A Devotional Journey
led by Dr. Gene Pearson
Thru the Bible in a Year
As in all of his letters, Paul follows the doctrinal teaching with practical application.
In Romans, however, the doctrinal section is disproportionately longer than in other letters.
Just as the exposition of doctrine is extremely helpful in this letter, so is the explanation of how it applies in daily life.
Chapter 12 includes a classic passage defining the nature and many particulars of the Christian life.
Our lifestyles are actually a part of our worship of God and the more consistent we are in seeking closeness to God, the more accurate we will be in understanding His will for our lives. Our humility is crucial: too much concern for ourselves will mean too little concern for God and others. At the same time, our commitment to what is right must be tenacious and our revulsion to evil immediate or we will have difficulty maintaining our spiritual balance. In relation to other people we must always seek the best, refuse to retaliate for the worst and exhibit the character of Christ in turning the other cheek.
Chapter 13 is a classic expression of Christian responsibility as members of society.
Specifically, Paul counsels submission to governmental authorities out of reverence for God, not necessarily agreement with them. In a setting such as the Roman Empire, which was becoming more and more hostile to Christianity, it becomes difficult in light of Paul, to argue that individual conscience overrules lawful duty. Paul’s argument would not require participation in evil in order to somehow satisfy God’s will; it would, however, severely restrict the options of any person who, objecting to the evils of government, decides to participate in its violent overthrow.
Perhaps the basis of Paul’s own thinking regarding responsibility to government come out of his belief that the end is near.
However, this argument must not be taken too far as God is the One inspiring Paul to write what he does, and the day of Christ’s return is always potentially today; therefore we should live accordingly.
Blind obedience to government is not required in the United States of America,
nor is it in many other countries. As Christians we are not muzzled
by Paul’s comments in Romans 13; however, our attitude is to be essentially submissive and obedient with a spirit of sincere prayer for those in leadership. Do you pray for those in government every day? Often? Ever?
Today, select some of the key government officials of whom you are aware and pray for them
. Ask God to give them wisdom, the courage to act on it, and the consistency to make a positive difference. Do not get lost in your own political agenda; simply ask God to guide and lead these people in the way He feels best. Nothing could be better.
A. Eugene Pearson 2013