As we continue through the book of Romans, we’re looking at God’s authority structures. We need to learn godly submission, if we want God’s best for us.
For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
Under normal circumstances, those in authority don’t strike fear in the ones doing good. It’s those who are breaking the law that fear.
It’s like the people who are in their cars, speeding down the highway. Then, suddenly, when they see a police cruiser parked on the side, they jam on their brakes.
Paul asks and answers a simple question. Do you want to be free from this fear? Then do what’s right.
At this point, Paul gives us an important spiritual key.
For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
The apostle makes it clear that the one in authority is God’s servant to do you good. That’s an important point.
We understand that all authority in heaven and earth is God’s. Any authority that someone has is ultimately from God. What we have to do is separate the authority, from the individual who’s in authority.
Authority is a place, a position that someone occupies. We have to realize that God has established the position so there will be order.
Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you.
This includes kings, presidents, governors, senators, etc. We are to respect the position as a part of God-ordained authority. Who is in that position is immaterial, and that’s the hard part.
In my last post, we looked at this next verse. God was addressing King Saul.
“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
1 Samuel 15:23
Saul was in the position of king, but God had rejected him. Yet, for years he remained in the office.
At one point, David was being hunted down by Saul, for no reason but jealousy. In the wilderness, David had a chance to kill Saul in his sleep, but he didn’t.
“This day you have seen with your own eyes how the Lord delivered you into my hands in the cave. Some urged me to kill you, but I spared you; I said, ‘I will not lift my hand against my master, because he is the Lord’s anointed.’”
1 Samuel 24:10
Here we can see David’s heart. For years the wrong man was in the position of king. The nation was in turmoil. But the position had to be respected.
Our God is a God of order. It’s through God’s order that we can live good and productive lives.
The fact is that no matter who is in the position of authority, there will be those who don’t think he or she should be there. That’s immaterial to the discussion. We respect and pray for our leaders because of the position.
Question: What’s your prayer for our leaders, in both the church and in government?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi