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Submission to Authorities

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It is normal, and quite understandable that most people read Romans 13:1-7 from their own historical perspective. Therfore, the fan of JFK reading this in 1962 would arrive at an entirely different understanding than the opponent of Nixon reading it in 1974. The latter reader may struggle the most with the implications, but would likely have more in common with Paul's original audience in Rome, for Nero was on the throne, and Paul was calling his audience to respect that Nero was only in power by God's sovereign will.

Notes & Transcripts

Submission to Authorities A.D. 56-58

Romans 13:1 ESV
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.
Romans 13:2 ESV
Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
Romans 13:3 ESV
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,
Romans 13:4 ESV
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.
Romans 13:5 ESV
Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.
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Romans 13:6 ESV
For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
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Romans 13:7 ESV
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.

Historical Perspective is Crucial

The Romans Church Was Not Alone

A.D. 64-68

1 Peter 2:13 ESV
Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme,
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1 Peter 2:14 ESV
or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good.
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1 Peter 2:15 ESV
For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people.
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1 Peter 2:16 ESV
Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God.
1 Peter 2:17 ESV
Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

Honor and Submission and More...

A.D. 62-66

1 Timothy 2:1 ESV
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
1 Timothy 2:1 ESV
First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
1 Timothy 2:2 ESV
for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.

1 Timothy 2:2 ESV
for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
1 Timothy 2:3 ESV
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
1 Timothy 2:4 ESV
who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
1 Timothy 2:3 ESV
This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,

The World From a Kingdom Perspective...

1) You Can Love Your Country Best, By Loving Your King and Kingdom Most

2) Be a Sojourner, Not a Settler

3) Fear God, Not Man

Philippians 3:20 ESV
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ,
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Philippians 3:20–21 ESV
But our citizenship is in heaven, and from it we await a Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ, who will transform our lowly body to be like his glorious body, by the power that enables him even to subject all things to himself.

3) Fear God, Not Man

Matthew 10:26–28 ESV
“So have no fear of them, for nothing is covered that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. What I tell you in the dark, say in the light, and what you hear whispered, proclaim on the housetops. And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell.

4) Love the Lord’s Discipline (cf. ; Prov. 3:12)

Hebrews 12:6 ESV
For the Lord disciplines the one he loves, and chastises every son whom he receives.”

5) Pray with Kingdom Mindedness

a) Pray for leaders to be teachable (cf. ; ,; ; , ; ; ; , , ; ; ; ; )

Proverbs 10:8 ESV
The wise of heart will receive commandments, but a babbling fool will come to ruin.
1 Timothy 2:4 ESV
who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
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Proverbs 19:25 ESV
Strike a scoffer, and the simple will learn prudence; reprove a man of understanding, and he will gain knowledge.
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Proverbs 9:7–9 ESV
Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
Proverbs 9:7–9 ESV
Whoever corrects a scoffer gets himself abuse, and he who reproves a wicked man incurs injury. Do not reprove a scoffer, or he will hate you; reprove a wise man, and he will love you. Give instruction to a wise man, and he will be still wiser; teach a righteous man, and he will increase in learning.
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Proverbs 10:17 ESV
Whoever heeds instruction is on the path to life, but he who rejects reproof leads others astray.

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Proverbs 11:2 ESV
When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom.
Proverbs 12:1 ESV
Whoever loves discipline loves knowledge, but he who hates reproof is stupid.
Proverbs 12:15 ESV
The way of a fool is right in his own eyes, but a wise man listens to advice.
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Proverbs 13:1 ESV
A wise son hears his father’s instruction, but a scoffer does not listen to rebuke.
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Proverbs 14:6 ESV
A scoffer seeks wisdom in vain, but knowledge is easy for a man of understanding.
Proverbs 15:5 ESV
A fool despises his father’s instruction, but whoever heeds reproof is prudent.
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Proverbs 15:32–33 ESV
Whoever ignores instruction despises himself, but he who listens to reproof gains intelligence. The fear of the Lord is instruction in wisdom, and humility comes before honor.
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Proverbs 16:22 ESV
Good sense is a fountain of life to him who has it, but the instruction of fools is folly.
Proverbs 17:10 ESV
A rebuke goes deeper into a man of understanding than a hundred blows into a fool.
Proverbs 17:1 ESV
Better is a dry morsel with quiet than a house full of feasting with strife.
Proverbs 26:12 ESV
Do you see a man who is wise in his own eyes? There is more hope for a fool than for him.

b) If You Have a Despot, be Thankful

Philippians 2:3 ESV
Do nothing from selfish ambition or conceit, but in humility count others more significant than yourselves.
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c) If Your Leader is a Believer - Pray Harder

