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.
“This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.”
Part of what it means to submit to the authorities is to pay taxes. For some, this is a hard thing to hear. I myself can find myself getting frustrated when I look at my pay stub and see the amount of money that goes for taxes. It’s frustrating, but it shouldn’t be. Believers are to carry out this particular civil obligation because those who levy taxes are servants of God.
Have you ever thought of it like that before? It’s easy to think of them as those “evil tax collectors,” but God calls for us to look at this from a different perspective. One that sees them as devoting their time and energies to governing. Remember that we’ve already seen that they are “God’s servants” in a sense, even though they might not even see it as such, in fact they may even be non-believers. It doesn’t matter, God has granted them the authority with which they secure and maintain civil order. And think God they do! Could you imagine just how bad things could be if people were allowed to run amuck? The fact is we have running water, power, sewage, waste disposal, paved roads and law and order because of these authorities.
We are under obligation to those in authority in government (cf. Mark 12:16). We’re to pay our taxes where taxes are due and where such charges are appropriate. We’re not to gripe and complain about them, but rather we’re to respect and honor governing authorities, “not because they are powerful and influential men, but because they have been appointed by God (New American Commentary, Mounce).”
Taxes are not the only thing we’re to pay—we’re to also pay revenue, respect, and honor. Respect and honor seem to be something that is lacking right now in our current political context.
Think about our own political circumstances we find ourselves in today. Think about how easy it is to get wrapped up in all the complaining. We’re not to live this way; we’re to work for their good. In fact, one of our heart attitudes is to put the success of others above our own (Phil. 2:3-4). The truth is, we need to live with gratitude for all of the social benefits that come from a properly managed state. Yes, there are things that should change, and we should work within the avenues available to bring about change. But in the midst of everything, we must never forget that we are under obligation to abide by the accepted regulations. Undergirding all secular law and order is the authority of God delegated to those who rule (Mounce).
Overall, Romans 13 gives a very positive view of the role of government. When Paul talks in verse seven of paying taxes, and providing “revenue,” and paying respect and honor, he is inviting Christians to full participation in the public life of citizenry.
*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.