Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 13

Christians and the law

Romans 13:5

Since the beginning of the Christian religion, some people have tried to change Godís message into a message about freedom. They say that Christ has given them both moral and political freedom; therefore, they oppose any kind of authority. They want to be free to behave in any way that they wish.

Paul had seen this kind of behaviour in the church at Corinth. There, people were saying that they possessed the rights of kings (1 Corinthians 4:8). One church member even believed that he had the right to have sex with his fatherís wife. Even people who were not Christians were not behaving like that (1 Corinthians 5:1). At church meetings, Christians were behaving in ways that would cause shock to other people (1 Corinthians 11:20-22).

Paul could see how much trouble this kind of behaviour would cause with the government. If Christians would not even obey Godís law, they would not respect the laws of their country. Therefore, Paul urged Christians to respect Godís authority. God had permitted the government to rule their nation, so they should respect its authority too.

Of course governments will punish people who refuse to pay their taxes. Of course people who do not obey the law will go to prison. Governments and officials even owe a duty to God to make sure that these things happen. So of course Christians should obey the law and they should pay their taxes. Otherwise, they will suffer the same punishment as anyone else who will not obey the law. Even a Christian who cannot obey an evil law will often suffer punishment for it (1 Peter 4:15-16). Christians are not free from these matters.

Next part: Christians and taxes (Romans 13:6)


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© 2018, Keith Simons.