Romans 13:1

You didn’t know it, but you needed another Romans 13 exegesis.

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.
Romans 13:1 ESV

Romans 13:1 very clearly states that:
– God is behind the governing authorities
– The governing authorities have legitimate authority
– Christians have a duty to be subject to the authorities God has ordained.

However, contrary to the typical conclusion drawn by many, this does not mean that governing authorities have the right to govern however they see fit.

In point of fact, it implies the exact opposite. They do not have their own authority. They have been entrusted with authority from God that he can give and take away at his prerogative. This authority comes with strings attached. The authorities must govern according to God’s standards.

It must also be noted that, contrary to the common conclusion, this verse does not state or even imply that governing authority must be monopolized by a State. It is often argued that human government has almost always been some form of State throughout history, yet that only begs the question. Certainly God has the freedom to appoint unjust government for his purposes. It does not follow that their injustice is therefore just and moral. Hitler, Stalin, and Nero are all described by Romans 13. A correct interpretation must be able to apply to them equally alongside the Queen Elizabeths and American Democracies of the world and history.

We will discover this together, but I’ll cheat my hand a little. In absolute terms, no State government ever measures up, though some are clearly worse than others.


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