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Reflections on Romans 13:2a (Tue)

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Today’s passage:

13:2 So the person who resists such authority resists the ordinance of God

There is something vitally important about the Christian’s attitude towards authority. It is clear in scripture that it matters a lot to God — a rebellious, independent spirit is never acceptible. We are to be humble servants, submissive, and obedient to God particularly — but also to the authorities He’s put over us. How we respond to our authorities is an indicator of our attitude towards God.

Even when our authorities are unreasonable, unkind, wicked or oppressive, slaves are encouraged to submit and trust God with it. 1 Peter 2:18 We are never allowed to make up our own rules, or disregard those of our authorities. I believe the only time we ever see civil disobedience allowed was when the Christians were commanded to do something that was clearly against God’s commands — and even then, they gladly submitted to the government’s punishment, even if it meant flogging or death.

This idea of how we respond to our authorities being a reflection of our submission to God is reflected in the scriptural admonitions to honor your father and mother. In fact, rebellion against one’s parents would provoke the death penalty in Old Testament times. Exodus 21:17. Parents who don’t demand respectful treatment from their kids aren’t properly teaching the importance of submission to God-given authority.

A confession: when it comes to government, my tendancy is to only want to obey laws that I think make sense or that I agree with. My tendancy is to consider myself superior and not needing to submit. Yet today’s verse and Bob’s sermon have convicted me of subtle ways that I adopt a rebellious, sinful attitude about this.

Here’s my most recent example. There is construction in progress (sssslllloooowwwwly) on Council Street, near my neighborhood. As I head home from church going north, there is a “no left turn” sign posted, right where I normally turn into my neighborhood. It’s a dumb sign, needless. One should be able to turn left there as long as they don’t cause a huge pile up of traffic behind them. Common sense should be the rule–there is no need for a sign. It causes needless waste of time and gas to drive around the neighborhood.

So my practice has been to go ahead and turn left anyways. I’m obviously smarter than whoever decided that sign should go there. My way is the right way–this rule doesn’t apply to me. I’m only going to obey rules that I agree with. Etc.

Today’s verse and Bob’s sermon have shown me the arrogance and sinfulness that I have allowed into my life over this little issue. My rebellious attitude toward my civil authories has been exposed, which by extension is a rebellion against God. I have subtly begun travelling down the slippery slope of rebellion, which must either stop or likely it will lead me into great sin.

So I confess and repent of my sin. I will henceforth drive the long way home, glady submitting to a rule which I still think is needless, but nevertheless requires my cheerful obedience.

1 Comment

  1. Martha Troxel

    July 8, 2009 at 11:22 am

    I have thought of this verse in light of our nation’s independence. I thought how they tried other things and then said, “Enough!” They were willing to face the consequences.
    Enjoy the scenic route around your neighborhood! Hopefully the construction will be over soon . As to why the sign is there, maybe there is only one lane of traffic and the idea is to protect persons from head -on collisions or there’s a hole and it’s waiting to swallow unsuspecting cars! You could contact the city traffic or streets department and ask about the sign.

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