Respect and honor.
1 Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.
6 Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.
All authority comes from God.
Let’s look at this in the Old Testament in the book of Daniel.
20 He said,
“Praise the name of God forever and ever, for he has all wisdom and power.
21 He controls the course of world events; he removes kings and sets up other kings.
He gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to the scholars.
22 He reveals deep and mysterious things and knows what lies hidden in darkness, though he is surrounded by light.
23 I thank and praise you, God of my ancestors, for you have given me wisdom and strength.
You have told me what we asked of you and revealed to us what the king demanded.”
God is Sovereign (He is always in control).
We need to understand that He places people in roles of authority. He places presidents and kings in position for His purpose. And, yes, even evil leaders. This doesn’t mean that God approves of corrupt leaders but we have to trust that He is in control. If we remember this, it is much easier to do our job which is to honor and respect those in authority, even if we don’t agree with them. God will overcome evil. He will deliver His faithful servants.
The words “do not fear” are repeated over and over in Scripture. God tells us to not fear anything but Him. When we keep our focus on God, we have peace and joy in our hearts. When we keep our focus on the world – our circumstances, the news, current affairs, turmoil, war – we have fear and despair in our hearts.
In Romans 13:2 above, Paul tells us that we need to submit to authority and not rebel. If we do, we are actually rebelling against what God has instituted. There are several places in Scripture where we are told to submit to authority. Submission is vital to our walk with God. If we are unable to submit to authority in our daily life, how can we submit to authority with God? Being about to submit to authority is important because God wants to give us authority. If we are unable to submit, how can we lead?
We learn this in the interplay between Jesus and the Roman centurion.
8 But the officer said, “Lord, I am not worthy to have you come into my home. Just say the word from where you are, and my servant will be healed. 9 I know this because I am under the authority of my superior officers, and I have authority over my soldiers. I only need to say, ‘Go,’ and they go, or ‘Come,’ and they come. And if I say to my slaves, ‘Do this,’ they do it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed. Turning to those who were following him, he said, “I tell you the truth, I haven’t seen faith like this in all Israel! 11 And I tell you this, that many Gentiles will come from all over the world—from east and west—and sit down with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob at the feast in the Kingdom of Heaven. 12 But many Israelites—those for whom the Kingdom was prepared—will be thrown into outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the Roman officer, “Go back home. Because you believed, it has happened.” And the young servant was healed that same hour.
The centurion knew that one had to be under authority in order to have authority.
He told Jesus if Jesus just said the word, it would be done. This is faith in action. Another interesting thing in this interplay is the centurion was not Jewish, he was Roman. I believe this is Jesus showing us a glimpse of grace that we (Gentiles) would receive when He gave His life on the cross. It is by our faith that we believe in Him. It was the centurion’s faith that brought the healing.
In Romans 13:3, Paul tells us that if we are not doing anything wrong, then we have nothing to fear. It is only those who are doing wrong that have to fear those in authority. He goes on to tell us that if we do what is right, we bring honor upon ourselves. If we do wrong, we need to be punished. So Paul shares that we should submit to authority to avoid punishment and to keep a clear conscience. So to sum it up, do good.
Pay your taxes.
These are not words that people like to hear but it is Scriptural. We are told to pay our taxes and to support our government. If we owe taxes, pay them. If we owe fees, pay the fees. If we owe respect, pay the respect and if we owe honor, pay honor. This is God’s word.
Stay in the Light and the Love always,