15 Sept. Christians should obey the Law
"All of you must yield to the government rulers. No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule, and no one rules now without that power from God."
"So those who are against the government are really against what God has commanded. And they will bring punishment on themselves."
"Those who do right do not have to fear the rulers; only those who do wrong fear them. Do you want to be unafraid of the rulers? Then do what is right, and they will praise you."
"The ruler is God's servant to help you. But if you do wrong, then be afraid. He has the power to punish; he is God's servant to punish those who do wrong."
"So you must yield to the government, not only because you might be punished, but because you know it is right."
"This is also why you pay taxes. Rulers are working for God and give their time to their work. Pay everyone, then, what you owe. If you owe any kind of tax, pay it. Show respect and honour to them all."
"Do not owe people anything, except always owe love to each other, because the person who loves others has obeyed all the law. The [Jewish] law says, 'You must not be guilty of adultery. You must not murder anyone. You must not steal. You must not want to take your neighbour's things'. [Exodus 20:13-15,17]"
"All these commands and all others are really only one rule: 'Love your neighbour as you love yourself'. [Leviticus 19:18] Love never hurts a neighbour, so loving is obeying all the law."
Paul was writing in 57AD at the time of the Pax Romana - widespread peace and stability brought about by the rule of the Roman state. He argues that believers should obey the state authorities because “No one rules unless God has given him the power to rule” (Romans 13:1).
He explains that governments who punish wrongdoers are acting as God's servants, upholding high moral standards. So only those who do evil need fear the authorities and the rule of law.
Paul also argues that “This is also why you pay taxes. Rulers are working for God and give their time to their work” (Romans 13:6). So it is quite justifiable for governments to levy taxes to pay for public services and to maintain or improve standards of living.
Paul repeats Jesus's teaching that the Jewish law, with its Ten Commandments, can be summarised in just one rule, "Love your neighbour as you love yourself." (see Mark 12:28-31 & Leviticus 19:18) Indeed, loving others is the key to good behaviour and keeping the law, "because the person who loves others has obeyed all the law." (Romans 13:8)
Good citizenship, says Paul in conclusion, extends to helping our neighbours and living a decent life. “Let us live in a right way, like people who belong to the day. We should not have wild parties or get drunk. There should be no sexual sins of any kind, no fighting or jealousy. But clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ and forget about satisfying your sinful self” (Romans 13:13-14).
The photo (by Jamie McCaffrey) shows the Supreme Court of Canada.
You can read more from Paul's Letter to the Romans @ https://www.thebiblejourney.org/…/1…/persecution-by-the-jews