The Message in Romans (50)

Christians and the governing authorities.

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established.” Romans 13:1, NIV. Paul, in chapter 12 of the Romans, addresses the mutual duties and responsibilities the members of the body of Christ, the Church, have. The members of the body of Christ fulfill their obligation by practicing selfless love. In chapter 13 of the Romans, Paul applies the principle of selfless love to the duties and responsibilities the members of the body of Christ have relative to the governing authorities, and the society in general. Because God institutes all government authority, Paul insists, the rebellion against the governing body in any a form, including the disrespect, is a rebellion against God.

Granted; both the secular and the religious authorities can be, and often are, evil in the exercise of their privileges. Nevertheless, Paul insists, the members of the body of Christ must obey the authorities because; 1. they serve according to God’s plan, and 2. that would give the believers an opportunity to love their enemies; as commanded by Jesus Christ; Luke 6:27. The members of the body of Christ should not take retribution against the governing authority, under any a circumstance. The public order is a part of the divine purpose and thus; the primary responsibility of the governing body is to maintain law and order in the society.

Paul extends these principles to all relationship among the members of the humankind. “Let no depth remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. Romans 13:8, NIV. The only obligatory debt the members of the body of Christ have is to practice the selfless love toward all. The debt of the selfless love, however, is not the same as monetary debt to an institution or an individual. The monetary debt should be paid in full always. However, the debt of selfless love could never be “paid in full.” The more we pay-down on the debt of selfless love the more massive it becomes. The entire eternity is not a long enough time to enable one to pay-off the debt of selfless love. The indebtedness of selfless love we owe to all, whether they are the authority, or are subject to it.

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Dan Lazich

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