Bible Discussion — Romans 13

November 21, 2007, 3:30 pm; posted by
Filed under Bible, Chloe, David, Steve  | No Comments

This week, Bweinh.com looks at the next chapter in the book of Romans, Romans 13.

Genesis: 1-4 | 5-9 | 10-14 | 15-18 | 19-22 | 23-26
27-29 | 30-32 | 33-36 | 37-39 | 40-43 | 44-46 | 47-50

Exodus: 1-4 | 5-8 | 9-11 | 12-14 | 15-18
19-22 | 23-26 | 27-30 | 31-34 | 35-40

And the book of Romans: Ch. 1 | Ch. 2 | Ch. 3 | Ch. 4 | Ch. 5
Ch. 6 | Ch. 7 | Ch. 8 (I) | Ch. 8 (II) | Ch. 9 | Ch. 10 | Ch. 11 | Ch. 12

 
INTRODUCTION:
David:
Sit down. We need to talk about your attitude toward authority. “The powers that be are ordained of God, whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God…” Parents, teachers, policeman, bosses, presidents — even if it’s Hillary — are you ready to live this out?

 
SOMETHING YOU’D NEVER NOTICED BEFORE:
Steve:
Paul’s brief summary that equates love and the law. All the commandments about human relationship are designed to protect others, to give them the same respect and care we afford ourselves — so one who loves perfectly must necessarily (and perfectly) fulfill the law.

 
BEST BAND NAME FROM THE PASSAGE:
David: Walk Honestly
Chloe: Fellowman
Steve: Slumber

 
STORY IT REMINDS YOU OF::
Chloe:
The first section has some unlikely parallels with another faith. Just as v. 4 says the ruler is God’s servant, so does Islam. The Caliph (the king and religious leader) isn’t allowed to make new laws or change the laws of the Qur’an or the Hadith (or Sunnah, depending on the school of law followed), but only interpret and enforce them. The Muslim tradition goes a step further, though, saying the Caliph is also the servant of the people.

David:
When Bill Clinton won election the first time, we had a prayer meeting scheduled that night and as I was leaving, they called the election for him. By the time I walked the 5 minutes to the church, he was my president, and I did pray for him. For 8 years. I had to quit listening to Rush because I could not ask my kids to respect authority if I listened to someone ridicule my president every day for 3 hours a day. It may happen again. Are you ready?

 
DEEP THEOLOGICAL MEANING:
Chloe:
It’s just a short clause, easy to skip over, but “the continuing debt to love one another” in v.8 speaks volumes. We are never finished. We must always improve our actions towards others and overcome our sinful inclinations.

Steve:
Christianity, from its very start, was supposed to be countercultural, although not always in the way its adherents likely wanted. Rather than rebelling against the government to set up an earthly religious kingdom in fulfillment of our own desires, we are told to submit to authority. Rather than living in secret sin of any type, we are instructed to strive to unite ourselves with perfection. No wonder a few heresies sprang up, drawing the opposite lines.

David:
This section, and others, make plain that a Christian who is not in right relationship with the authority placed over their life is not in right relationship with God.

 
RANDOM THOUGHT:
Steve:
In verse 13, among the dark acts Paul mentions are orgies, drunkenness, sexual immorality, debauchery, and — dissension/jealousy?? Which of these things are not like the other? I guess the answer is none, that we should flee them all in similar fashion.

What would it mean for our churches if we really considered dissension with the same horror we grant to drunken, debauched orgies?

David:
When the High Priest did not like what Paul had to say in Acts 23, he commanded the men near him to “smite him on the mouth.” Paul answered, “God shall smite thee, thou whited wall.” But when those nearby rebuked Paul for speaking that way to the High Priest, he apologized, saying he did not realize it was the High Priest speaking. He even quoted Exodus 22:28 — “For it is written, ‘Thou shalt not speak evil of the ruler of thy people.’ ” Are you sure you’re ready?

Chloe:
I don’t know too much about the persecution situation while Paul was writing the letter to the Romans, but if there was any at all, this chapter must have been incredibly confusing and frustrating. They authorities are torturing and killing the Christians! And Paul says they’re God’s servants? How must they have reacted to and put into practice Paul’s words?

 
WHERE IS JESUS IN THIS PASSAGE:
David:
In Romans 13:7-10, Paul expands Jesus’ teaching to “love God and love your neighbor, for on these two things hang all the law and the prophets.” The command to “owe no man anything” has nothing to do with getting out of debt. It’s fulfilling all your obligations to the human race by loving them, and letting that love dictate your actions. As John said, “He that saith he belongeth to Him (Jesus) also ought to walk even as He Himself walked.”

 
VERSE TO REMEMBER:
David:
13:12 — “The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light.”

Steve, Chloe:
13:10 — “Love does no harm to its neighbor. Therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”

 
PORTION YOU WOULD MOST LIKE EXPLAINED IN HEAVEN:
Chloe:
Verses 3 and 4 trip me up, because those doing right by spreading the good news were being slaughtered by the authorities. But according to Paul, the authorities will commend those who do right and punish those who do wrong. What did he mean?

Steve:
When Paul wrote this passage, lists of advice and commands, did he have any idea that we would be discussing and trying to apply them two millennia later? What would he think about that?

 
LESSON TO TAKE AWAY:
David:
“Render therefore to all their dues: tribute (taxes) to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.” I heard a preacher say once, regarding churches crying about having to pay taxes — “What did Jesus say to Peter? ‘Lest we offend them?…pay for both of us.’ ”

 
GENERAL RESPONSE TO THE PASSAGE:
Steve:
The overarching principle of the early verses is submission to divinely inspired authorities, but there are situations where leaders can hold great terror for those who do nothing wrong. In our particular form of government, we should submit to the law and give those in charge the respect due their positions, but sometimes the principle of loving our neighbor as ourselves requires us to take action to challenge them as well.

David:
It should be required reading for every conservative out there who also wants to wear the Christian label. Respect the leaders of this land, whether you agree with them or not. It is that simple — give honor to whom honor is due, unlike some of the liberals of the world, like Joakim Noah, who had a chance to meet the President and acted repulsively disrespectful. You are called to do better than that. Are you ready?

 
CONCLUSION:
David:
Lord, help us to live that chapter.


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