Thursday, April 2, 2015

Romans Chapter 13

Romans 13:1-3

In relation to authority
Rome was the imperial capital, the seat of the empire’s civil government. As residents in Rome, Paul’s initial readers were aware of both the glory and the shame of that city in the days of Nero, who reigned from a.d. 54 to 68. But they were also citizens of Christ’s kingdom (Php_3:20; Col_1:13). Appropriately, therefore, Paul discussed a Christian’s relationship to his government and civil rulers. Both in its length and specific details this discussion is the key New Testament passage on the subject (cf. 1Ti_2:1-4; Tit_3:1; 1Pe_2:13-17).
The apostle’s basic exhortation is, Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities (lit., “higher authorities”). The basic reason for such submission is that those authorities are established by God (cf. Dan_4:17, Dan_4:25, Dan_4:34-35). In this scripture, being subject to a higher power comes from a Greek word used of a soldier’s absolute obedience to his superior officer. Scripture makes one exception to this command: when obedience to civil authority would require disobedience to God’s Word.
Unto the higher powers speaks of every position of civil authority without regard to competence, morality, reasonableness, or any other caveat.
Since God alone is the sovereign ruler of the universe, He has instituted 4 authorities on earth:
1.       The government over all citizens
2.      The church over all believers
3.      The parents over all children
4.      The masters over all employees
God instituted human government to reward good and to restrain sin in an evil, fallen world.
An individual who rebels against the authority, therefore, is rebelling against (lit., “has taken a stand against”) what God has instituted (lit., “the ordinance of God”). Such persons are thus actually rebelling against God, and bring civil and/or divine judgment on themselves. Those who obey and do right need have no fear of authorities; in fact, civil leaders commend those who do good.                                Proverbs 14:35 "The king's favour [is] toward a wise servant: but his wrath is [against] him that causeth shame."
I Peter 3:13 "And who [is] he that will harm you, if ye be followers of that which is good?" 

Romans 13:4-5

Furthermore, a civil leader is God’s servant, a concept often forgotten today. By commending those who do right (Rom_13:3), a civil leader himself does good (Rom_13:4). But on the other hand he bears arms (the sword) as God’s servant (the second time in this verse Paul referred to the ruler this way; cf. Rom_13:6), as an agent of wrath. This really is saying that if we have broken the law, we can expect to be punished. If we speed and are caught we will probably pay a pretty large fine. Other sins require other punishment, but you can be sure God has marked it down for later review.
Speaking of the sword symbolizes the government’s right to inflict punishment on those who do wrong, especially capital punishment.
In the Old Testament when someone was murdered, the closest relative went out and found the criminal and killed him. Pretty swift justice, wouldn't you say.
Numbers 35:19 "The revenger of blood himself shall slay the murderer: when he meeteth him, he shall slay him."
Governmental force, properly used, helps prevent tyranny and executes justice; it brings punishment on the wrongdoer. A Christian has two reasons to be submissive to civil authorities — to avoid possible punishment (lit., “the wrath”) and to heed his conscience, which prods him to obey God’s ordinances. Christian’s need to, out of a sense of obligation to God and to keep a clear conscience before him, not merely obey for the sake of avoiding punishment from the civil authorities.
Acts 24:16 "And herein do I exercise myself, to have always a conscience void of offence toward God, and [toward] men."
II Corinthians 1:12 "For our rejoicing is this, the testimony of our conscience, that in simplicity and godly sincerity, not with fleshly wisdom, but by the grace of God, we have had our conversation in the world, and more abundantly to you-ward."
You have heard the expression [let your conscience be your guide]. If you are a Christian, that is very good advice. The Christian has the laws of God written on the fleshly part of his or her heart. We are guided by what is pleasing unto God.
Psalms 37:31 "The law of his God [is] in his heart; none of his steps shall slide."  There will come a time when we will not be taught at all of man, but will be totally taught of God.
Hebrews 10:16 "This [is] the covenant that I will make with them after those days, saith the Lord, I will put my laws into their hearts, and in their minds will I write them;"
We can see from this that the heart of mankind is his conscience.

