Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Introductory Thoughts

Perhaps no passage better describes the authority and responsibility given to a country’s leadership than Romans chapter 13. From this passage, it is clear that “the higher powers” are “of God,” and that they are intended to be “God’s ministers.” As such, a country’s leaders are to condone righteousness while also condemning evil. When a person does what is right, the country’s governing bodies should “praise” him, but he should “be afraid” when he chooses to do evil. Why? Because leaders are called to be a terror to evil, bearing the sword of judgment and executing “wrath upon him that doeth evil.” Any country led by men who understand these biblical truths would enjoy a supernatural blessing experienced only by those following the will of God.

Devotional Thoughts

∙ (For children): King Artaxerxes gave Ezra permission to return to Jerusalem and to appoint magistrates and judges over the land of Judea. Notice their qualifications and what power they had (Ezra 7:25-26). Solomon gave us wise advice regarding the sword bearer (Proverbs 24:21a; Ecclesiastes 8:2-5).
∙ (For everyone): Do the leaders in your country encourage Christians to obey the Bible? Do they punish those who depart from the truth?
∙ How is it a fallacy to think that all can have and maintain equal rights? What rights do any of us truly possess? From whence do our “rights” originate?

Prayer Thoughts

∙ Thank God for the opportunities you have to serve Him!
∙ Ask God to keep you from those desirous of thwarting His work.