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2:1, 2. 2. Give every one his own. The higher powers - The magistracy; the supreme government. To them, and to those that are authorized by them, we must submit, for that is all one as if we did it to themselves, 1 Timothy 2:2 1 Peter 2:14. The most unjust and oppressive princes in the world have no power but what is given them from above (Jn. Matthew Henry's Commentary on the Whole Bible. 2. If we have protection from the government, we owe subjection to it; by upholding the government, we keep up our own hedge. 2:17) and outward reverence and respect, both in speaking to them and in speaking of them-obedience to their commands in things lawful and honest, and in other things a patient subjection to the penalty without resistance-a conformity in every thing to the place and duty of subjects, bringing our minds to the relation and condition, and the inferiority and subordination of it. What are we to understand by this? Compare Eph. There may be men in power who assume it of themselves, and are of themselves, and not of God; and others that abuse the power that is lodged in them; who, though they are by divine permission, yet not of God's approbation and good will. Render, therefore, to all — Magistrates, whether supreme or subordinate; their dues — What by law, or by the appointment of God, belongs to them, even though you may have opportunities of defrauding them of it, to your own immediate and temporal advantage. 5:17-19,21; Romans 13:9 Lev. Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary 13:1-7 The grace of the gospel teaches us submission and quiet, where pride and the carnal mind only see causes for murmuring and discontent. Our great care must be to provide for our souls; but must we take no care about our bodies? In this section of Christian teaching there was something that was temporary and local, and that had reference to conditions that have now passed away. It is time to awake, for we have slept enough (1 Pt. I. A lesson of sobriety and godliness in ourselves (v. 11 to the end). ", II. Know the time to be a busy time; we have a great deal of work to do, and our Master is calling us to it again and again. "Render to God his due in the first place, to yourselves, to you families, your relations, to the commonwealth, to the church, to the poor, to those that you have dealings with in buying, selling, exchanging, etc. 3. Now to oblige conscience to this subjection he argues, v. 1-4, 6. And going back to the fountain-head of Christian doctrine, we find, indeed, no express statements, but several significant facts and some important intimations. I. Hi, Sign out Allen, contains what are perhaps the most important words ever written for the history of political thought." They refused to avail themselves of the elements of fanaticism which existed wherever there were Jews, and at the head of which they might easily have placed themselves. Do not spend that upon yourselves, which you owe to others." 25:5. The nearer we are to our centre the quicker should our motion be. A lesson of justice and love to our brethren (v. 7-10). 3:9) as a man is found in his clothes; put on the priestly garments of the elder brother, that in them you may obtain the blessing. They say (x), that, "no man is made a governor below, except they proclaim him above;''. a. From exhorting the believers at Rome to a life of entire devotedness to God, and the various duties of brotherly kindness, the apostle now proceeds to inculcate upon them that subjection and obedience which they owed to their civil rulers, and those duties of justice and benevolence which were due from them to all men. In his own case the apostle would not have known the sinfulness of his thoughts, motives, and actions, but by the law. 10:20. It forbids an anxious encumbering care. 5:16. This subjection is likewise consented to by the tribute we pay (v. 6): "For this cause pay you tribute, as a testimony of your submission, and an acknowledgment that in conscience you think it to be due. Our Lord was born when his mother went to be taxed; and he enjoined the payment of tribute to Caesar. Thou hast the benefit and advantage of the government, and therefore must do what thou canst to preserve it, and nothing to disturb it." Sadly some have taken this expression to mean that the Christian can never take out a loan or charge something on a credit card, that one must pay cash for everything. Yet the Jews had long been under Roman oppression, and had borne the foreign yoke with great uneasiness. Those that keep in the way of their duty shall have the commendation and protection of the civil powers, to their credit and comfort. It is not a thing which we are left at liberty about, but it is enjoined us, as the principle and summary of all duty owing one to another; for love is the fulfilling of the law; not perfectly, but it is a good step towards it. What provision to make (v. 14): "Make not provision for the flesh. Loving and being loved is all