Romans 13:6-7

A Christian’s responsibility to civil authorities involves more than obedience (Rom_13:1, Rom_13:5). It also includes support by paying taxes (cf. Mat_22:21). This is because the leaders, as God’s servants (cf. Rom_13:4), are supposed to give their full time to governing and need support through taxes from citizens, Christians included. Paying tribute is the same as “paying taxes”. Paul uses the term in the broadest possible sense to speak of all kinds of taxes.
That tax was usually a combined income and property tax. Because God ordained human government and demands submission to it, tribute or taxes came into being. The Greek word for taxes referred specifically to taxes paid by individuals, particularly those living in a conquered nation to their foreign rulers, which even makes the taxes more distasteful.
Jesus explicitly taught that taxes are to be paid, even to the pagan Roman government. He set an example by willingly paying the temple tax as we see in Matthew.
Matthew 17:24-27  "And when they were come to Capernaum, they that received tribute [money] came to Peter, and said, Doth not your master pay tribute?" "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?" "Peter saith unto him, Of strangers. Jesus saith unto him, Then are the children free." "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." 
So a Christian ought to give everyone what he owes him (lit., “repay everyone his dues”), whether substance (taxes and revenue) or respect and honor. “Render” translates a Greek word that signifies the payment of something which is owed and is not a voluntary “contribution” as seen by the word “due”.
We are to show sincere respect and attitude to all public officials, including “tax collectors” from which the government provides for our “safety and protection”.
I Peter 2:17 "Honour all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king."
In our society today, it has become fashionable to disrespect authority of all kinds.  A few years ago our mother taught us to respect others. This is the same thing God says in His Word.
Even the world that does not have Jesus should be shown respect, if they are in higher office. It is really respect for the office we are showing. We must remember that a person is in that particular office because God put him there.
In summing up this lesson, we can see the importance of having great respect for God. We must respect Him and trust Him enough that we will also respect the people He has put in authority. Remember if we do not respect those in authority, then we are saying that God was not wise in choosing that person for that job. We must not question or accuse God, He knows best.

Romans 13:8-10

In light of the future
Discussion of believers’ obligations to civil authorities evidently triggered Paul’s thinking concerning believers’ debts to others. He commanded; Let no debt remain outstanding (lit., “Do not keep on owe anyone anything”) except the continuing debt to love one another (lit., “except loving one another”). In our society today, the number one cause of divorce is debt. Easy credit has caused our young people to over-spend, and then they start blaming each other when they cannot meet their obligations. If we would all practice not owing anyone anything, it would take many of the day to day pressures off, and we could live more peaceful lives. It takes a little longer, but if we save to get something we really want, we will appreciate it more when we do get it.
We are commanded over and over to love each other by God throughout the Scriptures. God set the example of love when He gave His only begotten Son to die on the cross for us. God's type of love we can only hope to have. Agape love asks nothing in return. It is the perfect love.
The love that we show is usually conditional. We usually love because of what someone has done for us, not in spite of what they have done to us. When Jesus was asked, what was the most important commandment that God had given us; He replied:
Mark 12:30-31 "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." "And the second [is] like, [namely] this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these."
 This is not a prohibition against a proper use of credit; it is an underscoring of a Christian’s obligation to express divine love in all interpersonal relationships. A Christian should never fall short, and so be “in debt,” in loving others (Joh_13:34-35; 1Co_16:14; Eph_5:2; Col_3:14; 1Jn_3:14, 1Jn_3:23; 1Jn_4:7, 1Jn_4:11, 1Jn_4:21).
The importance of continually showing love is seen in the explanation, For he who loves his fellow man (lit., “the other one”) has fulfilled the Law (cf. Mat_22:39; Mar_12:31). Love, not mere external conformity to rules, is the essence of the Law (cf. Gal_5:14). All of the above mentioned sins are against our fellow man. If we love our neighbor as we love ourselves, we will not commit these sins.
To demonstrate that love fulfills the law, Paul cites four of the 10 commandments that deal with human relations and ties them in with an overarching Old Testament command.
If we truly love our neighbors, we will only do what is in his best interest.
Paul then quoted various specific commands from the social section of the Ten Commandments. These prohibitions — not to commit adultery… murder… steal and covet — are the 7th, 6th, 8th, and 10th commandments, in that order (Exo_20:13-15, Exo_20:17). Paul summed up that entire section of the Law by quoting Lev_19:18. The Jewish Rabbis and the Lord Jesus summarized the social section of the Law in the same words (cf. Mat_22:39). Paul then expressed this principle in other words, Love does no harm (lit., “Love does not keep on working evil”) to its neighbor, and then he repeated (cf. Rom_13:8) his basic assertion that love fulfills the Mosaic Law. Love and charity are really the same thing in 1 Corinthians.  Let us look at a Scripture that perfectly describes love. As you read it think love in your mind every time you see charity.
I Corinthians 13:1-4 "Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become [as] sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal." "And though I have [the gift of] prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing." "And though I bestow all my goods to feed [the poor], and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing." "Charity suffereth long, [and] is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,"
I Corinthians 13:8 "Charity never faileth: but whether [there be] prophecies, they shall fail; whether [there be] tongues, they shall cease; whether [there be] knowledge, it shall vanish away."
I Corinthians 13:13 "And now abideth faith, hope, charity, these three; but the greatest of these [is] charity."  I believe we should repeat again [love is the fulfilling of the law].
Simply put, if we treat others with the same care that we have for ourselves, we will not violate any of God’s laws regarding interpersonal relationships.
Only in Christ can a person meet this or any of the other requirements of the Law (Rom_8:4).

