Romans 13 … Just how is a Christian to live and function in a morally corrupt society? Romans 12-16 is the practical outworking of a personal faith in Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son of God who came into human existence for our salvation. That knowledge and that faith ought to make a difference and Romans 12-16 is rich on how to make that difference. Romans 13 has three principal themes:
- How to deal with government (even a corrupt government). The important principle is to recognize that government is God ordained for order and the believer is to “render unto Caesar the things of Caesar.” You see the principle clearly in 13:4 … the ordained authorities are God’s servants to maintain order (perhaps you’ve never thought of the local police in that way, and surely they’ve never considered themselves that way). God does hold the community responsible for maintaining order and that’s the message here.
- The second theme is personal responsibility for love toward your neighbor, “as yourself” (13:9). We’re all into some degree of self-preservation and the notion to capture is to be more concerned about others – it is a godly attribute. A phone call or visit to someone to say simply “I was thinking about you and wondered how you’re doing” will do wonders for your neighbor as will help on his or her project or any other outreach.
- The remaining theme is voiced in Romans 13:12 which we might call “redeeming the time.” Everyone has a finite lifetime, some longer, some shorter, but every moment is precious and should be used wisely and not wasted on indulgence. That’s the message. It’s a great theme to wrap into daily prayers … being productive for God. The means of how to be clothed with the Lord Jesus Christ (13:14) is the message we covered in the prior reading from Romans 12.
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