A Clay Jar

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Be Subject to the Governing Authorities

Romans 13:1-2

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Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except by God’s appointment, and the authorities that exist have been instituted by God. So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will incur judgment.

Romans 13:1-2 NET

Human governments take a variety of forms today. Many countries have some form of democracy where the people have a say in who their leaders are. Others live under autocratic rule, where they have no say. Sometimes, the government is benevolent. At the other extreme are those that are repressive and harsh.

The Roman government Paul was under was autocratic. And, while it was generally tolerant, it was brutal in dealing with what it saw as a threat to its rule. It had grown large through conquest and the subjugation of other nations. And it was a government that ultimately killed Paul and many others in the first centuries of church history.

Paul’s words about being subject to the governing authorities are easy to accept when that government is benevolent, and we agree with its policies. But we struggle with this when our government, like first-century Rome, is harsh or we are at odds with its policies.

But Paul’s words are applicable regardless of the form our human government takes. From the most brutal and godless to the most benevolent and godly, it makes no difference. As believers, we are to be subject to our human leaders, the governing authorities. When we rebel against them, we are rebelling against God.

It is worth pointing out that the one who instituted our human government is a higher authority. When these two authorities conflict, we should submit to God as the higher authority. Just be sure it is actually God you are obeying rather than a personal disagreement with a policy. And be prepared to suffer when you obey God rather than human authority.

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Ed Jarrett

Just an old clay jar that God continues to see fit to use in his kingdom's work. I am retired, married with 2 children, and 4 grandchildren. I have followed Jesus for many years. And I love to share what He has given me from His word.

A Note to Readers

The views expressed here are solely mine and do not necessarily reflect those of any other person, group, or organization. While I believe they reflect the teachings of the Bible, I am a fallible human and subject to misunderstanding. Please feel free to leave any comments or questions about this post in the comments section below. I am always interested in your feedback.

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