Christian and The State (1)
A Sermon on Romans 13:1-7
Be Subject to Government
1Every person is to be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; 4for it is a servant of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a servant of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. 5Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for the sake of conscience. 6For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing. 7Pay to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.
1Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. 2Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. 3For 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: 4For 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. 5Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. 6For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. 7Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
In today’s media-driven culture, the public can witness firsthand the mess of politicians and politics on social media, cable television, and in print media. Cynically, many Christians might find it necessary to simply retreat out of political concerns and government altogether. Perhaps the Christian could justify a retreat from politics by positing the need to focus exclusively on spiritual matters. In this sermon on Romans 13:1–7 titled “Christian and the State (1),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones seeks to answer such objections. He engages these ideas and other radical ones that call for Christians to abandon concern for the state, government, or politics altogether. In answering critics, Dr. Lloyd-Jones provides a positive Christian view of the state by looking at Romans 13:1–7 and the implications of the Lordship of Jesus Christ. Christians understand that the origin of government is not in human evolution but arose from God Himself. Moreover, the Christian knows human nature and how easily sin and evil can deteriorate society. God has instituted government for the restraint of evil and the well-being of society. Dr. Lloyd-Jones insists that the Christian needs motivation to be not only the best citizen, but also to be compelled to participate in government for the promotion of peace and the common good of all.
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones
Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones (1899-1981) was a Welsh evangelical minister who preached and taught in the Reformed tradition. His principal ministry was at Westminster Chapel, in central London, from 1939-1968, where he delivered multi-year expositions on books of the bible such as Romans, Ephesians and the Gospel of John. In addition to the MLJ Trust’s collection of 1,600 of these sermons in audio format, most of these great sermon series are available in book form (including a 14 volume collection of the Romans sermons), as are other series such as "Spiritual Depression", "Studies in the Sermon on the Mount" and "Great Biblical Doctrines". He is considered by many evangelical leaders today to be an authority on biblical truth and the sufficiency of Scripture.