
Unfortunately, how life should be lived usually doesn’t happen. Sin has marred this world and Satan works hard at keeping life lop-sided. And we know from what we see in the news and on social media that we are not simply living lop-sided, we are upside down!
ASK YOURSELF: According to verse 5, we are to submit to authority for two reasons. One is to avoid punishment, what is the other?
To have a clear conscience is a good thing; a very good thing. The Holy Spirit helps us to live without regrets.
So, we are to submit to authority and Paul leads us to pay our taxes. Notice what he says in verse 6, they are serving God in what they do.
No matter what job you have, you are serving God when you perform your tasks. There is no distinction in jobs with God. Serve God as you file papers, wash dishes or perform a surgery. Everything we do and say reflects God.
ASK YOURSELF: What else does Paul say, in verse 7, that tells us how we are to act to those in authority?
Respect and honor are becoming lost in society. Respecting authority when there is so much corruption is difficult. Trust is broken and we know that it is hard to gain it back. Yet, when God is asking us to act a certain way, then we are to do it. We are to leave the injustices in the hands of God and know He will correct all the wrongs one day.
The second part of Romans 13 continues on in aligning ourselves to living God’s way. We are to owe nothing to anyone. This is hard for many people. Most of us need to take loans out for cars and homes. My husband and I learned early on to pay loans off early and we pay our credit card bill off the next month. May I encourage you to try to do these things. God will honor your efforts.
Paul gives emphasis on loving others. Because Jesus loves us, we are to love others. As it says in verse 8, it is our obligation to love one another. The epitome of God and His ways is love. When we show others love, we are giving Jesus to the other person which means they have hope.
ASK YOURSELF: From verse 9, Paul lists out things we should not do. What are they?
“Love does no wrong to others.”10
Paul tell us that time is running out. We are to wake up, for our salvation will be upon us. We are to remove our dark deeds and put on the shining armor of right living.
“We must live decent lives for all to see.”13
ASK YOURSELF: What are we supposed to stay away from according to verse 13? Instead, we are to live how; see verse 14?
God is calling us to a better way of living, one in which God receives the glory. If we would put aside our fleshy ways and don garments of praise, we would live united in love. Our world would be brighter and happier.