Ask God to orient or reorient you to Himself. Confess any known sin. Thank Him for His forgiveness. Be still and reflect on Jesus and His sacrifice for you. Ask the Holy Spirit to open your heart and mind to God’s Word. Pray for others in your life that they, too, would know and love God today.
“2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.”
We are to obey governmental authorities and the government is to treat us justly and fairly. Why? Because God has established it—He has instituted it, He’s put it into effect. To resist the authority is to resist what God has ordained. Think about the depth of this and what Paul is telling us. Essentially, he’s telling us that it’s a dangerous thing to set oneself in opposition to a divinely ordered process. Paul wants to ensure that Christians act as good citizens and avoid civic conflicts. This does not mean blind obedience; we talked about that yesterday.
God, in His wisdom, established government to prevent chaos and lawlessness. He intended government to be used to bring order. As such, it’s a dangerous thing to set oneself in opposition to a divinely ordered process. Those who rule pose no threat to those whose lives are marked with good deeds. It is the one who does evil who fears authority.
For societies to operate, there must be rules to follow. Think about the chaos we’d have on the roads if everyone was able to drive how they feel, with no concern for anyone else. We understand this in theory, but for some reason we tend to buck up when we’re told to not do something. Think this isn’t true? Let’s take a test and see where you are.
Let’s say you’re driving down the highway and there in the median is a state patrolmen. What is your first reaction? Do you immediately hit your breaks? Why do you do this? “For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong (Romans 13:3).”
I was really convicted about this a few years back. I always went faster than the posted speed limit. It would only be 5 to 10 over, but I justified it by telling myself, “It’s okay, everybody else is speeding and the cops will let you get by with five over.” Yet, evidently, I didn’t really believe this. Every time I’d go past a law enforcement officer, I’d hit my brakes, regardless of whether or not I was going the speed limit or not. It even got so bad that if I was with Patty in the car and she saw a cop, I’d hit the brakes–my pulse would jump up–and I’d say to myself, “I hope he didn’t catch me.”
This passage rings true for me. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you.
Sometimes when we think of living in fear of the authorities, we tend to think of big crimes such as tax evasion, murder, robbery and such. But really, there are many ways that we do wrong and then live in fear of being caught. My example of speeding may seem trivial, but really, it’s wrong. I need to obey the traffic laws. If I do so, I live free from fear. I’m glad to tell you that over the years, as I’ve tried to follow the speed limit, I don’t hit the brakes immediately when I see a cop.
What about you? Are there things you need to stop doing?
How are you giving authorities your calm, qualified respect?
*From what you have just read and considered: What is a personal implication/application for your life today?
(Personalize this prayer today; make it specific to the circumstances that face you.)
Ask God to lead you through His Spirit as you go through your day. Ask Him to bring to mind the truth of the gospel and its implications for what you will encounter today. Tell Him “Yes” to His will and ask Him for His power and protection to live this “yes.” Ask God to create and reveal opportunities to proclaim the good news today. KEEP PRAYING THROUGHOUT YOUR DAY.
Inspiration and insight for the devotionals came from the following books: Reading Romans with John Stott; The Message of Romans: God’s Good News for the World (The Bible Speaks Today Series), Stott, John; Romans (The NIV Application Commentary Book 6) Moo, Douglas J.; Encountering the Book of Romans: A Theological Survey (Encountering Biblical Studies) Moo, Douglas J.; Believers Bible Commentary; The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, with the New International Version, Romans through Galatians; NIV Application Study Bible. The Cambridge Bible Commentary, Romans, Best, Ernest. Romans 8-16 For You: For reading, for feeding, for leading (God’s Word For You – Romans Series Book 2, Keller, Timothy.