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.
How the people of God relate to kings, emperors, magistrates, and the state in general has long been a topic in the Christian church. Persecution by the state, unjust laws, along with the emergence of new political ideologies, often lead to a re-evaluation on the topic. Can the Christian say with confidence that there is a biblical view on the relationship between the Christian and the state? If so, what principles should guide them? What are the implications for a hot-button issue like capital punishment? In this sermon from Romans 13:1–7 titled “Christian and the State (2),” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones continues to examine Paul’s message as he tackles this confusing topic by providing biblical and theological principles as guidance. Within what Dr. Lloyd-Jones calls the two “extremes” – always maintaining the status quo or anarchy – and paves a way forward that holds together the Christian call to be subject to the state, the limits of being subject to the state, a nuanced understanding of liberty of conscience, and a tempered overall expectation of what the state can accomplish in a sinful world. Dr. Lloyd-Jones is able to soberly look at the complexity of the topic and leave both sides challenged and also encouraged. While ultimately citizens of heaven, Christians are still pilgrims in this world. Listen and learn how to faithfully relate to the state as sojourners and strangers.
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.