Remember, he was writing this to Christians in Rome while he was locked on in a Corinthian jail for the "crime" of preaching the gospel.
So, despite the injustice he was suffering and the corruption rampant in the Roman Empire Paul told the Christ followers to make every effort to be law abiding citizens.
“Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience. Pay your taxes, too, for these same reasons. For government workers need to be paid. They are serving God in what they do. Give to everyone what you owe them: Pay your taxes and government fees to those who collect them, and give respect and honor to those who are in authority.” Romans 13:1-7
Far from urging or inciting civil resistance or revolt, I think it is clear God holds Christ-followers responsible to obey every civil law they can for as long as they can, in good conscience.
Let’s review Paul’s godly admonition to the believers in Rome living under the ruthless rule of the Roman Emperors.
1) The government you have is the government God gave you. He is SOVEREIGN over earthly rulers.
- and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God
- so anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted
- and they will be punished.
2) Do right and you will not have to fear government.
- Do what is right, and they will honor you.
- The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good
- But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid
- they have the power to punish you
3) Government is God’s servant
· To maintain law and order
4) Submit to government officials
- To avoid punishment
- To keep a clear conscience
5) Pay your taxes and fees
6) Give respect and honor to those who are in authority
Wow, this is hard isn’t it?
But those who follow Christ must also follow the laws of the land.