Romans___13

Scripture

Romans 13:1-2

Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgement on themselves.
 

Observation

Paul continues his letter by explaining practical ways to live in salvation, and he explains this through the government. Although written a long time ago, Paul’s word are still just as important today when viewing the balance of faith and government in the modern age.
 

Understanding

Anyone who knows me, knows this: I love United States history. Like I eat, sleep, breathe it! It’s kind of sad how much I love it. I’ll get excited just thinking about it (like right now I’m getting filled with excitement). Anyway, one of the periods that I love to look at is the Revolutionary War and the forming of the Constitution.

Here’s Allison’s brief history lesson of the day: the Constitution was not the first framework for our nation, it was actually the second. The first was something called the Articles of Confederation. The Articles failed dramatically because they ceased to give the central government any power in governing the people. Ironically, the people and the states had too much power. When the government tried to tax whiskey a rebellion broke out because they just fought a whole war on the basis of taxation and representation. The founding fathers then came together in Philadelphia and decided to “revise” the Articles, but instead they rewrote it, and viola: the new U.S. Constitution. Now this process took a long time mostly because the delegates argued relentlessly with each other. They all wanted a say in this newly formed nation, and after months of fighting, revising, writing, and drafting the U.S. gained her official “living document.”

All of this to say: our nation didn’t start on agreement, but I fear it will be this same disagreeing spirit that will be its downfall. Paul writes that we should submit to governing authorities, no matter how much we like them or not (or should I say whether you voted for them or not). Our Constitution wasn’t just created on a whim it took time to make, yet we the people wish to abolish it or amend it overnight. I don’t think its an accident that we ended up with the document or presidents, Congress, or Supreme Court that we did. It is God alone who establishes the authority of the United States or any state for that matter, the least we can do is calm down and perhaps trust the process. Good things take time… and to quote the Bible and one of my favorite historical figures Abraham Lincoln:

Mark 3:25

“If a house is divided against itself, that house cannot stand”

And I think to add quite fittingly, Abraham Lincoln finishes his House Divided Speech with this: “Wise counsels may accelerate or mistakes may delay it, but sooner or later victory is sure to come.”
 

Life Application

Let’s look to bridge gaps, and not further the divide. We live in a wonderfully flawed, but still looking to build nation. I think that’s what makes America what it is… it’s full of imperfect people just trying to keep moving forwards. Here’s my thought on that: it is good to sometimes look back on history because it shows us how far we’ve come, or it shows us a mistake we are about to make again. Let’s be patient with one another and our government, we’re all trying our best.

Hopefully you all don’t hate me, I talked politics and history at once. I promise I’ll refrain from doing it again.

-Allison Khan