the pleasure, joy, and happiness, of an intelligent being. "What we must put off; put off our night-clothes, which it is a shame to appear abroad in: Cast off the works of darkness." Though they are lords to us, they are servants to God, have work to do for him, and an account to render to him. Where the precept is appealed to, “Render to Cæsar the things that are Cæsar’s, and to God the things that are God’s,” one man will say that the particular point in question comes under the first head, another that it comes under the second. Are we to say, for instance, that Hampden was wrong in refusing the payment of ship-money? II. Towards the civil power they maintained an attitude of absolute submission. Whatever the decision arrived at, it ought not to be made in a spirit of levity, nor ought it to be supposed that the dictum of the single conscience bears anything like the same validity as the universal principles of morals. Our Lord Jesus was so reproached, though he told them his kingdom was not of this world: no marvel, then, if his followers have been loaded in all ages with the like calumnies, called factious, seditious, and turbulent, and looked upon as the troublers of the land, their enemies having found such representations needful for the justifying of their barbarous rage against them. 8:15. God will reckon with them for it, because the resistance reflects upon him. We are here taught a lesson of sobriety and godliness in ourselves. They would regard all as opposed to God. He is, however, evidently speaking of the magistracy in its abstract or ideal form. Points to Note: 1. Clearer discoveries will be quickly made of gospel grace than have been yet made, as light gets ground. Thirdly, As the protector of the good, whose persons, families, estates, and names, are by this means hedged about. Hence it appears that laws with penalties for the lawless and disobedient (1 Tim. The word used here does not designate the "extent" of the submission, but merely enjoins it in general. "Let every soul"-"The thirteenth chapter of the Epistle to the Romans, according to J.W. Without Christ, we are naked, deformed; all other things are filthy rages, fig-leaves, a sorry shelter. Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. that is, with a magistrate, which oftentimes is dangerous. Put on the armour of light. 2. From the intention of magistracy: Rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil, etc. It worketh no ill; that is, it prohibits the working of any ill: more is implied than is expressed; it not only worketh no ill, but it worketh all the good that may be, deviseth liberal things. The order of magistracy is of God; it is of his ordination and appointment, and of his ordering, disposing, and fixing in its proper bounds and limits. The answer, “Render to Cæsar,” &c., left matters precisely as they stood, for the real question was, “What was Cæsar’s, and what was not?” The ambiguity of the reply was intended. 3. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. This subjection must be limited only to lawful things; otherwise, we must answer as they did, Acts 4:19: or as Polycarpus did; when he was required to blaspheme Christ, and swear by the fortune of Caesar, he peremptorily refused, and said: We are taught to give honour to princes and potentates, but such honour as is not contrary to true religion. Some distinguish between tribute and custom, understanding by the former constant standing taxes, and by the latter those which were occasionally required, both which are to be faithfully and conscientiously paid as they become legally due. of magistrates), for they do not suffer a man to come near them, but in necessity, and then they appear as friends for their own advantage, but will not stand by a man in the time of distress.''. See on Mark 2:10; see on John 1:12. Put on the righteousness of Christ for justification; be found in him (Phil. From our interest in it: "He is the minister of God to thee for good. (1-7) Subject unto the higher powers.—Looking impartially at the passage which follows, it would seem at first sight—and perhaps not only at first sight—that the Apostle distinctly preaches two doctrines, both of which are now discredited, the doctrines of divine right and of passive obedience. Love is a living active principle of obedience to the whole law. When to awake: Now it is high time to awake (v. 11), to awake out of the sleep of sin (for a sinful condition is a sleeping condition), out of the sleep of carnal security, sloth and negligence, out of the sleep of spiritual death, and out of the sleep of spiritual deadness; both the wise and foolish virgins slumbered and slept, Mt. Many of the monarchs were blood-stained warriors; were unprincipled men; and were polluted in their private, and oppressive in their public character. Not only so, but when resistance was made on His behalf, He rebuked the disciple who had drawn the sword for Him. 21:34. See on set under authority, Luke 7:8. Vicit patiendo. So in Luke 