Wednesday, October 24, 2012

God's servant

Good evening friends,
Today's reading is an uncompromising argument from Paul about obeying government. It's interesting to read that from Paul, who at every turn was respectful to all leaders, in keeping with his words. At the same time, he never obeyed leaders who told him to act against God's calling to preach the gospel. Paul wrote these words about government being ordained by God even while he knew the government might persecute him for his faith. Christians have a challenging balance. On the one hand comes this command, to obey the government and respect it because it keeps the peace and provides stability for us. On the other hand, we know that no matter what, God's calling comes first. 

Paul's words were also written with a totally different concept of government. While Rome had elected officials, the idea that all men and women would be able to vote for a president would blow Paul away. So now Christians not only have to think about how to obey God and government, we also have to think about how to choose our leaders with our faith in mind. At the same time, Paul's words ring true: everything in our faith and life comes back to love. If we think about how to love everyone, including our political opponents, we'll be following God. We may differ in our beliefs about who will be the best president or congresswoman or senator, but as long as we love each other, those differences will not tear us apart. Who knows? we may even learn from each other.

God bless,

Romans 13:1-10
Let every person be subject to the governing authorities; for there is no authority except from God, and those authorities that exist have been instituted by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; 4for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience. 6For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, busy with this very thing. 

7Pay to all what is due them—taxes to whom taxes are due, revenue to whom revenue is due, respect to whom respect is due, honor to whom honor is due. 8Owe no one anything, except to love one another; for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. 9The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery; You shall not murder; You shall not steal; You shall not covet”; and any other commandment, are summed up in this word, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” 10Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore, love is the fulfilling of the law.

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