All Submission to Any Authority…
Romans 13:1-7 (Pastor Heo)
13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.
Do you have faith? Christian faith? Amen~
Christian faith is not abstract nor an ideology. It is a lifestyle / a reality.
Ex: How can we show our love to God? By loving his creations – men and women – created in his image.
The kind of relationship you have with God can be seen by the kind of relationship you have with others.
Theme of Romans: The Righteousness of God
(Having a right relationship with God by trusting in Christ)
Chp 12 – we studied our right relationship to God, ourselves, our brothers and sisters, neighbors, and enemies.
Today, we see how we can show our right relationship with God to the authorities (government). In these 7 verses we read today, “Authority” is repeated 7 times. So, we need to be clear about the kind of attitude we need to have to earthly authorities. The Bible is very clear that we need to “submit” (be willing to cooperate and obey) our authorities.
There are 5 reasons (biblically) why we should submit to the authorities.
#1 God authorizes all authorities
“13:1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.”
God’s authority is exclusive, original, final. He has the ultimate right to govern, sustain, order ALL his creation according to his absolute sovereign will – because he is creator. All human authorities are derived from God.
Yes, in human society, there are so many authorities – official and non-official. We can learn to submit to God by submitting to those God has put in authority over us. By rejecting or rebelling against human authority is to reject or rebel against God – because he has created and established all these authorities.
#2 There is a Wage (for submission / rejection)
Wage = result = effect = consequence =
“The wages of sin is death” (Romans)
- Sin’s wage = death
- Faith’s wage = life
- Obedience’s wage = blessing
- Disobedience’s wage = loss of blessing
In our lives also there is pay (wage) for laziness, hard work, bad diet, exercise, too much TV. Like this, there is a wage for submission to authorities, and also rejection of authorities.
“3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.”
In these three verses, we see the word “Terror” and “fear”, “command”, “sword”, wrath”, “punishment”, “conscience”. We can see there is a wage for submission or rejection.
In humanity, there is a continuous circle of authority:
- Nobody who is at the TOP of authority for his whole life.
- Also, nobody is at the BOTTOM of authority for his whole life.
All human authorities are from God – big or small.
- Are you parents now? Once you were children (you still are to your parents). Your children will also be parents one day.
- Are you a teacher? You were once a student.
- Are you a boss? You were once an employee.
We are related in authorities – this is a vertical circulation of authorities.
At some times – in some areas, we are the authority, at other times – in other areas, we are under the authority.
Even presidents must be subject to pastors in the church. But pastors are subject to police, police are subject to judges, judges are subject to medical doctors, etc. This is the horizontal circulation of authority.
“A man will reap what he sows.” – therefore, if we submit to authority over us, then the one(s) under us will submit to us – and more authority will be given to us. But if we reject the authority over us, then those under us will also reject us and our authority will be gradually taken away from us.
- So, submission to authority = peace, balance, harmony.
- But rejection = disorder, chaos, lawlessness, license.
Submission does NOT mean humility, weakness, etc – but it means courage, freedom.
Willingness to submit to authority is one of the basic Christian tenants.
#3 We are citizens of a country
(We have 2 citizenships – heaven and Korea / US / Laos, etc)
“6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
A “state” is basically a group of people who have agreed to mutually keep a set of laws. Without this law of order, maybe a strong, bad man will reign supreme – and the Law of the Jungle will rule (every ordinary man owes his security to the state – and is therefore under responsibility to it).
Ordinary people owe a wide range of services to the state.
It’s impossible for EVERY man to have his own water system, electricity, toilet, public highway. These things can only be attained when people agree to live together. So, it would be wrong to enjoy everything the state provides but also reject all responsibility to it.
Yes, Korea is so blessed compared to Laos – but we know that hundreds of years ago, we also were so strong in Buddhism. Blessing can only come through Christ. But we must also live at peace with the state at least as long as it allows us to worship God freely.
Did you have any difficulty in worshiping God today? Because of your government? If “no” then we must support / help our government with prayer. That’s why we should submit to authority.
#4 It’s God’s will
Ephesians “Husbands, love your wives. Wives, submit to your husbands. Children, obey your parents. Slaves, submit to your earthly masters.”
1 Peter 2:13-21 “13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. 16 Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honor the king. 18 Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”
1 Timothy 2:1-2 “2:1 I urge, then, first of all, that requests,prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for everyone– 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness.”
#5 It’s a symbol of ultimate submission to the authority of Christ
If Jesus is our Savior and Lord, then he is also our example in what kind of person we should be.
Phil 2:5 “Our attitude should be the same as that of Jesus Christ.”
“Jesus is original God who being in the very nature God, made himself nothing, and became a servant – taking the nature of a servant – obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross. Therefore, God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name above all names, that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord.” (Hebrews?)
In his earthly life, Jesus Christ submitted to the authority of John the Baptist. John was surprised, but Jesus said, “Let it be so now – it is right for us to do this and fulfill all righteousness.”
Jesus also submitted to the authority of the government of Rome at that time (who ruled Israel illegally at that time). Yet, he also paid taxes – for himself and Peter “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s – give to God what is God’s.”
This is amazing – he even submitted to the bad authority of Pontius Pilate. “You would have no authority over me if it were not given you from above.”
And after defeating the last enemy, death, he said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Therefore, go, making disciples of all nations.”
- Jesus has authority over all spiritual beings – angels, demons, Satan (he has NO authority) – because “All authority” has been given to Christ.
- Jesus has authority over all created beings – even mountains and animals and plants.
This means our submission to authority is a symbol of our submission to Christ.