Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. Romans 13:1-7
It’s kind of interesting to me just because it felt so random and unexpected, that just as I was reading Romans 12 one more time this morning, before I turned the corner into Romans 13, that I was overwhelmed with a sense to pray for President Obama. And it was a prayer full of mercy and encouragement, for someone under constant attack, someone who is trying to do right in a crazy mixed-up world of politics: Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good.
I mean it was so strong that I thought I was supposed to somehow figure out a way to email him like at whitehouse.gov that I was praying for him, somehow navigate the world of whatever. Crazy strong.
And then I rolled into Romans 13. And the question here is, beyond do we really trust that God is in control and at work, and The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the LORD; He turns it wherever He will, is what should Christians be known for, what should our reputation be in the eyes of the world?
Because we are name-bearers.
And I need to be aware of this name-bearing at all times. And not get distracted by the thinking of the world and its feigned powers and what’s what by the greased palms of politics but instead be changed within by a new way of thinking. Then you will be able to decide what God wants for you; you will know what is good and pleasing to Him and what is perfect.
And this is what I am to be known by: respect and honor (yes, as in Outdo one another in showing honor) and above all, loving my neighbors as myself.
And I am going to keep it in first person singular because that is how I am to live. In truth. He is in control. He takes care of His business, and I take care of mine. May the prayer of the righteous accomplish much. What is good and pleasing. And the greatest of these is love. Love your neighbor.
Owe no one anything, except to love each other, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,” and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.
But he wanted to justify himself, so he asked Jesus, “And who is my neighbor?”