Romans 13:11

Expressing divine love is a Christian’s constant responsibility, but it is especially crucial in understanding the present time (lit., “knowing the season”). Paul was not referring to time in general but to the end-time and to the imminent return of the Lord Jesus. It is a time, therefore, for spiritual vigilance and industriousness: wake up from your (some mss. have “our,” which conforms to the context) slumber (cf. Eph_5:14; 1Pe_5:8). This need for alertness is because our salvation (ultimate or final salvation realized at the return of the Savior; cf. Rom_8:23; Heb_9:28; 1Pe_1:5) is nearer now than when we first believed (cf. Jas_5:8). This isn’t speaking of a chronological time, but time as in a period or era. Each day we live, our salvation comes nearer. The sleep spoken of here is one of spiritual apathy or indifference or unresponsiveness to the things of God. Therefore the salvation here is not speaking of our salvation, but our glorification at the time of our death.
When Jesus returns, we will be glorified and that time draws nearer with each passing day. The bible frequently uses the return of Jesus to motivate believers to holy living.
Ecclesiastes 9:10 "Whatsoever thy hand findeth to do, do [it] with thy might; for [there is] no work, nor device, nor knowledge, nor wisdom, in the grave, whither thou goest."
We see from verses 10 and 11 that in these two Scriptures that, whatever we plan to do for God we better get after it. Salvation is for today, because we are not assured of tomorrow. We are warned in Matthew.
Matthew 24:42 "Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doth come."
I Corinthians 7:29-31 "But this I say, brethren, the time [is] short: it remaineth, that both they that have wives be as though they had none;" "And they that weep, as though they wept not; and they that rejoice, as though they rejoiced not; and they that buy, as though they possessed not;" "And they that use this world, as not abusing [it]: for the fashion of this world passeth away."
We must awake, because the coming of the Lord is near, and then the judgment.
I Thessalonians 5:1-3 "But of the times and the seasons, brethren, ye have no need that I write unto you." "For yourselves know perfectly that the day of the Lord so cometh as a thief in the night." “For when they shall say, Peace and safety; then sudden destruction cometh upon them, as travail upon a woman with child; and they shall not escape."
I Thessalonians 5:5-8" Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness." "Therefore let us not sleep, as [do] others; but let us watch and be sober." "For they that sleep sleep in the night; and they that be drunken are drunken in the night." "But let us, who are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation."
We can easily see that we must not put off salvation, it might be too late.
Each passing day in the faith brings final salvation and deliverance closer.

