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Yellow Balloons Devotional Series: Advent

Romans 13:6-7

The Apostle Paul writes to the world-renowned believers in Rome, the center of the world at that time, in order to answer a slanderous charge made to them against Paul and his message. Paul’s detractors claim his emphasis on faith overturns the law. Paul says that ” just living by the law” does not achieve personal justice before God, while “just living by faith” does. Paul then demonstrates what a just life looks like: harmonious living with Jesus as the leader. Paul also makes clear the choice a believer has: to walk in faith and the power of the resurrection and experience resurrection life, or walk in sin and unnecessarily experience the negative consequences.


God instituted government, and appoints authorities to serve the purpose of promoting good and punishing evil. When evil is punished by government, that is the wrath of God being executed. As believers, we should look for opportunities to obey the laws of the land, and serve as good examples. To the extent we are or have influence on governmental authority, it is our job to advocate that the government actually do its job properly, to promote good and punish evil.


Obeying the law means paying our taxes. We need to pay what we owe to those in charge of us, both money and respect.

 

Paul gives an example of a law to obey. We should pay taxes. Remember, rulers are servants of God, they are acting on God’s behalf devoting themselves as justices and law-makers and peacekeepers. With the perspective that God is above our government, we should obey the law. We should pay our taxes and show respect to officers of the law, judges, and elected officials.

The entire book of Romans is about living righteously by faith. If we are law-abiding, tax-paying, well-behaved citizens, we are living as God designed for us to live, obeying Him by obeying our governing authorities, and living in harmony with others. We are to render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor. Righteousness means harmony with others in our community. The Greek word translated righteousness in Romans, dikaiosune, is also properly translated “justice.” Justice occurs when everything in a community is lined up with laws that support freedom and harmony. The government’s job is to address those who are creating disharmony, such as robbers and murderers, and prevent their actions from allowing citizens to live together constructively.

Biblical Text

6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7 Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.