Class Notes: 11/9/2008
Rom 13:3-7 The believer's function under civil government cont...
We are now discussing the mandates that are found in Rom 13:1-8 address the believer's responsibility to legitimate government.
Since there are no chapter breaks in the original they are also in the context of Rom 12:1-2; that show that the believer’s adherence to these mandates is enabled by the Mercies of God (Grace) and is part of their "reasonable or logical spiritual service" that is enabled by the transformation that occurs in the believer's thinking that comes from their continuous persistent PMA of Bible Doctrine that results in their performing the will of God.
These verses discuss the relationship between church and state and the relations between the individual believer and the various functions of government.
The passages are written with the general assumption that the government is functioning properly under the laws of divine establishment.
Last time we left off on Rom 13:3;
"Rulers" refers to God's delegated authority under nationalism, or the government, which administers justice. When this was written Nero was the emperor of Rome. Paul is not approving Nero personally, He was approving the principle of authority that is delegated by God to national government.
The law-abiding citizen who adheres to the laws of establishment has no cause for fear from its magistrates. Potential violators of the law must be restrained by the fear of just retribution from duly constituted authority. Either the authority will administer punishment or these violators will be disciplined by the natural consequences of rejection of that authority.
The evil is something that the established civil government opposes because it contradicts divine establishment principles and results in civil punishment.
This includes the evil law breaking that is done by self-righteous arrogant political activists of all types including that of believers.
Unfortunately the evil of political activism and rigid morality too often are the only impression many unbelievers have of Christianity.
Activism and morality are not spirituality. Spirituality is on a higher plane and is based on the filling of the Spirit. The believer who substitutes human morality and political activism for the virtue of the spiritual life loses their impact for Christ in the devil's world.
In the affairs of establishment law, it is the system of jurisprudence, not individuals, that has the power to determine guilt and to impose punishment.
When people violate the law, fellow citizens may not condemn them to punishment without due process of the law.
When violations of the law also include sin, that sin regardless of how heinous, will be forgiven the if the unbeliever believes the Gospel message Col 1:14; or forgiven the believer by means of their simply acknowledging it to God. 1John 1:9;
However, the case still remains to be adjudicated in the court of establishment authority, which we see from these passages, has the authority to impose punishment.
Forgiveness by God based on the work of Christ on the cross. 2Cor 5:21;
But the criminal believer, although forgiven of the sin by the Grace of God, still owes a debt to society, which must be paid.
No individual has the legitimate authority to execute judgment unilaterally, but the government through the law has the legitimate authority execute judgment as a system of justice ordained and established by God.
Rom 13:4; for it [the person in authority] is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing [the prerogative to impose discipline to restore order]; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.
The word translated "afraid" is the second person singular present passive imperative of the Greek word "phoebo" which means to fear.
Criminals are supposed to be afraid of being punished and that includes the death penalty if appropriate.
Under Divine Institution Number Four, the leaders or authorities of the state are ministers of God, appointed to judge and execute the criminal. The government cannot properly fulfill its function in keeping law and order without the enforcement of capital punishment.
There are always a large segment of people in every country and in every generation who are devoid of character and whose lack of honor and integrity render them negative toward the laws of divine establishment
From the combined operation of their own volition and their old sin nature, they may decide to enter a life of crime. In pursuing such a course, they will inevitably use lawless violence; thus, the only supremacy they will respect is a greater violence than their own.
These types must be restrained by the lawful violence of establishment, just as a strong military discourages or defeats the evil violence of an enemy who seeks to rob a nation of its freedom.
Since murder deprives another of his life and liberty, the murderer must be punished by legal violence.
The State cannot fulfill its function in keeping law and order among a large number of people with Old Sin Natures without capital punishment.
God has established capital punishment as a basic concept of law enforcement.
Capital punishment is a controversial issue in our society, and occasionally in the church.
Debates have focused on the death penalty's deterrent value. Advocates assert that the fear of execution restrains the hearts of would-be criminals and prevents crime. Others argue that there is no evidence of any significant decrease in crime when the death penalty is used.
Nothing can tell what a person would do in different circumstances but the Bible explicitly says that the threat of punishment causes fear and deters some from crime.
Restraining crime is one of the purposes God has given the sword to the magistrate, but there is a deeper purpose, having to do with justice.
The biblical support for the death penalty is established on the basis of the need for retributive justice for the victim of the crime not only for the purpose of deterring crime.
In Gen 9:6; when he made his covenant never to flood the entire earth again, God commanded Noah to institute capital punishment because mankind is made in the image of God.
This was where God first established his policy against murder and his penalty for it because man is in the "image of God"
It was restated for Israel in the Mosaic Law Exod 21:12-14;Lev 24:17;
Is restated in the church age in our passage. Rom 13:
And will be the policy of TLJC during the millennial reign. Isa 11:4d;
The intent behind God's pronouncement of the death penalty for murder is to preserve human lives. However, capital punishment is not a matter of personal revenge.
No citizen has the right to take the law into their own hands. The execution of capital punishment must be discharged by duly elected and properly appointed authorities within the framework of the establishment.
When a nation is under the influence of religion or sentimental liberalism, authority breaks down and strong punitive measures against proven criminals are decried as inhumane and cruel.
The victim who has been deprived of their right to live is ignored and the nation comes under liability to the justice of God for failure to execute justice.
Individually believers may not take vengeance, but the civil authorities must function as God's "agent of wrath." even to the point of capital punishment when it is appropriate.
Rom 13:5; Unbelievers are restrained from evil by fear of punishment, but the believer is not to be motivated simply by fear of the penalty that the civil authorities may impose, They are to be motivated from their conscience by Divine standards from the inculcation of Bible Doctrine. 1Tim 1:5-6;
When a believer's conscience is filled with Bible Doctrine, they have the correct norms and standards of thinking established from Bible Doctrine in the soul from which to make good decisions from a position of strength that are compatible with the Word of God and his integrity.
We have seen in our study of Divine Good that there "is no law" against the production of God the Holy Spirit that is exhibited by the believer. Gal 5:22-23;
Paul was confident before the Jewish court because his conscience was clear Acts 23:1;
A good conscience will put to shame those who falsely accuse. 1Pet 3:16;
This means the believer is to have an intrinsically good conscience not just one that is concerned with an outward appearance. Believers are to have a clear and uncondemning conscience 1Tim 3:9; 2Tim 1:3;
Rom 13:6-7; the word translated "Render" in verse 7 in the NASB is the second person plural aorist active imperative of the Greek word "apodote” that means to "pay"
This is the same word that is used by TLJC in his mandate in Matt 22:21; where it is also translated "render" in the NASB.
The abuse by government through the levy of unfair and burdensome taxes does not negate the requirement to comply with this mandate.
When under this type of tyranny the believer must recognize that God is their source, that grace logistics are automatically supplied to all believers and prosperity always pursues doctrine. Psa 23:6;
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