The Way - Day 120 (Romans 13)

Daily Reading:
Romans 13
Don't forget to journal in your Foundations Book!
Daily Reading Audio Commentary:
Today's Question or Action Step:
in Romans 13 Paul talked about submitting to authorities and fulfilling the law of love. Which aspects of this chapter are most challenging for you? Why? How can Christ's example in that specific area serve as a guide and an encouragement to you?
Weekly Memory Verse(s):
OPTION 1: Psalm 40:1-2
OPTION 2: Proverbs 16:9
OPTION 3: Matthew 6:1-2
Further Study Resources:
Study Guide for Romans 13 (Enduring Word - David Guzik)
Pastor Tom's Journal on Today's Reading:
Romans 13
Romans 12 marked a major shift in Paul's writing to the churches at Rome. In the first eleven chapters Paul took his readers on a journey to discover the fullness of their salvation through Jesus Christ. His words throughout the first part of the letter are the most detailed description of the gospel in all of Scripture and provides a deeper understanding of man's sinfulness (1:18-3:20), God's provision of righteousness through Jesus Christ (3:21-5:21), and the Holy Spirit's work in the believer (6:1-8:39). Without Paul's clear presentation in the first eleven chapters of Romans, it would be complicated to comprehend Romans 12-15 because they describe the outworking of man's righteousness in his daily life. Belief in the gospel leads to changed behavior. As Paul introduced the need to change through the Spirit's power, he reminded his readers that they were to give themselves over to God as a "living sacrifice" and "be transformed by the renewing of your [their] mind" (12:1-2). Since Scripture is God's way to communicate His will, those who believe, need to give much time over to reading the Bible. This allows God to change the old, sinful ways for His ways. Paul writes about numerous changes in behavior throughout Romans 12 which should now be reflected in the attitudes and actions of a Christian. Although these statements are brief, Paul makes God's commands known.

In Romans 13 Paul continues to identify points of change by revealing two more areas: submitting to government authority (13:1-7) and loving others (13:8-10). First of all, Paul commands believers to obey the governmental authority placed over them because God is the one who has allowed that government system to be established (13:1). If anyone ignores the government's authority then they are really disobeying God's authority and inviting His judgment (13:2). Instead of viewing government as a negative entity, Paul challenges his readers to see them as an institution which helps bring justice upon evil people (13:3a). There was no need to fear government if they remained submissive to the laws put in place, but those who disobey are guaranteed swift punishment (13:3b-5). It appears that one of the issues Paul wanted to make sure his readers understood regarding government was that believers are obligated to pay taxes (13:6-7). Even Jesus set the example for His followers when He submitted Himself to the government and paid the temple taxes He owed (see Matthew 17:24-27). Jesus also gave another clear instruction on paying taxes in Matthew 22:17-21.

Not only should followers of Christ submit to government authority, but they should also love one another (13:8). Since loving others is the summation of God's law (13:9), Christians should do everything in their power to express genuine love to others, whether that individual is a believer or unbeliever. One of the ways we can measure our love toward others is by asking ourselves, "Am I loving others with the same love I have for myself?" Most people love themselves and will make choices which bring personal benefit, so we should take on that same attitude when interacting with others. When we love others as ourselves, we fulfill the law; in other words, we are obeying God's laws concerning relationships.

Paul urges his readers to obey what he is saying and guard against casual Christian living (13:11a). The knowledge that Jesus Christ will return one day should be a motivating factor for living holy lives in the present (13:11b-12a). Living in "revelry [wild living] and drunkenness...lewdness and lust [sexual immorality]...strife and envy" (13:13) should not characterize those who have been made righteous through Jesus Christ. Instead, a believer should cast off the works of darkness (13:12b), put on the armor of light (13:12c), walk properly (13:13a), put on the Lord Jesus Christ (13:14a), and make no provision for the flesh to fulfill its lusts (13:14b). This is the transformation Paul was alluding to in Romans 12:1-2. When a person repents of sin and believes in Jesus Christ (10:9-10), he is immediately made righteous and begins the process of sanctification, which is resisting sin and obeying God's ways. A person whose faith is genuine will begin this process of change with the goal of being transformed into the likeness of Christ. As we allow God's word to change our thinking, our attitudes and actions will eventually follow. Do you see evidence of God's transforming power in your life?

Dear God, through the power of the Holy Spirit, I pray that You would enable me to resist sin and follow all of Your ways