Wednesday, 27 November 2013
Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. Romans 13:2
This verse begins with “therefore” as an introduction to the consequences of disobeying the prescription of the previous verse where all people are to “be subject to the governing authorities.” When we fail in this regard, we can only expect the governing authorities to respond with the force they bear against malefactors.
“Whoever” is given as an all-encompassing round up of those who would subvert the duly established authority which was appointed by God. By stating “whoever” Paul is ensuring that we note that believers are not exempt from the statement. If we think that because we are a part of Christ’s kingdom that we are not subject to earthly rule and authority, we are only deluding ourselves. And so, “whoever (including believers) resists the authority resists the ordinance of God.” Why? Because verse 1 told us so. The “authorities that exist are appointed by God.”
If we fight against our God-appointed rulers, we are fighting against what God has ordained. It couldn’t be laid out any more clearly. And such resistance “will bring judgment on themselves.” The word for “judgment” is krima, a word that is at times used for “condemnation.” However, it should be noted that civil disobedience by a believer doesn’t mean they will lose their salvation. This isn’t the type of condemnation spoken of. A sealed believer is saved, despite such wrongdoing. It is rather speaking of condemnation within the framework of the society, up to and maybe including a sentence of death.
When we do wrong, we can only expect whatever punishment is handed out for wrongdoing. And even when we don’t do wrong, if the society sees our actions as wrong, judgment may still come. The apostles found this out. Most of them were beaten, tortured, and executed for their faith. The same is true with countless millions since their time. But Peter (who was martyred for his faith) says this concerning such suffering –
“For this is commendable, if because of conscience toward God one endures grief, suffering wrongfully.” 2 Peter 1:19
Life application: At times, the values of our leaders are much different than those that we as Christians hold to. However, if their decisions don’t force us to act in a manner contrary to our faith, we must be obedient to their rules. This is right and pleasing in the sight of God who ordained those leaders to be over us.
Lord God, I want to take time today to give You thanks and gratitude for the many blessings You have bestowed upon me. How can I ask for more when You have given me so much? Help me to be content with this life and understand that I have it so much better than so many in the history of humanity who have walked upon this earth of Yours. Thank You, Lord. Yes, thank You. Amen.