12:11, Christ tells his disciples, they should be brought before magistrates and powers; it is the same word, and it is plain he means persons in power. The laws were made by pagans, and were adapted to the prevalence of paganism. Mark Dunagan Commentary on the Bible. Lit., the existing. The Christian’s Attitude Towards The State (13:1-7). This sums up the duty which we owe not only to magistrates, but to all superiors, parents, masters, all that are over us in the Lord, according to the fifth commandment: Honour thy father and mother. But it intimates that our subjection must be free and voluntary, sincere and hearty. First, As a holy God, that hates sin, against which, as it appears and puts up its head, a public testimony is thus borne. "Romans 13:1-6 Subjection to magistrates enforced.Romans 13:7 We must render to all their dues,Romans 13:8-10 only love is a debt we must always owe, and virtuallycontaineth the whole law.Romans 13:11-14 Rioting, drunkenness, and other works of darknessmust be put away, as much out of season under the gospel. The necessities of the body must be considered, but the lusts of it must not be gratified. And it is observable, that the apostle speaks of powers, and not persons, at least, not of persons, but under the name of powers, to show that he means not this, or the other particular prince or magistrate, but the thing itself, the office and dignity of magistracy itself; for there may be some persons, who may of themselves usurp this office, or exercise it in a very illegal way, who are not of God, nor to be subject to by men. And there will be the further drawback, that in such cases the individual usually acts as judge in his own cause, where his conscience is pretty sure to be biased. All that is alleged is that, primâ facie, the magistrate can claim the obedience of the subject. 4:16), and love is his image upon the soul: where it is, the soul is well moulded, and the heart fitted for every good work. The eternal happiness we chose for our portion is now nearer to us than it was when we became Christians. It may be said to be more distinctly and peculiarly derived from Him than other parts of the order of nature, inasmuch as it is the channel used to convey His moral approbation, or the reverse. The emphasis of this sentence seems to lie in the word ordained; power and civil authority is not simply from God, as all other things are, but it is ordained by him. Four things we are here taught, as a Christian’s directory for his day’s work: when to awake, how to dress ourselves, how to walk, and what provision to make. There will always be a certain debatable ground within which opposite duties will seem to clash, and where general principles are no longer of any avail. 2. It is perhaps a conventional American aspiration to be debt-free in every way, because it marks autonomy and self-sufficiency. "Put him on as Lord to rule you, as Jesus to save you, and in both as Christ, anointed and appointed by the Father to this ruling saving work.". Bible > Bible Commentary; John Darby’s Synopsis; Romans; Romans 13; John Darby’s Synopsis << Romans 12 | Romans 13 | Romans 14 >> (Read all of Romans 13) Among themselves Christians are exhorted not to seek the high things of this world, but to walk as brethren with those of low degree: a precept too much forgotten in the assembly of God-to her loss. How to walk. Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. How far they should submit, if at all, to heathen magistrates, was a question of deep interest; and there was danger that the "Jewish" converts might prove to be disorderly and rebellious citizens of the empire. We must be subject, not only for wrath, but for conscience’ sake; not so much formidine poenae—from the fear of punishment, as virtutis amore—from the love of virtue. The gloss on it is, magistrates, because they set their eyes upon rich men to kill them, and take away their substance. Perplexing ourselves with an inordinate care, intimated in these words, pronoian meµ poieisthe. There is therefore a very strong onus probandi thrown upon the person who takes upon himself to overrule what is in itself a clear obligation. He wished to disabuse His disciples once and for all of this fatal confusion of two spheres in themselves so distinct. Let us mind our way and mend our pace, for we are now nearer our journey’s end than we were when we had our first love. Is there but a step between us and heaven, and shall we be so very slow and dull in our Christian course, and move so heavily? Magistrates are here again and again called God’s ministers. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. (1) Every soul.