The political Christian

Romans 13:1–14

Faith and politics. That’s a hot topic during an election year such as this in the U.S.

What does Paul think about faith and politics.

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.


Context is everything.

Paul has just sketched out in chapter 12 what a Christian looks like. Not super-Christians. This is what normal Christians look like. If you heard chapters 7 and 8, and thought, “Sure that sounds neat, but what does that really look like?” Paul answers that with chapter 12. But the picture doesn’t end with chapter 12. The thought continues into this discussion about authority in chapter 13.

And for us in our highly narcissistic and individualist world, a discussion about what I do with authority as a Christian isn’t the most popular topic of the month.

Chances are it wasn’t to Paul’s audience, either. These are Christians in Rome. According to history, Rome didn’t have the greatest track record when it came to relationships with either the Jews or the Christians. This letter probably comes early in the reign of Nero, just before things get really bad.

And Paul’s pretty clear elsewhere that it’s the Roman authorities that were responsible for executing Jesus. So what is he doing saying that the followers of Jesus should do everything that the Roman authorities say?

I’m wondering if Paul has Psalm 2 tucked in the back of his mind here. It’s a psalm about the kings of the earth and their finite power next to God and God’s chosen king (who the early Christians like Paul understood as Jesus).

Everything decision-making group of people from the local parks & recreation department to Congress to the United Nations exists within the sovereignty of God.

Paul is reminding us that regardless of who thinks and says they’re in charge (or whoever may be campaigning to be in charge), they really aren’t. It’s really God. And God is capable of using even the most pagan means to accomplish his purposes.

It’s a good reminder in an election year.


About peterjwhite

I am a pastor to college students in Tulsa, OK.
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1 Response to The political Christian

  1. Ginger Susman says:

    Amen…well said =)

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