How are we going to overcome Romans 13? What was Apostle Paul really saying? The best way to bring understanding on Romans 13 is to ask, "Who was apostle Paul writing to at Rome?" The answer is found at Romans 1:7: Paul was writing to all those in Rome who are "beloved of God, called to be saints." He was not writing to the general population at Rome. He was specifically addressing the "called out ones," the Body of Christ.
If apostle Paul was advocating obedience to secular authorities, then Caesar would have no cause against him. Why would Caesar have Paul beheaded if he was promoting obedience to Rome?
The world loves its own. If Paul belonged to Caesar, Caesar would not want to kill his own. If Paul was promoting "be subject to Caesar," then Paul would be Caesar's friend. You would not kill your own. You don't destroy the very instrument that advertises for you.
The truth is that Apostle Paul was beheaded for promoting a rival government known as the Kingdom of God or the Kingdom of Heaven. Already this new government was turning the world upside down. Caesar had Paul killed to help stop this threat to Rome's power.
If Romans 13 does not mean "obey the State," what does it mean? Romans 13 means, "Remember them which have the rule over you," as you will also find at Hebrews 13:7. Since Paul was addressing the saints at Rome, it is logical that he would instruct them to submit to those who look after their souls. It is a reminder to be obedient to the authorities God has placed over His people. For they are truly the "ministers of God to thee for good." Unlike worldly rulers, God's ministers are not a terror to good works but to the evil. Therefore, "do that which is good and thou shalt have praise of the same."
Romans 13 is probably the most devastating thing to a Christian in the hands of the ungodly. It sounds so convincing to obey those who appear to be in power. For too long, secular governments have used Romans 13 as a club to beat Christians into obedience to them. Just because a group maintains power through their guns and jails, does not mean God put them there.
God said there are powers not ordained by Him at Hosea 8:4, "They have set up kings, but not by me: they have made princes, and I knew it not."
God didn't put them in power over the righteous. That's Satan's idea. The righteous don't need worldly, filthy authorities, which are no authorities at all. Do you think that they can instruct the righteous? They themselves steal. They themselves are perverts. And they presume to instruct the righteous? I don't think so.
Apostle Paul had many troubles with worldly rulers. He was given 39 stripes five times by the Jews, beaten with rods three times, in perils by his own countrymen and by the heathen, and frequently in prison. (See 2 Corinthians 11:23-26). In Damascus the governor kept the city of the Damascenes with a garrison, desiring to apprehend Paul. "And through a window in a basket was I let down by the wall, and escaped his hands," wrote Paul at 2 Corinthians 11:32. That is the same Paul that wrote Romans 13. He was forced to flee from the civil authorities, those "powers that be" that people say are ordained of God. Sorry folks, this does not compute. When Paul says, "the powers that be," he is saying the powers that be powers, are ordained of God. In other words, the only true powers are those that God ordains.
The crux of the matter is this, Does Paul in Romans 13:1-7 argue that the civil government of this world has legitimate authority over the people of God? We believe that the obedient, called-out people of God are not bound to obey manmade civil governments. God's people are answerable to God above all else and are bound by His commands. At the same time, God's people are not to use their liberty as a cloak to do evil, to foment rebellion or waste time trying to influence the politics of the governments of this world. Furthermore, we believe Paul in Romans 13:1-7 is referring to the spiritual leaders of the Body of Christ, not the civil authorities of this world.
If Paul is saying, "Obey the civil authorities," then he has a conflict in his life. Is Paul promoting Caesar or separating from Caesar? If Paul is promoting Caesar, there is no way I want Paul in my Bible. He can't work for Caesar and Jesus Christ. Caesar already has his writings, they are called "revised statutes" or the "law of the land." You can have them if you want. I would rather have God's Word. Actually that which is called the "law of the land," is the law of the devil. The term is used in the U.S. Constitution, where men claim that their laws are the supreme law of the land (See U.S. Constitution, Article VI).
"Master, which is the great commandment in the law? Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets" (Matthew 22:36-40). Do you know what that represents to a Christian? These two commands are the Supreme Law of the Land. If you believe that something else is the supreme law of the land for a Christian, someone has deceived you. It was a thief who drew you away from the true Supreme Law of the Land (see John 10:8).
If you have the two great commandments, how much allegiance do you have left for the worldly rulers of this dark age? Let me tell you, you have ZERO allegiance to Satan and his agents. All your time is spent "loving God" and "loving neighbor," and there is no room left over for obeying Satan and his minions.
And we know that we are of God, and the whole world lieth in wickedness.
1 John 5:19
As true followers of Jesus, we are led by the Spirit and our lives reflect the fact that we belong to another kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven. Our stay on earth is only transitory. As citizens of Heaven, we are bound to submit and pledge allegiance to the King of Heaven and His government over us. We are not bound to obey the government of some nation just because we happen to be living within their so-called "borders."
Remember, "The earth is the Lord's, and the fulness thereof" (1 Corinthians 10:26). Yet there is a pack of thieves out there who have divided up the earth and perverts are ruling over it. And they are doing it at the egging on of Satan himself.
Romans 13 has been wrongly interpreted by ruling secular governments to mean a Christian must submit to them. This misinterpretation forms a powerful weapon to neutralize and misdirect the power of God's Kingdom.
As the followers of Jesus Christ, we belong to another Kingdom, the Kingdom of Heaven. The Kingdom has its own government, its own laws, and its own leaders. Apostle Paul was not commanding us in Romans 13 to submit to the civil authorities of the kingdoms of this world. He was commanding us to submit to the authority of God's leaders who oversee the "called-out ones."
It is a fallacy that Paul was commanding Christians at Rome to submit to the secular government. It is time that Christ's followers renounce their allegiance to the ever-changing governments of men. They must set an example that there is a higher and more perfect form of government, the Kingdom of Heaven.
Of course there will be consequences. Jesus was brought to Pilate to be crucified on charges of "perverting the nation, and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar, saying that he himself is Christ a King" (Luke 23:2). We, too, must be willing to sacrifice even our very lives to proclaim God's sovereign rulership over us.
When we boldly declare that we belong to God's Kingdom, we are left with no choice but to trust God for His provision in the face of a hostile world. We quickly learn that our safety is in our obedience. To trust in carnal weapons and physical force is vanity. We serve a living God. He is well able to make a way for us regardless of how much the modern day Nebuchadnezzar's rage and threaten to destroy us.
Christians are in no way bound by the Scriptures to obey and support the manmade governments of this world. We are bound to live peaceably with all men to the greatest degree possible. Yet our loyalty, allegiance, and obedience must always be found at the feet of Christ. Our goal is to see souls brought to Christ. The more fully we separate from the world and consecrate ourselves to God, the more power we will have to infiltrate the hearts and minds of men with a living example of the Gospel. The world must see that God does have a people on this earth, and that His power dwells in their midst. Let us commit ourselves to His kingdom and be His people.
Warning: Beware of the Living Bible and the Good News Bible. They are merely Bible paraphrases, not translations. The wording is not true to the original Hebrew and Greek. The scriptures are perverted to support secular Christianity.
King James Bible