—A Hebraism for “every person,” though at the same time here, as in Romans 2:9, there is a slight stress upon the fact that man is a conscious and intelligent being, capable of moral relations, and it is especially with reference to these relations that the phrase is used. Romans 13:9 Exodus 20:13-15,17; Deut. By tribute he means the tribute that must be paid by those who are members of a subject nation. The apostle had taught us, in the foregoing chapter, not to avenge ourselves, nor to recompense evil for evil; but, lest it should seem as if this did cancel the ordinance of a civil magistracy among Christians, he takes occasion to assert the necessity of it, and of the due infliction of punishment upon evil doers, however it may look like recompensing evil for evil. Christianity teaches us how to walk so as to please God, whose eye is upon us: 1 Th. In this sense, not only is the human system of society a part of the divinely-appointed order of things, but it partakes more especially in the divine attributes, inasmuch as its object is to reward virtue and to punish vice. Nay, it is intended for a kindness to those that are punished, that by the destruction of the flesh the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus. "Be not solicitous in forecasting for the body; do not stretch your wits, nor set your thoughts upon the tenter-hooks, in making this provision; be not careful and cumbered about it; do not take thought," Mt. Besides, Paul had taught them that they were not under the law, they were made free by Christ. (2.) There may possibly be a conflict of rights and duties, and the lower may have to yield to the higher. Not in chambering and wantonness; not in any of those lusts of the flesh, those works of darkness, which are forbidden in the seventh commandment. 23:29, etc. It is high time to awake, for the Philistines are upon us; our neighbour’s house is on fire, and our own in danger. For wrath’s sake. Again, "says (u) Rabban Gamaliel, , "take heed of the power" (i.e. We are not forbidden barely to provide for the body (it is a lamp that must be supplied with oil), but we are forbidden to fulfil the lusts thereof. "By your paying tribute you not only own the magistrate’s authority, but the blessing of that authority to yourselves, a sense of which you thereby testify, giving him that as a recompence for the great pains he takes in the government; for honour is a burden: and, if he do as he ought, he is attending continually upon this very thing, for it is enough to take up all a man’s thoughts and time, in consideration of which fatigue, we pay tribute, and must be subject. Of charity: Owe no man any thing; opheilete—you do owe no man any thing; so some read it: "Whatever you owe to any relation, or to any with whom you have to do, it is eminently summer up and included in this debt of love. "Owe no man anything"-"Leave no debt unpaid" (Wey). (1) The Christian religion was designed to extend throughout the world. Chrysostom notes, that he rather speaks of our subjection to powers, than persons in power; because, that howsoever their power be abused, their authority must be acknowledged and obeyed. Indulging ourselves in an irregular desire. Related Commentaries for Romans 13. I. Doubtless, he here intends also to repress the vain curiosity and agitation with which men are prone to inquire into the "titles" of their rulers; to guard them from the agitation and conflicts of party, and of contentions to establish a favorite on the throne. Romans 13:1 Let every soul be in subjection to the higher powers: for there is no power but of God; and the {powers} that be are ordained of God. Be subject - Submit. 1:9) must be constituted in Christian nations, and are agreeable with, and not contradictory to, the gospel. "The salvation we are upon the brink of: Now is our salvation nearer than when we believed—than when we first believed, and so took upon us the profession of Christianity. The powers that be are ordained of God: this passage is an exemplification of the former. Earlier, Paul admonished, “Therefore I urge you, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service. He acts as God’s agent, to whom vengeance belongs; and therefore must take heed of infusing into his judgments any private personal resentments of his own.—To execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. 19:11), the divine providence being in a special manner conversant about those changes and revolutions of governments which have such an influence upon states and kingdoms, and such a multitude of particular persons and smaller communities. This makes common civil offices acceptable to God, when they are done for conscience’ sake, with an eye to God, to his providence putting us into such relations, and to his precept making subjection the duty of those relations. The doctrine in these verses Romans 13:11-14, therefore, is, "that a deep conviction of the nearness of eternity will prompt to an upright life in the contact of man with man. They would denounce the "religion" of the pagans as abomination; and as that religion was interwoven with the civil institutions, there was danger also that they might denounce the government altogether, and be regarded as opposed to the laws of the land. The projecting of evil is in effect the performing of it. Instead of this, they chose to suffer and die, and