Proverbs 8:12–17 ESV
“I, wisdom, dwell with prudence, and I find knowledge and discretion. The fear of the Lord is hatred of evil. Pride and arrogance and the way of evil and perverted speech I hate. I have counsel and sound wisdom; I have insight; I have strength. By me kings reign, and rulers decree what is just; by me princes rule, and nobles, all who govern justly. I love those who love me, and those who seek me diligently find me.
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Proverbs 12:16 ESV
The vexation of a fool is known at once, but the prudent ignores an insult.
Proverbs 14:17 ESV
A man of quick temper acts foolishly, and a man of evil devices is hated.
Proverbs 14:29 ESV
Whoever is slow to anger has great understanding, but he who has a hasty temper exalts folly.
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Proverbs 16:7 ESV
When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.
Proverbs 16:10 ESV
An oracle is on the lips of a king; his mouth does not sin in judgment.
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Proverbs 16:12 ESV
It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness.
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Proverbs 16:12–15 ESV
It is an abomination to kings to do evil, for the throne is established by righteousness. Righteous lips are the delight of a king, and he loves him who speaks what is right. A king’s wrath is a messenger of death, and a wise man will appease it. In the light of a king’s face there is life, and his favor is like the clouds that bring the spring rain.
Proverbs 20:2 ESV
The terror of a king is like the growling of a lion; whoever provokes him to anger forfeits his life.
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Proverbs 20:8 ESV
A king who sits on the throne of judgment winnows all evil with his eyes.
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Proverbs 20:26 ESV
A wise king winnows the wicked and drives the wheel over them.
Proverbs 21:1 ESV
The king’s heart is a stream of water in the hand of the Lord; he turns it wherever he will.
Proverbs 25:2 ESV
It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out.

d) Pray for Yourself

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Proverbs 25:2–3 ESV
It is the glory of God to conceal things, but the glory of kings is to search things out. As the heavens for height, and the earth for depth, so the heart of kings is unsearchable.
Proverbs 25:15 ESV
With patience a ruler may be persuaded, and a soft tongue will break a bone.
Proverbs 28:16 ESV
A ruler who lacks understanding is a cruel oppressor, but he who hates unjust gain will prolong his days.
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Proverbs 29:4 ESV
By justice a king builds up the land, but he who exacts gifts tears it down.
Proverbs 29:12 ESV
If a ruler listens to falsehood, all his officials will be wicked.
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Proverbs 29:14 ESV
If a king faithfully judges the poor, his throne will be established forever.
Proverbs 30:21–23 ESV
Under three things the earth trembles; under four it cannot bear up: a slave when he becomes king, and a fool when he is filled with food; an unloved woman when she gets a husband, and a maidservant when she displaces her mistress.
Proverbs 30:29–31 ESV
Three things are stately in their tread; four are stately in their stride: the lion, which is mightiest among beasts and does not turn back before any; the strutting rooster, the he-goat, and a king whose army is with him.
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Proverbs 31:4–5 ESV
It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine, or for rulers to take strong drink, lest they drink and forget what has been decreed and pervert the rights of all the afflicted.
Proverbs 3:5–6 ESV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.
Proverbs 3:5–8 ESV
Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths. Be not wise in your own eyes; fear the Lord, and turn away from evil. It will be healing to your flesh and refreshment to your bones.
Proverbs 7:1–5 ESV
My son, keep my words and treasure up my commandments with you; keep my commandments and live; keep my teaching as the apple of your eye; bind them on your fingers; write them on the tablet of your heart. Say to wisdom, “You are my sister,” and call insight your intimate friend, to keep you from the forbidden woman, from the adulteress with her smooth words.
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Proverbs 9:1–6 ESV
Wisdom has built her house; she has hewn her seven pillars. She has slaughtered her beasts; she has mixed her wine; she has also set her table. She has sent out her young women to call from the highest places in the town, “Whoever is simple, let him turn in here!” To him who lacks sense she says, “Come, eat of my bread and drink of the wine I have mixed. Leave your simple ways, and live, and walk in the way of insight.”
Proverbs 14:12 ESV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Proverbs 16:25 ESV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
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Proverbs 21:2 ESV
Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the heart.
Proverbs 16:19 ESV
It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.
Proverbs 28:2 ESV
When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.
Proverbs 22:11 ESV
He who loves purity of heart, and whose speech is gracious, will have the king as his friend.
Proverbs 24:21–22 ESV
My son, fear the Lord and the king, and do not join with those who do otherwise, for disaster will arise suddenly from them, and who knows the ruin that will come from them both?

e) Pray for Your Nation

Proverbs 28:2 ESV
When a land transgresses, it has many rulers, but with a man of understanding and knowledge, its stability will long continue.
Proverbs 16:25 ESV
There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way to death.
Prov
Proverbs 1:33 ESV
but whoever listens to me will dwell secure and will be at ease, without dread of disaster.”
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