Romans Lesson 24 Day 4
9. Those in authority are God’s servants for the good of society. (TPT)
The following is a long quote, but I found it helpful.
This sentence–“For there can be no authority in the universe except by God’s appointment”–has perplexed many people. Was Paul saying that God wills that there be oppressive governments like the Nazis or even the Roman government that Paul was under? Definitely not. Even though He has used corrupt rulers and governments to punish offenses, their governmental authority was not created by God to be oppressive. They were ordained to be ministers of God to us for good (Romans 13:4).
In the same way that God ordains people to the ministry yet they fail to fulfill that call as God intended, likewise, God ordains governments but doesn’t ordain everything that they do. There are countless scriptural examples of rebukes and punishments by God upon civil leaders because they did not submit to His will.
God’s original government over mankind was directly administered by God Himself. People answered only to their Creator. Even after the Fall, God worked in cooperation with people’s consciences to restrain them from evil. In the beginning, this was effective, as can be seen through Cain’s statement, “My punishment is greater than I can bear” (Genesis 4:13).
However, people seared their consciences (1 Timothy 4:2) through repeated sin. Therefore, since people were no longer responsive to their Creator, God ordained people to begin to police themselves. He told Noah, “Whoso sheddeth man’s blood, by man shall his blood be shed: for in the image of God made he man” (Genesis 9:6). This responsibility of a corporate body to avenge the wrongs of an individual continued to develop until, through the giving of the Old Testament Law, God gave detailed instructions on how mankind was to treat each other and prescribed punishments for failure to do so.
So, in that context, God did ordain all government. But in more cases than not, governments are not any more responsive to Him than are individuals. However, we are to submit to them and obey them as long as we don’t have to violate a clear command of God. Even bad government is superior to anarchy.
The governors themselves may not be of God, but civil government is definitely of God. (Andrew Wommack’s Living Commentary)
In most cases, we are better off because we have a government even when they are self-serving and make bad decisions.
10. The job of government: to punish and deter evildoers. (Guzik)
Paul gives two reasons why Christians must obey the government:
- If we submit and obey the laws, we avoid punishment.
- We will keep a clear conscience before God who established government and commands us to obey it.
- As good citizens, we set a good example for others.
- It helps and does not hinder the spread of the gospel if we are honorable people, like Daniel.
- We and others can live peaceable lives. 1 Timothy 2:1-4
11. I do my best to avoid discussions about the government.
Especially, negative ones. It’s just best not to go there, in my opinion.
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MY answers — not THE answers — to BSF study questions on Romans Lesson 23 Day 4 ~ Romans 3:3-5