Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Supporting Good Judges (31)

Submission works best when everyone acknowledges the best judges.

Consequently, he who rebels against the judge is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves (Rom 13:2).

The reference to judges in Romans 13:1 has no definite article, so the statement is a bout judges in general, not particular judges. In this verse, there is a definite article, so speaking of an actual judge. He is warning that if we refuse to accept the verdict of a good judge after submitting to them, we are rebelling against God's order. Those who rebel in this way will bring judgement on themselves.

This is a principle from the Law of Moses. When a person gives false evidence to incriminate another person, the judges are to investigate and if the witness proves to be a liar, they are to be given the sentence that the person falsely accused would have received (Deut 19:16-19). A person who attempts to pervert justice will receive the penalty they tried to inflict on the innocent person.

If we refuse to submit to the decision of a judge by assisting with the enforcement of the required penalty, God will inflict judgment on us. Good judges have the backing of God. Societies that reject his law and the judges he is bringing forth will experience judgment.

The only way a guilty thief could avoid making restitution would be to escape to another country. Even that might not work, because his reputation would follow him. In most situations it would be cheaper and easier to pay the restitution, and then get on with life.

If everyone submits to good judges, thieves can be punished without the use of force and coercion. Trade is voluntary, so people are not obliged to trade with a convicted thief. The thief would generally choose to make restitution, so he can continue to engage in trade.

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