Saturday, March 14, 2015

Romans 12 & 13

Romans 12 is addressed to Paul’s fellow Christians. He addresses them as brethren in Romans 12:1.

Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy… (Rom 12:1).
Paul teaches about how to overcome evil by doing good. The chapter parallels Jesus teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. Love those who hate you, and leave justice to God.

Romans 13 shifts to a different audience. The chapter begins by addressing all people, whether they are Christians or not.

Let every soul be subject…. (Rom 13:1).
People who are not Christians cannot be expected to love those who hate them. Paul says that all that is required of them is to submit to good judges applying God’s law. They will pronounce judgment against those who steal and these who assault or kill. This is required for order in society.

The distance between the two audiences is evident in Paul’s use of the word wrath (orge).

In Romans 12, Christians are to have nothing to do with wrath. They are to leave that to God.

Do not take revenge, my dear friends, but leave room for God’s wrath (Rom 12:19).
In the next chapter, judges are God’s ministers who execute wrath.
They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer (Rom 13:4).
We must submit to local judges so we have a clear conscience, but also that wrath may be executed effectively.
Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake (Rom 13:5)
More at Understanding Romans 13.

No comments: