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Romans 13:5 – Two decisive reasons

13-12-2021 - Posted by Hans

Wherefore it is necessary to be subject, not only because of indignation, but also because of conscience.

Summing up the foregoing, Paul mentions two decisive reasons for subjecting to the government. A pragmatic motive and a principled one. Because the government carries a sword, you have reason to fear its sanctions. If you don’t want to come into contact with her hard hand, you’d better be subject to her.

A much better (intrinsic) reason to submit to government is “because of conscience”. That term literally means ‘co-knowing’ from the Greek. The conscience in Scripture is not a feeling but a knowledge. It is the science that God shares with man and hence is called ‘co-knowledge’. That conscience can be tainted and even seared, but at its core it is the ‘built-in’ knowledge that God has given man. It is the knowledge that God is there, the awareness of good and evil, truth and falsehood. Man also has an ‘innate’ sense of hierarchy and authority relationships. He knows that anarchy makes the world a mess. Even outside of the Bible, man knows these things.