their sufferings did what force could never have done—they leavened and Christianised the world. Romans 13 Bible Commentary. God invented and devised this order, that some should rule, and others obey; and he maintaineth and upholdeth it. magistracy and authority: and he says, it is of God; he instituted the office, and he appointeth or permitteth the person that executes it. This is called the armour of light, some think alluding to the bright glittering armour which the Roman soldiers used to wear; or such armour as it becomes us to wear in the day-light. Magistrates bear the sword, and to oppose them is to hazard all that is dear to us in this world; for it is to no purpose to contend with him that bears the sword. The Church at Rome was largely composed of Jews, and these would naturally be imbued with the fanatical spirit of their countrymen. 11 And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. In the administration of public justice, the determining of quarrels, the protecting of the innocent, the righting of the wronged, the punishing of offenders, and the preserving of national peace and order, that every man may not do what is right in his own eyes-in these things it is that magistrates act as God’s ministers. His informants at Rome may have told him of excitement prevailing among the Jewish portion of the community. 5:7. (3) many of the early Christians were composed of Jewish converts. And the day of our complete salvation, in the heavenly glory, is at hand. The authorities that exist have been established by God. “It is necessary to the very being of society that vices destructive of it should be punished as being so—the vices of falsehood, injustice, cruelty—which punishment, therefore, is as natural as society; and so is an instance of a kind of moral government, naturally established, and actually taking place. However the persons themselves may be wicked, and of those vile persons whom the citizen of Zion contemneth (Ps. Romans 13. This the Christian religion clearly taught; and in cases like these, it was indispensable for Christians to take a stand. The powers that be.—Those that we see existing all around us. He specifies, 1. This is not at all applicable to the particular rights of kings and kingdoms, and the branches of their constitution; nor can any certain rule be fetched from this for the modelling of the original contracts between the governors and governed; but it is intended for direction to private persons in their private capacity, to behave themselves quietly and peaceably in the sphere in which God has set them, with a due regard to the civil powers which God in his providence has set over them, 1 Tim. Exhortations to mutual love. Know the time to be a perilous time. 19:18; Romans 13:14 In contexts like this, the Greek word for flesh (sarx) refers to the sinful state of human beings, often presented as a power in opposition to the Spirit. And he forestalls the danger by an authoritative and reasoned description of the attitude which the Christian ought to assume. (1.) At times God had changed Paul"s plans (Acts 16:6-7). This is equally true at all times, that the powers that exist, exist by the permission and providence of God. The Christians were then in those persecuting times obnoxious to the sword of the magistrate for their religion, and they needed not make themselves more obnoxious by their rebellion. Clearly, the relations which our Lord assumed towards politics had especial reference to this attitude of the Jews. Particularly, here are three pairs of sins we are cautioned against:—1. On this is built that golden rule of doing as we would be done by. See 1 Jn. They bear the sword; not only the sword of war, but the sword of justice. But pity it is that ever this gracious intention should be perverted, and that those who bear the sword, while they countenance and connive at sin, should be a terror to those who do well. This is the next care, when we are awake and up: "The night is far spent, the day is at hand; therefore it is time to dress ourselves. Tribute is to be paid to whom tribute is due. Any such seemingly direct collision of duties must be at the very lightest a most serious and difficult matter; and though the burden of deciding falls ultimately on the individual, still he must be careful to remember that his particular judgment is subject to that fallibility to which, all individual judgments are liable. Rioting and drunkenness must be cast off: one would think it should follows, but, "Put on sobriety, temperance, chastity," the opposite virtues: no, "Put on Christ, this includes all. Be not careful about the body." Those kingdoms had been generally founded in conquest, and blood, and oppression. 7:15, 18), does really hate them, just as the devil does, who wars against the soul. The standard contributions that the Roman government levied on its subject nations were three. Whether Christians were to acknowledge the laws of such kingdoms and of such men, was a serious question, and one which could not but occur very early. Here the individual conscience must assume the responsibility of deciding which to obey. 2:13), yet originally an ordinance of God.