Romans, Chapter 13
© Copyright 1998 Darroll Evans-all rights reserved

Romans 13:1 Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.

"There is no true authority (Gr. exousia-exousia) except God’s power!"

All seeming power is dependent on the power allowed by God. 

Far too many Church attendees do not believe that. 

Yet, it is the basis for understanding God! 

That simple section proclaims something that many dismiss due to "our" free will. 

It literally says, "There is no authority or power of choice except God’s!" 

Satan has no free will.

He must attempt to undermine God’s authority.

Power in this verse is not the “dunamis” power that so many Christians associate with biblical power.

The actual word speaks of the giving of authority. 

Each of the times we see “power” in this verse, it comes from “exousia.”

That is true of the first three verses of this chapter.

Isaiah 54:16 Behold, I (God) have created the smith that bloweth the coals in the fire, and that bringeth forth an instrument for his work; and I (God) have created the waster to destroy.

Paul points to Pharaoh as a classic example of God using a pagan ruler for His purpose.

Romans 9:17 For the Scripture says to Pharaoh, "For this very purpose I raised you up, to demonstrate My power in you, and that My name might be proclaimed throughout the whole earth." (NASB)

This is a difficult lesson for most Christians to learn.

In This verse, we find the word “ordained” (Gr. tatagmenai-tatagmenai). 

That word speaks of an appointing, a prearrangement, and a predetermination.

God has prearranged how things will go in the history of mankind!

Romans 13:2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation.

Resisteth (Gr. antitassomenos-antitassomenoV) means to array or deploy an army to resist.

This is another difficult lesson for us to learn.

Our human-ness dictates that we attempt to organize great movements to resist evil. God says, "Let me handle it!"

God gives victory only to the movements He organizes.

Romans 13:3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same:

This is another difficult lesson.

We are not to fly off in every direction trying to undo all evil in the world.

God’s plan is His plan!

We are not to fear evil, but understand that even that which seems evil is working for the good of those that love God.

Romans 8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.

Our job is to do the good we have been appointed to do.

Philippians 2:13---For it is God which worketh in you both to will and to do of his good pleasure.

That does not mean that God works the evil.

All He has to do is leave us alone and we will do more evil than we can imagine.

Romans 13:4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.

Often we assume the first sentence in this verse refers to godly rulers.

Paul lived under ungodly Romans rulers, as did Christ Jesus.

And yet, neither Christ nor Paul mounted a crusade against Rome.

Both died at the hands of Roman soldiers, and yet neither Jesus nor Paul spoke out against Rome.

Romans 9:17 For the scripture saith unto Pharaoh, Even for this same purpose have I raised thee up, that I might shew my power in thee, and that my name might be declared throughout all the earth.

Egypt served a purpose that appeared to be evil.

In fact, it was part of God’s plan.

Egypt caused the Israelites to cry out to God.

In the last day, Gog and Magog will accomplish that.

The Bible admonishes us to act in a seemingly strange way when encountering trials/temptations.

James 1:2 Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials (Gr. peirasmois-peirasmoiV), (NASB)

If we run to Christ when we encounter trials and temptations, we become stronger.

For Christians, running should be a major part of our daily routine.

We are never told to face Satan alone.

If those that consider themselves to be spiritual supermen ever met the archangel Lucifer face to face, they would probably faint due to fear.

Romans 13:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

Very few understand the concept of judgment.

King David understood it and asked God for judgment.

We must be subject to those in authority.

First, because of wrath (Gr. orgeen-orghn), and secondly, because of conscience (Gr. suneideesin- suneidhsin).

Wrath may indicate that God’s wrath will come upon those that deal His chosen unwisely.

Christians are God’s anointed.

1 Chronicles 16:21-22
21 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes,
22 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Our consciences are to be clear.

Some bow to sin physically.

Others bow spiritually to sin.

Neither is in our best interest.

Romans 13:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

"For for" is a poor translation.

The verse may begin, "‘because of this’ pay tribute/taxes (Gr. phorous-forouV)."

This may seem odd to us in this day, but payment of tribute is an ancient way of admitting subjection.

Romans 13:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

Render (Gr. apodote-apodote) means to give what is due in response to an obligation.

