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Romans Chapter 13:1-14

Memory verses for this week: 1 Pet 1:22  Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

1 Pet 1:23  Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever.


Introduction:     Last week, in  chapter 12, we found that we are to present our bodies a living sacrifice to God.   God’s desire has always been for His people to obey His commandments and to show our love one for another.


I.                    The Obedient Christian in Relation to Civil Government 

Rom 13:1  Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.


We have a Christian obligation to follow the laws of our land.  When we pay our taxes honestly and obey the speed limits, we honor God by following these laws.  There are many lessons taught in Chapter 13.  Ten things we can learn are:

1.          A Christian should be the best citizen of his or her   community.

2.        A good Christian is always a good citizen.

3.     A poor Christian, as a rule, is a poor citizen.

4.  The first responsibility of every Christian is to God.

5.  God is the Author of civil government.

6.   If one does not have the proper attitude toward his governments, odds are that he will not have the proper attitude towards God.

7.    All Christians should obey the laws of their city, county, state and nation.

8.     Christians should have the proper respect for all officers of the law.

9.      Resistance to officers of the law is to be resistant towards God since He was the one who ordained the powers that be.

10.    A Christian should not disobey the Word of God or his convictions in order to obey a civil law.  If the civil law is conflict with God’s Word, we should obey God and pay the penalty for disobeying the civil law.


In the real Lord’s Prayer, Jesus told us that we are not of this world.  

John 17:11  And now I am no more in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to thee. Holy Father, keep through thine own name those whom thou hast given me, that they may be one, as we are.

John 17:12  While I was with them in the world, I kept them in thy name: those that thou gavest me I have kept, and none of them is lost, but the son of perdition; that the scripture might be fulfilled.

John 17:13  And now come I to thee; and these things I speak in the world, that they might have my joy fulfilled in themselves.

John 17:14  I have given them thy word; and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

John 17:15  I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil.

John 17:16  They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.

John 17:17  Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth.  

While we are not of this world, that does not mean that we do not have duties and responsibilities to perform while we are alive.  Paul states here in verse one that “The powers (governmental authority) are ordained of God.”  So our attitude should be one of submission.  There truly is no authority except from God, who gives His permission. 

John 19:10  Then saith Pilate unto him, Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee?

John 19:11  Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.


Rom 13:2  Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 

We see that if we resist the powers of government (civil laws), we resist the ordinance of God.  This does not mean that we should violate the Word of God in order to obey a man-made law.  As we said earlier, the final authority is the law of God, and to it we should be true.  If we violate man-made laws that are not contrary to the will of God, we should suffer the penalty without murmuring.  A few months ago I was returning from Dallas, and I had my cruise control set on 73 mph.  While this was beyond the normal speed limit, I thought I could get by without getting pulled over.  What I forgot was that as darkness fell, the speed limit dropped to 65 mph, and because I had recently installed a new set of tires one size bigger, I was traveling 75 mph.  I come over a hill, found one of our State Troopers who was able to clarify my lack of respect for the law.  And several dollars later, I now travel a bit slower.   But it was my fault, and I should have been driving the speed limit.  These men are simply doing their job, and that is to keep the highways safe for everyone to drive.  Officers of the law should not be feared by law abiding citizens.   The laws were made to protect us and to punish those who violate them.  

Rom 13:3  For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

Rom 13:4  For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Rom 13:5  Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 

Officers of the law are ministers of God for good.   The state has divine authority to punish those who break the law.  We, as Christians, should submit to civil authority not because of fear, but because we desire to be obedient to our conscience.  When our minds have been enlightened by the Word of God, we should know what is right and do that. 

1 Pet 2:13  Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;

1 Pet 2:14  Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.

1 Pet 2:15  For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men:

1 Pet 2:16  As free, and not using your liberty for a cloak of maliciousness, but as the servants of God.

1 Pet 2:17  Honour all men. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.


Rom 13:6  For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

Rom 13:7  Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

 As I prepared this lesson in late March, we know April 15th will soon be upon us.  It is a time of agony for many of us, as we have this deadline to file our tax returns for the prior year.   Those who don’t want to pay cite many reasons for not wanting to pay the tax.  I saw a cartoon this week where Snoopy on the Peanuts Comic strip was writing a letter.  He wrote “Dear IRS,  I no longer wish to be involved with you.  Please remove me from your mailing list.”   I laughed when I read it and thought how much I’d love to be removed also.  But we must pay our taxes to have schools for our children, provide safe communities to live, and to have highways to drive on.  All of these things come from the revenue we pay by taxes.  Christians have a command to pay taxes.  

Mat 22:15  Then went the Pharisees, and took counsel how they might entangle him in his talk.

Mat 22:16  And they sent out unto him their disciples with the Herodians, saying, Master, we know that thou art true, and teachest the way of God in truth, neither carest thou for any man: for thou regardest not the person of men.

Mat 22:17  Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not?

Mat 22:18  But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites?

Mat 22:19  Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny.

Mat 22:20  And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription?

Mat 22:21  They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.


Mat 17:24  And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute money came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?

Mat 17:25  He saith, Yes. And when he was come into the house, Jesus prevented him, saying, What thinkest thou, Simon? of whom do the kings of the earth take custom or tribute? of their own children, or of strangers?

