Respect for Authority
13 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
Love Fulfills God’s Requirements
8 Owe nothing to anyone—except for your obligation to love one another. If you love your neighbor, you will fulfill the requirements of God’s law. 9 For the commandments say, “You must not commit adultery. You must not murder. You must not steal. You must not covet.”[a] These—and other such commandments—are summed up in this one commandment: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b] 10 Love does no wrong to others, so love fulfills the requirements of God’s law.
11 This is all the more urgent, for you know how late it is; time is running out. Wake up, for our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed. 12 The night is almost gone; the day of salvation will soon be here. So remove your dark deeds like dirty clothes, and put on the shining armor of right living. 13 Because we belong to the day, we must live decent lives for all to see. Don’t participate in the darkness of wild parties and drunkenness, or in sexual promiscuity and immoral living, or in quarreling and jealousy. 14 Instead, clothe yourself with the presence of the Lord Jesus Christ. And don’t let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.
Have you ever met a police car on the highway, and immediately released the gas pedal, not even looking at your speed first, or checked in your mirror to see if they were turning around and putting on their signals? Why would we do that? probably because we know we have been guilty of breaking the law before. This is small example of what Paul is talking about. Why fear the authorities if you aren’t doing anything wrong? If we followed the laws of the land, we would not feel that instant panic or guilt when we see an authority figure. It would be just that simple, if it weren’t for our sinful nature.
Paul starts with an important point, especially in this time. Respect for authority. And support our authority. Our taxes go to pay the salaries of our government workers and authorities. The bible is clearly telling us that God has placed these people in these positions. Our job is to support what God has put in place. Even if we don’t agree with our government leaders. They have the impossible task of trying to take care of every person, they need our support.
Paul goes on to say “love your neighbor as yourself”. Biblically, our neighbors means all people. This does include our authorities. This includes our government, law-makers, policemen, doctors etc… Whether we agree or disagree with how things are being handled in our country, or how things are being handled regarding the virus and isolation, or how the countries finances are being handled etc…, we as Christians have an obligation to uplift these people. Are we praying for our leaders, or just grumbling? Do we lift up our Prime Minister in prayer? Do we complain how unfair it is when we get a speeding ticket, or do we accept the fact we were guilty? We need to hold ourselves to a higher standard because God has asked us to do so. Today, let’s begin a habit of lifting our leaders up in prayer on a regular basis.
God we thank you for what you have put in place. We pray for our leaders, we thank you for each one and the hard task they have to run our country. Give them wisdom in every decision, give them words to speak and the boldness to make the tough choices, even when they are unpopular. Lord, help us to not be judgemental, but uplifting. Give us words of life to speak towards our government. We ask you Lord for safety over our health and well-being today. in Jesus name, amen.