Romans 13:12

Paul considered the time of Christ’s return and the consummation of salvation for believers (Rom_13:11) as the start of a new day. The present time, while Christ is absent (Joh_14:2-3; Act_1:11) and Satan is at work (2Co_4:4; Eph_2:2), is described as the night (cf. 2Pe_1:19). Since “the day” is almost here, Paul urged his readers to put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. To put on the armor of light means the protection that practical righteousness provides. Paul exhorts believers to repent of and forsake their sins.
In this Scripture and the one above in Thessalonians, we see that Christians are not in darkness, we are children of the Light.
I Thessalonians 5:4-5 "But ye, brethren, are not in darkness, that that day should overtake you as a thief." “Ye are all the children of light, and the children of the day: we are not of the night, nor of darkness."
Jesus is the Light and if we are full of Him, then we are full of light, as well.
Christians are soldiers in a conflict who need to be alert and equipped for battle (Eph_6:10-17; 1Th_5:8). Upright, Christ-honoring living is often referred to as being in the light (Joh_12:36; Eph_5:8, Eph_5:14; Col_1:12; 1Th_5:5; 1Jn_1:7; 1Jn_2:10).

Romans 13:13-14

In Rom_13:13 Paul repeated his exhortation of Rom_13:12, changing the figure from warfare to lifestyle. He charged, Let us behave decently, as in the daytime (lit., “day”). Crime, violence, and wickedness are associated with darkness and the night (Joh_1:5; Joh_3:19-20; Joh_8:12; Joh_12:35, Joh_12:46; Eph_5:8, Eph_5:11; Eph_6:12; 1Th_5:7; 1Pe_2:9; 1Jn_1:5-6; 1Jn_2:9, 1Jn_2:11). Perhaps this contrast was suggested to Paul by his phrase “deeds of darkness” (Rom_13:12). At any rate the activities and attitudes he listed — orgies and drunkenness… sexual immorality and debauchery… dissension and jealousy (cf. Gal_5:19-21) — are certainly “deeds of darkness.” Walk honestly by living a life pleasing to God, manifesting in our outward behavior, the inner reality of a redeemed life. The carousing refers to wild parties, sexual orgies, brawls, riots, ect.
Wantonness has to do with all sorts of sins of the body. We can see in these Scriptures that, these sins that are going on are the same sins that brought destruction to the earth in Noah's time and also in Lot's time.
Luke 17:27-28 "They did eat, they drank, they married wives, they were given in marriage, until the day that Noe entered into the ark, and the flood came, and destroyed them all." "Likewise also as it was in the days of Lot; they did eat, they drank, they bought, they sold, they planted, they builded;"
It is interesting that Paul linked jealousy with immorality. Such actions and attitudes have no place in a Christian’s life. He belongs to “the light”; these deeds and thoughts belong to the darkness.
A Christian’s lifestyle must be pure and holy, especially in view of Christ’s approaching return (cf. Rom_13:11-12; 1Jn_3:3). The secret to living chaste lives is for Christians to clothe themselves with the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. “put on,” Eph_4:24; Col_3:10). At salvation they were “clothed with Christ” (Gal_3:27), so they should conduct themselves accordingly. Also the secret includes not thinking about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature (lit., “and do not make forethought [pronoian] for the flesh [sarkos; cf. Rom_8:3-5, Rom_8:8-9, Rom_8:12-13] for lusts”). Here with this verse we see what summarizes sanctification, the continuing spiritual process in which those who have been saved by faith are transformed into His image and likeness.
The image given here by Paul to us describes the process which is like taking off and putting on clothes which is symbolic of thoughts and behavior.
The phrase “not provision” has the basic meaning of planning ahead or forethought. Most sinful behavior results from wrong ideas and lustful desire we allow to longer in our minds.
Gal. 5:17 “For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.
In all of these lessons, I have explained that we are a spirit that dwells in a body of flesh. The soul of man is either controlled by the desires of the flesh [which is sin], or we are controlled by the spirit which desires to do God's will.
Galatians 3:27 "For as many of you as have been baptized into Christ have put on Christ."
We cannot overcome the flesh ourselves, but the Spirit of Christ within us can overcome the flesh. You see, we have no power of our own. It is the power of Christ that overcomes.
Galatians 2:20 "I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me."
If a Christian to plan out specific ways to gratify his sinful nature is wrong and out of bounds.