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Romans 13:1– Subject to the authorities

13-12-2021 - Posted by Hans

Let every soul be subject to the superior authorities, for there is no authority except under God.

In the days when Paul wrote this letter, the infamous Emperor Nero was at the head of the Roman Empire. He would turn out to be one of the most horrible dictators ever in history.

Paul speaks emphatically about subjection to the authorities above us. That is different from obedience. subjection means: recognizing authorities as your superior. Obedience means doing what you are told. The latter is sometimes impossible, because above all we have to obey what GOD says (Acts 5:29). But even then that does not change our attitude of subjection. Paul did not preach a revolution. Governments are also not accountable to their citizens. That is indeed democratic, but therefore not Biblical. Authorities are accountable to GOD, under whom they are placed.

Whether those in power fulfill their functions with dignity or not is none of our business. We may call them to account for what is right (as Paul did on occasion; Acts 24:24) but they are and remain our superior at all times. Such an attitude frees us from political agendas and interference. It also means “a quiet and peaceful life” (1Tim.2:2).