Respect for Authority – Romans 13

Respect for Authority
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.

This passage is a little bit of a challenge for me because it is so black-and-white and the misuse of authority, especially in our country, seems to be so prevelant. How many times have I heard about taxes going directly into the pockets of politicians? Too many to count!

In Matthew 22:21, it says, “‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and give to God what is God’s.” We can’t take money with us and the more important thing is what we do with what we do with what God has given us. Ultimately, the taxes are supposed to be used to serve our community (and thereby, the taxpayer because a better community means a better life for the taxpayer).

As far as the authority that God has placed in our lives in terms of the government, it seems they fall under the heading of, “To whom much is given, much is expected.” (can’t remember the location of this verse off the top of my head) The leaders God has put in place will be accountable, as we all are, for the job they do in office.

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