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.
“For 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. For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.”
As we touched on yesterday, the ruler serves as an instrument of God for the benefit of society. It is the person who makes it a practice of disobeying that has reason to be afraid.
Let’s look at the authorities a little more in-depth. The ruler serves as the agent of God for the punishment of the one who does wrong. The text says that “He does not bear the sword for nothing.” The sword is a symbol of the power delegated to governing authorities to enforce acceptable social conduct. Here, we have the biblical basis for the use of force by government for the maintenance of law and order. The power to punish has been delegated by God to those who rule. To disobey the laws of the land, except where they disobey the express will of God, is to violate the purpose of God Himself (Mounce).
We should obey the authorities because it is the safest thing for us to do. But that’s not the only reason, we should do so because our conscience tells us it’s the right thing to do. Isn’t that an interesting thought? Your conscience is the sense of being that’s obligated to the right and to avoid the wrong. Think of it as our “duty to God” because “He” has appointed it, and made it necessary and proper. A good citizen yields obedience because it is the will of God; a Christian makes it a part of his religion to maintain and obey the just laws of the land.
*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.