Romans 13:1 (NIV)
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.
Well, Election Day arrived and we are now waiting for the official final results. I hope everyone exercised their constitutional right to vote because it is the foundation of our republic form of government. As Abraham Lincoln shared during his Gettysburg Address, our collective self-governance as a republic is to be a government OF the People … BY the People … and FOR the People. Only in this way can our freedoms be preserved. Yes, your vote and mine are critical to the functioning of our Republic as it was envisioned by the brilliance of our Founding Fathers….
That said, our Verse of the Day is a reminder for us to understand a deeper and more abiding purpose of our governing authorities; namely, that they are established by God. This is quite a statement given that the Roman empire was in governmental authority at the time Paul wrote his Letter to the Romans. Let’s look at the verse in context:
Romans 13:1-5 (NIV)
1 Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. 4 For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
The Apostle Peter wrote similar instruction:
1 Peter 2:13-17 (NIV)
13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human authority: whether to the emperor, as the supreme authority, 14 or to governors, who are sent by Him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right. 15 For it is God’s will that by doing good you should silence the ignorant talk of foolish people. 16 Live as free people, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as God’s slaves. 17 Show proper respect to everyone, love the family of believers, fear God, honor the emperor.
Regardless of who ultimately wins the election, we should subject ourselves to the governing authorities as unto God … who is sovereign over all things. And we are call to pray for our elected officials … not only when elections are being conducted but at all times. As Paul encouraged: “I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people—for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. This is good, and pleases God our Savior,who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. (Cf. 1 Timothy 2:1-4)
So, I pray that what we will be most interested in … beyond the election results … is what God want to establish; namely, His rule within in our hearts. Amen.