Subject to Government
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.
How are Christians supposed to read the Bible? If there are many different views on what the Bible says, how are they to know the right interpretation? The answer is that they must read the Bible as one work of God. In the sermon on Romans 13:1–7 titled “Subject to Government,” Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones shares that this is because the only way to understand Scripture properly is by taking a holistic approach to everything that God has revealed. Christians should not use philosophy to create doctrine but doctrine is to come from the text. With all these things in mind, Dr. Lloyd-Jones seeks to expound the biblical view of government. He says that the submission to authorities and powers that the apostle Paul speaks of is not slavish servitude, but godly submission to the authorities that God has ordained for their good and the good of all people. In this attitude, Christians are to seek to live in peace with all those around them in a way that brings honor to Christ and his gospel. God in his providence has put magistrates in place as a means of restraining sin and evil in the world, though they are often corrupt and sinful. Nevertheless, Christians ought to strive to obey God first and foremost and to obey the government when doing so does not contradict the commands of God.
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.