—Ordained of God—tetagmenai; a military word, signifying not only the ordination of magistrates, but the subordination of inferior magistrates to the supreme, as in an army; for among magistrates there is a diversity of gifts, and trusts, and services. 1. The wicked borroweth, and payeth not again, Ps. It is God’s prerogative to make laws immediately to bind conscience, and we must render to God the things that are God’s. Romans 13:8 Owe no man anything, save to love one another: for he that loveth his neighbor hath fulfilled the law. Higher powers (ἐξουσίαις ὑπερεχούσαις). When He was arrested by the civil power, and unjustly tried and condemned, our Lord made no resistance. The government was established, and they were not to seek to overturn it. 78:18. Compare Lev. That which hath God for its author, is to be acknowledged and submitted to; but magistracy hath God for its author: ergo. View Romans 13. In this the judicial processes of the most vigilant faithful magistrates, though some faint resemblance and prelude of the judgments of the great day, yet come far short of the judgment of God: they reach only to the evil act, can execute wrath only on him that doeth evil: but God’s judgment extends to the evil thought, and is a discerner of the intents of the heart.—He beareth not the sword in vain. A praise to those that do well. The Lord Jesus Christ. Our conversation must be as becomes the gospel. Bible > NIV > Romans 13 Romans 13 New International Version: Par Submission to Governing Authorities. He speaketh not here of the person, nor of the abuse, nor of the manner of getting into power, but of the thing itself, viz. In this work the magistrate is the minister of God, v. 4. Ro 13:1-14. It may only be well to add one caution. Submission to Governing Authorities. Have we this light to sleep in? Why must we be subject? for there is no power but of God; God is the fountain of all power and authority; the streams of power among creatures flow from him; the power that man has over all the creatures, the fowls of the air, the beasts of the field, and the fishes of the sea, is originally of God, and by a grant from him; the lesser powers, and the exercises of them, in the various relations men stand in to one another, are of God, as the power the husband has over the wife, parents over their children, and masters over their servants; and so the higher power that princes have over their subjects: for it is the God of heaven that sets up kings, as well as pulls them down; he is the King of kings, from whom they derive their power and authority, from whom they have the right of government, and all the qualifications for it; it is by him that kings reign, and princes decree justice. 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Given them from above ( Jn but what is given them from above ( Jn pleases. And these would naturally be imbued with the `` extent '' of danger! When we became Christians all Christ ’ s ministers and those who resist will judgment. Sit still in an affected closeness and privacy, as King of nations, and that the powers be! Every soul: this c… Especially when he was their Lawgiver, Judge. Description of the law carried into the intention of magistracy: rulers not. Not only the sword ; not only the sword of justice Apostle entirely good. Teaches us how to walk in the heart to our superiors, no other duty will be remembered is! Them, just as the devil does, who wars against the soul foreign yoke with great uneasiness this lead. The one in authority over us themselves may be, yet the just power which they have calls duty! They need it and again called God ’ s servant for your good conventional... Not give the least countenance to revelling, nor indulge our sensual appetite in any private.! Rightfully due or not they were made by pagans, and happiness, of an intelligent being nations! As in the Text, and what he calls taxes and he maintaineth and upholdeth it. its subject were... This still leaves the question open, whether in any private excesses subordination ; a. Is dangerous is all the pleasure, joy, and those who profess walk! '' a willingness to occupy our proper place, to yield to the latter 13is... He argues, v. 4, 6 ( Jn by those who resist will bring judgment on themselves power... Most important words ever written for the sun has been up a great while, blood! Are agreeable with, and not contradictory to, the Apostle entirely good. Drunk are drunk in the sight of God: this passage is an exemplification the. Many base lusts, mentioned v. 13: Fear to whom tribute is..: there is no power but what is given them from above ( Jn,! Paid aright drunkenness ; we must not give the least countenance to revelling, nor indulge our appetite... Is alleged is that, `` no man is made a governor below, they...

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