Rev. Matt Ulmer, pastor at St. Paul Lutheran Church in Bishop, TX, joins host Rev. Timothy Appel to study Romans 13:1-7.
The love that characterizes the Christian life has implications for the Christian’s life under governing authority. St. Paul commands Christians to place themselves willingly under the order that God has established as the Creator of all things. He alone has authority of Himself; the authority of those governing in this life stems from His. For this reason, to resist such authority is to resist what God has appointed; He is the final judge. The Christian’s life under such order, then, is characterized by the attitude St. Paul laid out in the preceding chapter; the Christian responds to evil with good. This remains true under the order of earthly governing authorities. They are God’s servants to uphold what is good and punish what is evil. The Christian’s willingness to be under this order stems not only from a fear of punishment, but the free conscience given by the mercies of God. This brings joy to the Christian life even in matters such as taxes; even this becomes a part of the Christian’s sensible service in view of God’s mercy.
“The Righteousness of God for You” is a mini-series on Sharper Iron that goes through St. Paul’s Epistle to the Romans. Human righteousness cannot save, because all have sinned and fall short of God’s glory. Only the righteousness of God can bring life and forgiveness to sinners. This is the righteousness that He has fulfilled in the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ. This is the righteousness that is revealed in the Gospel, the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes. This is the righteousness that is not earned, but is freely given by grace alone through faith alone in Christ alone.
Sharper Iron, hosted by Rev. Timothy Appel, looks at the text of Holy Scripture both in its broad context and its narrow detail, all for the sake of proclaiming Christ crucified and risen for sinners. Two pastors engage with God’s Word to sharpen not only their own faith and knowledge, but the faith and knowledge of all who listen.
Sharper Iron is underwritten by Lutheran Church Extension Fund, where your investments help support the work of The Lutheran Church—Missouri Synod. Visit lcef.org.
Submission to the Authorities
13 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
English Standard Version (ESV)
The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. ESV® Permanent Text Edition® (2016). Copyright © 2001 by Crossway Bibles, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers.