CIVIL DUTIES

Scripture Reading: Romans 13:1-7

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)

Let’s face it — we need authority structures over us because we live in a broken world filled with sinful people. Authority prevents chaos; it is a means for preserving order. We must have people in leadership in order to accomplish purpose. Therefore leaders must have the authority to lead.

Remember that Paul wrote these words during the time of the ungodly Roman rule. Yet, he makes it clear — “There is no authority except that which God has established.” God is the One who grants authority because He is an absolute Being who ultimately possesses all authority. Governing agents acquire their authority from Almighty God.

Therefore, we must respect those in positions of authority. In fact, we are required to obey those in authority over us — “Consequently, he who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves” (v. 2).

God gives civil authority to rulers in order to protect the people they govern — “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” (v. 5).

The civil authorities are also God’s agents to administer justice — “He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer” (v. 4). God has given them the power of the sword to punish those who do wrong.

We are responsible to submit to the governing authorities and we are responsible to pay taxes — “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him. If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor” (vs. 6,7).

Almighty God, I know that You are all powerful and sovereign over all things. Thank You for providing leaders who are called to represent You. Your Word says that we are to pray for those in authority over us (I Timothy 2:1,2). I pray today for our President, the Congress, state and local authorities, and for all who are in positions of authority. Enable them to protect their citizens and to administer justice when necessary. Most of all, I acknowledge Your authority over me. Let me submit myself to Your rule and reign this day.

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