Romans 13–14: Government & Neighbors

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Romans 13:1

In today’s Bible reading of Romans 13–14, Paul continues to write about relationships. He ended chapter 12 with, “Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good,” and in Romans 13, he goes right into the Christian’s relationship to government and the role of government. Other important passages on the Christian and government are Acts 4:18–20 and 1 Peter 2:13-17. It is not surprising to me to find teaching about government following Paul’s words about not being overcome with evil.

Christians throughout the world are persecuted to the point of death. During 2020 and 2021 Christians in the West began to face increasing government control. In Canada pastors have been jailed. Churches in the United States have been fined and held in contempt of court. Last summer Grace Community Church in California decided to open even though the state government had banned services. John MacArthur, pastor of Grace Community Church, and the elders of the church issued this statement about their decision, “Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church.” In it they work through the above passages and others. Please read their statement. We all need to think through what God has said. This is from it:

“Accordingly, the honor that we rightly owe our earthly governors and magistrates (Romans 13:7) does not include compliance when such officials attempt to subvert sound doctrine, corrupt biblical morality, exercise ecclesiastical authority, or supplant Christ as head of the church in any other way.”

In Romans 13:8 Paul transitions into how we treat others. He focuses his instructions in chapter 14, on accepting and helping those who are weak in the faith, rather than judging them or holding them in contempt. His words resound with the command to love your neighbor as yourself. It’s no surprise that Paul quotes it in 13:9, as he gives specific application of this command Jesus called second after the great and foremost command to love God.

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.
Romans 13:10

God has not left us to wonder about how we are to live in this world.


Isaiah 42 Photograph: ChristianPhotos.net – Free High Resolution Photos for Christian Publications. (Site has been deleted since posting).
1John MacArthur, Copyright 2020, Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by permission. This Grace to You article, “Christ, not Caesar, Is Head of the Church,” originally appeared here

Copyright ©2011–2021 Iwana Carpenter

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