Notice it is specific in what is to be given. We honor by giving honor.

Romans 13:8 Owe no man any thing, but to love one another: for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

Owe (Gr. opheilete-ofeilete) indicates a monetary debt.

To the best of your ability, pay your bills.

Sometimes we encounter situations that are monetarily adverse.

In those situations prayer is the first action.

This verse ends with a Christian truism, "He that loves another has fulfilled the law."

Romans 13:9 For this, Thou shalt not commit adultery, Thou shalt not kill, Thou shalt not steal, Thou shalt not bear false witness, Thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is briefly comprehended in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.

We have not been save so we can sin!

Love requires respect.

Here, Paul wrote “love thy neighbor.”

But how do we accomplish that?

Do we pay all their bills, build them a new house, or let them freeload for ever?


Jesus fed people physical food twice!

Christians give Billions of dollars to Muslims, Hindus, and other heathen!

How do they respond to our kindness?

They kill us whenever possible!

The only way we can show our love for the unsaved is to evangelize them!

If we truly love others, we will tell them about Christ!

If we hate them, we will allow them to stay slaves to Satan!

Romans 13:10 Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

The late Dr. Manford George Gutzke had the best definition of love I ever heard.

Dr. Gutzke said, "Love, a deep abiding concern for the general welfare of others."

Love is the heart of God's law.

1 John 2:8-11
8 Again, a new commandment I write to you, which thing is true in Him and in you, because the darkness is passing away, and the true light is already shining.
9 He who says he is in the light, and hates his brother, is in darkness until now.
10 He who loves his brother abides in the light, and there is no cause for stumbling in him.
11 But he who hates his brother is in darkness and walks in darkness, and does not know where he is going, because the darkness has blinded his eyes. (NKJV)

That must be understood in context!

Matt 12:46-50
46 While he yet talked to the people, behold, his mother and his brethren stood without, desiring to speak with him.
47 Then one said unto him, Behold, thy mother and thy brethren stand without, desiring to speak with thee.
48 But he answered and said unto him that told him, Who is my mother? and who are my brethren?
49 And he stretched forth his hand toward his disciples, and said, Behold my mother and my brethren!
50 For whosoever shall do the will of my Father which is in heaven, the same is my brother, and sister, and mother.

Christ Jesus did not consider those who would not accept and follow Yahweh/Jehovah to be his brothers, and neither should we!

Romans 13:11 And that, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep: for now is our salvation nearer than when we believed.

Knowing (Gr. eidotes-eidoteV) implies awareness.

Time (Gr. kairon-kairon) speaks of "due time" and not the sweep second hand on your watch.

"High time" (Gr. hoora-wra) speaks of an hour or present time.

"Awake out of sleep" (Gr. ex hupnou egertheenai-ex upnou egerqhnai) means just that

Personal common use paraphrase: Understanding the time, it’s time to get your act together."

But, why now?

The Bible tells us something few talk about.

While we speak of being saved, our salvation has not been consummated!

And, our salvation will not be consummated until Christ appears.

Now, we face trails and temptations.

At the consummation, all trials and temptations will become history.

Romans 13:12 The night is far spent, the day is at hand: let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armour of light.

This verse was written to all men---even present day Christians.

Darkness (Gr. skotous-skotouV) speaks of spiritual ignorance.

The night of sin is quickly coming to an end, and the Light will soon be appearing to all men.

So, stop doing the works of "darkness" and put on the armor of Light to guard against any further temptations.

There is a humanistic teaching concerning "our" fight.

However, "our" fighting consists of standing in Christ!

Ephesians 6:13 Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

Our warfare is the casting done of those things within us that raise themselves up against the knowledge of Christ.

If we do not take care of ourselves first, we will not be able to help others.

Our first battle is within our own minds. 

Romans 13:13 Let us walk honestly, as in the day; not in rioting and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and envying.

We are to live honestly, and not in he ways of sin.

Christians are to be examples.

Instead of Christ and Christians, most of society looks to political figures and/or sports figures.  

Romans 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

We should wear Christ's robes of righteousness, and in doing that we will not fall prey to the lusts of the flesh.

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