Set the Tone | Community
So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted… Romans 13:2
“Not my emperor!” Gauis shouted and lifted his hand-lettered sign higher. “Nero is crazy! I refuse to honor his office. He’s an immoral, lying bigot and he’s not my ruler!” A cheer went up from the people who had gathered. Signs waved in the air: “Resist Now!” “Nero is Not My Leader!” “Bigots Should Not Rule!” Someone carried a plastic likeness of the emperor, depicting his decapitation. Anger sizzled through the crowd like an electric current and no one could have convinced them they were wrong.
Such scenes would have been impossible in ancient Rome, although if any ruler deserved scorn, hatred, and disrespect it was Nero. The decapitations that would follow would not include his. He was a bad dude and he’s the guy this verse is about.
If anyone had reason to incite rebellion against authority, it was Paul. At the hands of the authorities, he had already been beaten, stoned, arrested, and driven out of town because he would not stop talking about Jesus. When he wrote this letter, he was headed to Rome where he would be imprisoned again and eventually martyred. Persecuted-Paul is the man who, through the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, reminds believers that we do not have the right to personally defame or rebel against rightful authorities. Paul did not allow the authorities to cause him to sin; yet, even in his civil disobedience, he honored them and encourages us to follow his example. He honored wicked authorities because that honored God. Who do you need to honor?
How well are you applying Romans 13:1-8 to your life as it pertains to local, state, and national authorities?
Father, I get so angry at elected officials I don’t agree with. I haven’t accepted this scripture passage and submitted myself to it, but I’m willing now to have you change my heart. Help me honor the authorities I don’t like. In Jesus’ name, Amen.