I find the variables and complexities surrounding a common time application for Romans chapter 13 near insurmountable. However, based on what we do know, I believe it is safe to say that national Israel thought Jesus would actually restore them to physical power by means of political overthrow. Which of course we know did not happen. It is with this in mind that I state the following.
I believe what Paul was trying to get through to the saints is that you may not understand what is going on right now in terms of the big picture, but I can assure you that God does. Right now we are under Roman rule, and if it were not by the hand of God, He would have wiped them off the face of the earth. They are God’s ministers for now to impose some semblance of judicial law. And with that said, do the right thing according to that law, and do not try to overthrow them. Our job is to preach and teach Jesus, and in so doing establish the kingdom of God.
I believe the real problem with finding current application for Romans 13 can be found in the fact that Rome had not yet claimed any relation to God, whereas, at least in pretense the United States has. This is where the real conundrum begins as far as common time application is concerned. For it is one thing to claim a relationship with God, and an entirely different thing to actually have one. Please keep in mind that Paul was talking to the latter, i.e. to those who actually had a relationship with God in Christ. Reminding them primarily to keep the main thing the main and to be mindful of the things of God; in other words, stating: ‘We are ministers of the gospel of Christ.’
Now in lieu of what I have just presented, I am going to ask a few questions. I am not trying to be smart; I am simply trying to invoke serious thought. #1 – Based on Romans 13:1-7, what rights and responsibilities were the saints given in regards to facilitating and administrating a civil government? #2 – Do you think that God has changed His mind concerning the rights and responsibilities of the saints based on the assumptions of man? #3 – Based on what you understand of these passages in Romans; do you believe that the overthrow of King George was based on Christian principles? #4 – Do you believe that over the years these passages have been deliberately manipulated by those in power to carry out certain agendas?
All comments will be accepted! God speed!
George L. Miller