Romans 13 was written while Rome ruled. Rome believed they were all powerful and invincible. Rebellion meant imprisonment and death. Jews and Christians were considered rebels and watched closely. So, when Paul begins to teach about civil authority, he had to be very careful what and how he said it.
God ordains civil government. Believers in Christ are subject to these governments. Resisting the government is resisting God. We are to render honor, tribute, fear, and custom to those in authority.
Then Paul tells the Roman’s they must love one another. That meant the hated Roman army. Rome had the ability to give and take life.
He also makes it clear that as believers in Christ we have a responsibility to let the world see Jesus in us. We are to put off wickedness and put on Jesus Christ. Allowing the love Christ to shine through and open opportunities to witness for our Savior.
LOVE FULFILLS THE LAW (13:8-14)
“8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself.10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbor: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfill the lusts thereof.”
Does our light shine so brightly that people want to know what makes us different? Do we love our brothers in Christ? Do we love the lost? Do we walk in the light or in darkness?
Chapter 13 contrasts our relationship to our civil authority and to each other. Love never fails.
Go tell someone about Jesus.
Tom Stearns, WASI Chaplain, 907 715-4001