13 All of you must obey those who rule over you. There are no authorities except the ones God has chosen. Those who now rule have been chosen by God. 2 So whoever opposes the authorities opposes leaders whom God has appointed. Those who do that will be judged. 3 If you do what is right, you won’t need to be afraid of your rulers. But watch out if you do what is wrong! You don’t want to be afraid of those in authority, do you? Then do what is right, and you will be praised. 4 The one in authority serves God for your good. But if you do wrong, watch out! Rulers don’t carry a sword for no reason at all. They serve God. And God is carrying out his anger through them. The ruler punishes anyone who does wrong. 5 You must obey the authorities. Then you will not be punished. You must also obey them because you know it is right. 6 That’s also why you pay taxes. The authorities serve God. Ruling takes up all their time. 7 Give to everyone what you owe them. Do you owe taxes? Then pay them. Do you owe anything else to the government? Then pay it. Do you owe respect? Then give it. Do you owe honor? Then show it.
It is interesting to read this in light of today’s political climate, local and global.
Firstly, everyone MUST submit to governing authorities. So often we hear people say “I didn’t vote for them” like its not their fault that a particular politician is in office. But the authorities that exist have been established by God (v1)
Secondly, v7 give everyone what you owe them: pay taxes and fees, give respect and honour to those in authority.
Most of our political leaders are getting something other than honour and respect. Some would say they deserve what they get. But Paul’s instruction is without qualification.
Paul also says in 1 Tim 2 to pray for our leaders.
Paul wrote this in the time of Caesar’s like Nero who blamed Christians for the burning of Rome. Our leaders haven’t reached this depth, hopefully they don’t. But even if they do….
Today, regardless of the headline or tweet, whether we agree with their decisions or not, take time to pray for all our political leaders, regardless of their allegiance or policies. Pray for wisdom, compassion and boldness to make right godly decisions.
Written by Andrew Martin