Friday, November 11, 2005

Doing Good

Paul says that good people do not need to fear "rulers".

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 he will commend you (Rom 13:3).
If Paul were speaking about all political authorities, this statement would be nonsense. All over the world and throughout history, good people have had terrible harm done to them by rulers. Kings and armies have pillaged and burned houses and farms without discrimination. In the Soviet Union, millions of good people were sent into exile and many were killed. Millions of innocent people were slaughtered in Communist China. Political powers have always been a source of terror for good people.

Democracy does not prevent political powers from doing terrible harm to good people. After the London bombings, a man was shot dead by police while he walked onto a train. Tax authorities have made life miserable for many innocent people.

Paul cannot be speaking about all political power, when he says that they hold no terror for those who do right. In fact, the opposite is true. Modern political authorities have so much power that they are terror to good people.

Paul’s statement can only be true of judges implementing God’s law. They have no power to hurt good people. They can only harm those who have broken God’s law. This is further confirmation that Paul is only commanding submission to excellent judges. His statement cannot be true of other forms of political power.

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