This study features notes from Enduring Word.
Recap Romans 12. Paul talked about how we’re not to take revenge but wait for God’s justice.
Read Romans 13.
1. What’s the connection between Romans 12 and 13 (v1-2)?
If we’re not to seek revenge, that doesn’t take away the government’s authority to punish wrongdoers.
2. Why do we subject ourselves to governing authorities?
They are appointed by God and serve a purpose in his plan.
3. How can we take comfort in knowing that there is no authority except from God?
God appoints a nation’s leaders but not always to bless the people. Sometimes it’s to judge the people or to ripen the nation for judgement. Jesus suffered under Pontius Pilate, one of the worst Roman governors Judea ever had, and Paul under Nero, the worst Roman emperor. Neither denied the authority.
4. What happens if we disobey the authorities?
We are bound to obey them unless they order us to do something that contradicts God’s law. God uses governments as a check upon man’s sinful desires.
5. What kind of citizens should Christians be (v3-4)?
The best of all. Honest, give no trouble to the state, pay taxes, pray for the state and the rulers.
6. What is the role of the authorities? How does the fit with God’s plan?
To punish and deter evildoers. It’s through the just punishment of evil that government serves its function in God’s plan of holding man’s sinful tendencies in check.
7. What is our responsibility towards our government (v5-7)?
We must be subject to government because we know it’s right before God to do so. Pay taxes. Give honour and proper reverence which are due, while reserving the right to give to God that which is due to him alone.
8. Is rebellion against government ever justified?
It is right to choose the one that is most legitimate in God’s eyes, when given a choice.
9. Why is the only debt we are to carry the debt to love one another (v8-10)?
We carry both before God and each other.
10. Why does Paul quote Jesus’ words ‘love your neighbour as yourself’?
It’s one of the two commands upon which hang all the law and the prophets.
11. Why do we need to wake up (v11-14?
We can do lots of Christian things but essentially be asleep towards God.
12. What does Paul mean by ‘the night is nearly over, the day is almost here’?
We know the danger of the times and we anticipate the return of Jesus and so we should be all the more energetic and committed to a right walk with God.
13. What is the armour of light?
Jesus himself. When we put on Christ, we put on all the armour of God and are equipped to both defend and attack.
14. How can we not gratify the desires of the flesh?
The flesh will be as active as we allow it to be. We have a work to do in walking properly, as in the day. Jesus does it through us as we willingly and actively partner with him.