Useful Bible Studies > Romans Commentary > chapter 13

Governments and the attitudes of Christians

Romans 13:1-2

Rulers and governments often use their power in a wrong, evil or even cruel manner. Many people therefore argue that governments should have as little power as possible. Nobody should have authority over anyone else, they say.

That is not what the Bible teaches. It says that governments do important work in this world. They organise our cities and our societies. They deal with and punish criminals. They make laws to try to stop certain kinds of wrong behaviour. When governments do these things properly, they are doing Godís work in this world.

We might think that our governments gained their power by political skill or military strength. That may be correct, but in reality their authority comes from God. So, Christ told Pilate that all his power in fact came from God. Pilate would have no authority if God had not given it to him (John 19:10-11).

That means that rulers and governments are responsible to God for their actions. That is a very serious matter, because God will be their judge (Psalm 2: Psalm 110:5-6).

That also means that Christians should respect their rulers. Of course they cannot obey any laws that tell them to do evil things. Of course they try to help the weakest people in their country. They care about those people who suffer because of their governmentís actions. However, usually most laws are not for an evil purpose, but for a good purpose. Therefore, Christians must obey the laws of their country. They should be good citizens, not just because of the power of their government, but also because of their duties to God.

Next part: Rulers as the servants of God (Romans 13:3-4)


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