Paul has described for us how we are transformed to become part of community... But, he doesn't stop there, he continues to explain how we are to react to a life in a body of community, how we react to a life under the government...
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.
Those who resist authorities resist what God has appointed...
Those in the government have been placed there by God Himself.
He has given them the gifts needed, qualifying them for their jobs.
We are to honor that.
But, then why to we glorify the rebel? How do you explain a good amount of uprisings (not to mention Exodus) in the Old Testament?? Why were so many of the Jews waiting for a messiah who would overthrow their leaders and bring in a new earthly kingdom?!?
The clip from above is from Injustice: Gods Among Us. In this game, the DC heroes from the original timeline are brought to an alternate universe where Superman has become an evil dictator, seizing control of the world and killing those who get in his way.
Ares brings Wonder Woman back to the Amazon to tell her what her alternate Amazon sisters are planning on doing (invading as SuperHitler's army, probably pursuing mass murder), she cannot believe her eyes and knows that she must do everything in her power to stop them.... to set things right.
She rebels against SuperHitler's governing authority.
Is that wrong?
First of all, we must realize something. We must not overlook what Paul presupposes a governing authority is: Rulers are not to be a terror against good conduct, but against bad...
If you do what is good, you should receive the government's approval. For rulers are God's servants for our own good. But if we do what is evil we should be afraid, for God has not given the government authority to bear the sword in vain.
The government is meant to be God's avenger, who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.
That is why we are to be subject to it, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
The rebels of our past, Christian warriors and martyrs, reformers and just fighters, leaders and heroes were not mistaken to take their place against the government. Many times, in many ways, sin seeps into the governing bodies. Although, the office and the vocation are instituted by God, just like Saul, our leaders are capable of falling short and abusing their privileged position.
Wonder Woman is justified because SuperHitler has become a terror against good conduct, the opposite of what he was always intended to be.
She reminds her sisters of what the governing bodies were made for.... And, in many ways, what we were made for in our daily lives:
We are to give service, help the innocent, save the lives of friend and foe.
That is our way...
The path that the warriors were about to choose was folly and Wonder Woman insists that:
We are to unite the world's people, lessen man's rages, overcome them with passion and love...
Let us enter battle, but as human kind's protector, not its destroyer.
The governing body that we submit to is one which should be just, seeking punishment for evil, and being in accord with that which is good.
It is too often that we lose sight of that.
Because our government acts on behalf of our Lord, we are to pay taxes as our offering to the secular ministers of God, we are to pay respect to whom respect is owed, and we are to give honor to whom honor is owed.
Above that, we are to owe no one anything except love.
For the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,' and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'
Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
If you do all you do out of love, the law should be in accord with you.
It pays to implement this now.
Time is of the essence.
For, salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed... wake from sleep... the night is far gone and the day is at hand... cast off works of darkness... walk properly as in the daytime... sinlessly... put on the Lord Jesus Christ... avoiding selfish desires.
These sins and desires are what get our leaders in trouble in the first place. The first thing that they do wrong is to ignore the first commandment.
But, they are not the only ones. It is all too easy to become distracted, discouraged, and disengaged to our calls.
Still, Christ empowers us to rise up, kill the old Adam, and live in love.
After all, it is only by His grace and His limitless love that we have been saved from the Law.
***This study is on Romans 13.