1. The thirteenth chapter opens with a call for those who are living a life of “spiritual worship” by offering their “bodies as a living __________________” (Romans 12:1-2) to do so even in relationship to national governments. “Let every person be subject to the _________________ authorities” (Romans 13:1) is the expectation. The reason that this is true is, “For there is no _______________ except from ________, and those that exist have been ________________ by God” (Romans 13:1b). For Paul, the ones who are placed in positions of power are placed there by God. This is true whether the powers are good or evil. An example of good might be David (Acts 13:22). An example of an evil king placed there by God might be Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 25:8-9; see Jeremiah 52:10-11 and Daniel 3:1-7). The strong admonition regarding resisting authorities is, “Therefore, whoever resists the _________________ resists what God has _________________, and those who resist will incur judgment” (Romans 13:2). This attitude is seen regularly in the Scriptures. See I Timothy 2:1-2, Titus 3:1, and I Peter 2:13-17. However, one must remember that these are delegated powers of God; He is the final authority! See Ephesians 1:20-21, Philippians 2:9-10, and Colossians 1:16 and 2:10.
2. It is entirely possible for “the laws of the land” to be in conflict with “the laws of God.” If this happens, what is a Christian to do? When faced with this dilemma by being told not to preach, the apostles Peter and John had a very direct answer: “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to ________ rather than to ________, you must judge, for we cannot but speak of what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20). A few days later, while they were preaching, they were arrested and brought before the council. The apostles were confronted with the fact that they had been told to stop preaching. Their response? “We must obey God rather than _______” (see Acts 5:17-32). The concept is: when there is a conflict between what God requires and the laws of the land, a Christian will follow God’s will and take the judgment handed out by the government. This concept can be seen in practice in imprisonments suffered by Peter (Acts 12:1-5) and Paul (Acts 16:19-24). This can also be seen in the Old Testament in cases such as Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego (Daniel 3:8-30) and Daniel (Daniel 61:28). When there is conflict between what God wants and what the government demands, Christians are expected to follow God.
3. In Romans 13: 3-4, Paul offers a gnomic statement, that is a statement of general truth. That this statement does not always hold true can be seen in Paul’s life since, ironically, he was put to death by the Roman government that he spoke about. Although the event is not recorded in the Bible, tradition tells us that Paul was executed by the sword by the Roman government. The striking difference here is between the attitude of the average Jew and that of Christianity. The Jew was in constant rebellion against Rome. Even a religious order, the Zealots, was formed to fight Roman domination. Christianity, on the other hand, has had the marching orders of, “If possible, so far as it depends on you, live ______________________ with all” (Romans 12:18).
4. The practical application of subjection to the governmental powers is summarized in Romans 13:5-7. That is:
* Be in ____________________ to the powers that be – Romans 13:5
* Pay your ____________ – Romans 13:6
* Pay to all in government what is due them: – Romans 13:7
* ______________ to whom taxes are owed
* ______________ to whom revenue is owed
* ______________ to whom respect is owed
* ______________ to whom honor is owed
5. The next section emphasizes the way that living a life of sacrifice can be done in a single word: love. The message is, “Owe no one anything, except to ___________ each other” (Romans 13:8). It is Paul’s assertion that any and every part of the law can be summed up in the word “love” (Romans 13:8b-10). This agrees with Jesus’ statement in Matthew 22:36-40.
6. The final thought in chapter 13 has to do with the urgency that each Christian should feel. Using terms such as “___________ from sleep” (Romans 13:11) and “The ___________ is far gone; the ____________ is at hand” (Romans 13:12) Paul reminds the Christians in Rome that it is important to “walk properly” (Romans 13:13). To do this, one must avoid sin and “put on the Lord Jesus Christ and make no provision for the ____________, to gratify its desires” (Romans 13:14). In Galatians 3:27, Paul reminds us that, “For as many of you as were ______________ into Christ have put on Christ.” In our study of Romans 6, he made it clear that those who have been baptized into Christ have chosen a different lifestyle even to the point of stating, “So you must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ” (Romans 6:11; the student is encouraged to read Romans 6:1-14). Paul describes this classic battle that is going on in each Christian in Galatians 5:16-24. He encourages us to put on the armor of God to be successful in fighting this battle (Ephesians 6:10-18a).
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