Mat 17:26  Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free.

Mat 17:27  Notwithstanding, lest we should offend them, go thou to the sea, and cast an hook, and take up the fish that first cometh up; and when thou hast opened his mouth, thou shalt find a piece of money: that take, and give unto them for me and thee. 


II.    True Love Manifested in Perfect  Obedience

 Rom 13:8  Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law. 

In verse 7, we commanded to render unto those whom things are due.  What we own is truly all from God.  Our homes, our families, are all a blessing from the Lord.  So we need to realize these things aren be careful that we pay all of our dues and taxes to all men.   We should respect all of the laws and commands of God,  and loving one another is one of the greatest.   What did God mean by verse 8 when He said to owe no man any thing?   Probably it means just what it says.  That we should strive our very best to live in a debt free situation where we can have most of our assets available to be used of the Lord as He sees fit.  But there is no doubt whatsoever that this means we should never take out a loan without the capacity to repay.   The bible has many references to money, and where we spend out money and what we buy says a lot about our character. 

If we owe something to someone else, that person (or bank) has the rule over us.   And we should always be honest and pay our bills.  Most of our needs are met each day by the Lord and can easily be met with the salary we are paid.  The problem that we have is many times our wants are so many that we go into debt in order to get more things.  And things are not what it important.  Our service to God and our fellow man should be the foremost thing on our agenda. 

Luke 12:13  And one of the company said unto him, Master, speak to my brother, that he divide the inheritance with me.

Luke 12:14  And he said unto him, Man, who made me a judge or a divider over you?

Luke 12:15  And he said unto them, Take heed, and beware of covetousness: for a man's life consisteth not in the abundance of the things which he possesseth.


Prov 22:26  Be not thou one of them that strike hands, or of them that are sureties for debts.

Prov 22:27  If thou hast nothing to pay, why should he take away thy bed from under thee?


Prov 22:7  The rich ruleth over the poor, and the borrower is servant to the lender. 

Heb 13:5  Let your conversation be without covetousness; and be content with such things as ye have: for he hath said, I will never leave thee, nor forsake thee.

Heb 13:6  So that we may boldly say, The Lord is my helper, and I will not fear what man shall do unto me. 

Phil 4:11  Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content.

Phil 4:12  I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

Phil 4:13  I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. 


Rom 13:9  For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

Rom 13:10  Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law. 

Verse 9 lists six of the ten commandments found over in chapter 20 of Exodus and speaks also of loving our neighbour as ourselves.  Jesus told the scribe  that if we put God first and love our neighbor as ourselves, we will not be guilty of breaking any of the commandments. 

Mark 12:28  And one of the scribes came, and having heard them reasoning together, and perceiving that he had answered them well, asked him, Which is the first commandment of all?

Mark 12:29  And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord:

Mark 12:30  And thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment.

Mark 12:31  And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.


True love does no wrong to our neighbor.  Love is the fulfilling of the law. 

Love to God will admit to no other gods.  It will never dishonor God’s name.  Love to God will cause us to reverence His day. (Sunday).  Love will give, but never steal, and love will never lie.


III.           Nearness of the Second Coming of Christ 

Rom 13:11  And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

Rom 13:12  The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light. 

These verses are an admonition to God’s people to wake up to the fact that Jesus is coming soon.  We are commanded to walk while it is yet day.  If people could realize that the time is drawing nigh for the soon return of our Savior, They would live a more pure and separated life so that they might win others over to Jesus. 

John 9:4  I must work the works of him that sent me, while it is day: the night cometh, when no man can work.

John 9:5  As long as I am in the world, I am the light of the world. 

John 4:35  Say not ye, There are yet four months, and then cometh harvest? behold, I say unto you, Lift up your eyes, and look on the fields; for they are white already to harvest.

John 4:36  And he that reapeth receiveth wages, and gathereth fruit unto life eternal: that both he that soweth and he that reapeth may rejoice together.

John 4:37  And herein is that saying true, One soweth, and another reapeth.


In his second book on Romans, J. Vernon McGee made an excellent point on verses 11-12.   

“Paul said this over nineteen hundred years ago, and certainly we ought to say it with a little more urgency in this day in which we are living.  Seeing that ye know the time of the season, it is now the hour for us to wake out of sleep, for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.  Th night is passing, it is far spent, and the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness and let us put on the armor of light.  If we are really looking for the return of Christ, it will purify our lives.  1 John 3:3 says “And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.”  We need to be looking for the imminent coming of Christ.” 

Rom 13:13  Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

Rom 13:14  But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

 We are to walk as separated people from the world.   We should be clothed with the characteristics of Jesus Christ and walk as He walked.   As we read over in Matthew 22:35-40, we are to love the Lord with all of our heart, soul, and mind.  And then to love our neighbor as ourselves.  When we do those things, we honor God.  It says on these two commandments hang all the law and prophets.


Internet Bible Studies are prepared and distributed free of charge.  The lessons may not be sold without consent.   If you have questions or wish to discuss the lessons, or possibly need help in finding Jesus Christ as your Personal Lord and Savior, contact David Parham at 940-322-4343.


Prov 4:18  But the path of the just is as the shining light, that shineth more and more unto the perfect day.


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