Friday, October 19, 2012

Romans 13 & 14

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

This chapter deals with authority structures that God has set up. It tells us that we are to be submissive to these authority structures because God set them up and to resist them is to resist God.  The first authority structure we encounter is of course, the family.  God started the family structure with Adam and Eve, but God was included in that structure as the ultimate Head, 1 Corinthians 11:3 states the head of every man is Christ.

The family is set up with the father as head and the father and mother having authority over the children. Ephesians 6:2 instructs children that they are to honor their parents with obedience. Ephesians 6:22-33 instructs us that the wife is to submit to her husband and in verse 21 we see that Christians are to submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. We can see why the family structure as set up my God is under attack, this attack displays the evil and godlessness that is in the hearts of humankind, under the added deception of Satan. Our submission to one another out of reverence for Christ it the key point - Do you honor God? Is your heart set? do you meditate on the goodness of Christ? - it is only by knowing what Christ has done - knowing the love for our eternal destiny that Christ had for us - that we will be able to submit to anyone, to other Christians or to our spouse. Sin has corrupted relationships, even in the family our culture is becoming more and more anti-family as prescribed by God's Word and it will take the power of Christ to bring it back to where God intended it to be. 

Another authority structure is the Church. The Church is governed by elders and the Bible tells us that they are charged with the responsibility of the souls of the members, and it encourages the members to be obedient to the elders and not make their responsibility a hard unpleasant task, but a labor of love. We submit to godly men who God has placed over us, because we are submitted to Jesus Christ and seek to please Him in obedience to the order He has set up in His Word.

The last authority structure set up by God is government, that means federal, state and local. These are needed because humans are evil and wicked and unless restrained by God through the laws set up by government officials and enforced by the police, there would be utter chaos. That does not mean that all laws are good laws - such as government officials being in agreement with abortion and homosexuality, things which God stands against, because God is against these things Christians must be as well. We as citizens have the power to vote and we should. But, the main point to take in is God has set up government to control evil. We are told in the Word that the Holy Spirit is restraining evil and Satan, so our prayers are vital in this as well. We are commanded to pray for all government official for this very reason. We are told by Paul that we are to pay our taxes so that government and the God-ordained services they provide continue.

Paul reminds us in verses 8 - 10 to love our neighbor because when we do we will not seek to do wrong to them. This shows how God's people also restrain evil in the world. Paul also reminds us we still have the old man - the New Testament warns us over and over about the wickedness we are still capable of because of the sin that remains in us. Verse 14 tells us how we are to keep the old man out of a position of authority in our lives, and how we are to maintain the new man in that position of authority; verse 14 says:
But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to gratify its desires. Just like we can not walk in the Spirit and the flesh at the same time we can not put on Jesus Christ and seek to gratify the desires of the flesh - you cant do both - Christ will give you over to your fleshly desires - if you persist in seeking them instead of the Splendor of His Grace. The question becomes how can you who have died to sin continue to live it? The answer God gives is He will not be mocked you reap what you sow. Those who are truly saved by God are concerned about their remaining sin, they do not seek for opportunities to gratify their lusts, our behavior as Christians matters, and it matters extremely so, we can say we are saved, but if our behavior does not bear the evidences shown in the Bible, we are mocking God, and God will not be mocked. Do not play with God - your eternal soul is the price you pay.

Romans 14 deals with how Christians should interact with each other. We are not to judge someone who may not know as much as we do. All Christians belong to God and therefore we should not judge them. Why? Because we all will stand before the judgment seat of God. We all are going to give an account of ourselves to God - do we want to be charged with causing another Christian to stumble?  We are to love other Christians, that is a mark of being a true Christian. The kingdom of God is righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.So we are to pursue what makes for peace and mutual up building. Encouraging and edifying other believers should be our joy, we should enjoy hearing others talk about the Lord, we should fell a kinship with someone who we hear talking about the Lord, even if they are a complete stranger. We are more contacted to that stranger who knows Christ that we are to our family member who does not know Christ. We of course, are to treat all people with Christian love - but Christians are bonded to other Christians by Christ. We are all united to Christ - Christ feeds us and sustains us, so to cause harm or anything negative to another Christians should be unthinkable, for it is like harming a part of your own body. May the Lord grant us the wisdom to love as Christ loves us. To be submissive to the authority God has set up, showing that we are submissive to Him and trust that He is indeed Sovereign over everything.  God Bless!!

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