Living within a Society

Romans 12:17 - 13:10

Looking At Authority from Below and Above

Rom 13:1-7 are verses that have been used and misused in many different ways across the centuries. After Constantine, the church was attracted to the power of the state to enforce conformity (unity). Luther, Zwingli, Calvin all wanted civil authorities to enforce doctrine. King James I of England (KJV) believed in the divine right of kings and made sure the KJV translation supported his view: ‘He is the minister of God’/‘It is a servant responsible to God.’

Paul writes from Corinth to Rome in the time of Nero. Jews had been expelled from Rome. Paul has suffered Roman imprisonment and beatings (Act 16). The emperor cult was flourishing. Paul looks at Roman authority as a citizen/Jew/Christian and as a victim of Roman hostility. Rome’s overarching authority is real and dangerous but Paul knows that it is not ultimate. Paul is reflecting on the worlds the believers live in. The challenge not to let this age mold the believer but to experience the renewal of the mind to live embodying God’s rule in Christ. Peaceable Kingdom and Avenging Authority