Summary of passage: Do what is right and you have nothing to fear. The ruler is God’s servant ready to punish the wrongdoer. Thus, submit to authorities so you’re not punished and because of conscience.
9) God has a purpose in all rulers. He used Babylon to punish His people and make them turn to Him and strengthen their faith. There is a purpose in suffering–to grow us–and there is a purpose in the future that we cannot see. I can have faith in God and that leaders are in power for His purpose. I can pray for the leaders to do God’s will.
10) You must submit to authorities because they are placed in authority by God and by submitting to them you are submitting to God. Otherwise, you are rebelling against God if you do not. Also, if you don’t submit, you will be punished if you break the laws. Furthermore, you submit because it’s the right thing to do. You submit for the good of all over the good of yourself.
11) Personal Question. My answer: Good I hope. I tell my kids to respect authority, those in power, and those elected. I’m a horrible driver in terms of getting angry (which I’m working on). I’m running for local office. I’m respectful as well.
Conclusions: In essence, Days 2, 3 & 4 all have the same point: God is in control and if you trust in Him then you trust your leaders. There’s a purpose. God’s purpose. Have faith even when you don’t know.
End Notes: [Taken from yesterday’s, just cut to the commentary that deals only with verses 3-5].
Paul’s idea is that Christians should be the best citizens of all. Even though they are loyal to God before they are loyal to the state, Christians are good citizens because they are honest, give no trouble to the state, pay their taxes, and – most importantly – pray for the state and the rulers.
Paul describes government officials as God’s minister. They have a ministry in the plan and administration of God, just as much as church leaders do.
If the state’s rulers are God’s minister (servant), they should remember that they are only servants, and not gods themselves.
It is through the just punishment of evil that government serves its function in God’s plan of holding man’s sinful tendencies in check. When a government fails to do this consistently, it opens itself up to God’s judgment and correction.
The sword is a reference to capital punishment. In the Roman Empire, criminals were typically executed by beheading with a sword (crucifixion was reserved for the worst criminals of the lowest classes). Paul, speaking by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, has no doubt that the state has the legitimate authority to execute criminals.
We must be subject to government; not only because we fear punishment, but because we know it is right before God to do so. Christian obedience to the state is never blind – it obeys with the eyes of conscience wide open. Christians must duly honor the government in order to maintain a good conscience.