August 31, 2015 by pastorjdo3
Tuesday, the Northpointe group continued its study of race and community, looking deeper into the topic of authority. Romans the 13th chapter, served as the focal point of the discussion. Platt uses this scripture to further shape community, giving us a backdrop for our treatment of one another, and the secret to living at peace with each other.
Verse 1 of the 13th chapter says that “Everyone must submit to governing authorities.” (V.1) None of us are above the law. The word “must” places a responsibility and urgency. The governing authorities, though not Godly or Christian, play an important role in bringing about the peace that God desires to see upon His earth. God wants us to live at peace with each other, thus He allows for people to be authorities to keep said peace. The word “submit” helps us understand our attitude. We must be willing to obey the laws of the land. We must acknowledge the rules and be obedient to them, because we have been commanded to do so by the seating process of each figure.
Paul continues, “…all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God.” (V.2) This statement from Paul generated the most dialogue. It can be hard to rationalize how God could place an evil boss over you! But knowing that all things work for good, we can sit back, take notes, endure the quizzes, and cram for the exams; knowing that the moment of revelation will soon come. In discussion we looked at the lessons God teaches by having us under people and the lessons we learn by being over people. Each encounter is a part of Gods plan to shape and mold us, teaching us more about Him and learning much about ourselves.
Paul continues that to “whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted”. (V.1) We must understand that being disobedient to the law works against the plan God has to shape our life. As discussed in class, a right approved in the law that goes against God’s will is still considered wrong and sin in God’s eye. While there are those who believe that all things made lawful now become permissible, this is not true. The laws that give these rights do not allow man to go against God’s law, but represents mans desire to live according to the flesh.
God reminds man that the law need not be feared. “Do good and you will receive its commendation, for its God’s servant for your good.” (V. 3-4) The law and authorities are to remind us of the very structure and relationship we have to our heavenly King. This in that we are not to fear punishment, but to live under His love and guidelines with provide protection and display His concern for us. The law works on the behalf of those who cease to be lawless, and choose to be lawful citizens in the Kingdom. Such it is with our Lord. His vengeance and anger is poured out slowly upon those who choose to live contrary to His laws. But His love for us will not allow us to be wrongdoers.
One thing highlighted that garnered much discussion is verse 5 which says “not only because of the wrath…also because of your conscience.” As believers, the conviction that should accompany being a law breaker will disturb not the public peace, but our private peace. He lets us know that, the private peace we get with Christ comes from being inside of and under the boundaries of the law that has been given for us to live under. If we keep the law, we keep our minds peaceful and can live with less stress and trepidation, and not exist with the constant fear of on coming judgement and punishment once caught.
God continues, “Owe no one anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.” (V.8) The purpose of authority and the law is to maintain peace and harmony among those God has given life. We are advised to pay back our debts (V.7), not just to obey the laws of those in authority. As Kingdom and Earth inhabitants, we are to monitor our relationships with all people, seeking to display love and peace not just in word but in our deeds. In this, God’s desires are fulfilled.