Today's Reading: Romans 13:1
What might make you uncomfortable:The call to honor our authorities can be an inconvenient way to live.
Paul begin's today's reading with the following quote:
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God
There's a common complaint in our culture today heard on television and radio, "You can't legislate morality!" There's a problem with this statement, however.
All laws are morals! Laws, by definition, define what is right or wrong for society. Although men have the law written on their hearts (Romans 2), they often ignore it and willfully do wrong. Because of the sinfulness of men (a theme previously explored in Romans), God established earthly governments to help enforce His universal moral code.
The Roman Church lived in the midst of a very wicked political system. However, Paul tells them to honor God's authorities. Christians are called to live in the tension between honoring authority and speaking truth to unrighteous rulers.
Obviously, when authorities call us to violate God's laws, Christians are also called to take a stand. Many times Paul himself violated the law of the land by the illegal preaching of the Gospel. Daniel violated the Emperor's law by praying to God. Esther violated the Persian law of genocide by standing up to the King. Notice that the aforementioned examples concern spiritual issues and issues of justice.
The Bible says when the kings of the earth oppose God, He laughs (Psalm 2). He has a way of dealing with unrighteous governments... but dishonoring officials because of our own pet political issues is not an option for followers of Jesus.
Paul gives two practical ways Christians can honor authority: pay taxes and honor. To honor means to "put value upon." When we pay taxes and also honor our government with our speech, we create an atmosphere of honor in society.
The government has been called to legislate God's universal moral code. Let's pray for our government, get involved in our government, vote for righteous rulers, honor our rulers with our speech, and speak truth to power when necessary.