Monday, July 13, 2020

Prophets and Rulers (8) Romans v Ephesians

Many Christians live with a contradiction between their understanding of Romans 13:1 and Ephesians 6:10. The latter passage explains that our struggle is against principalities and powers and world rulers in the spiritual realms. These words are political terms. A principality is a territory ruled by a prince. These characters are spiritual powers who work on earth by manipulating and controlling political power on earth. (Because no one knows what a principality is, I call them government-spirits to describe their role more accurately).

Many Christians realise that government-spirits can dominate and control governments in places like Nigeria, North Korea and Iran. However, they seem to assume that government-spirits cannot control the governments in places like the USA, UK and New Zealand. Yet Paul says that we are all struggling against government-spirits (principalities and powers). The proof that this is true is the reality that when a change of government occurs, most things carry on the same. The reason they don’t change in the way promised by the politicians is that the same government-spirits remain in control.

Submitting to the authority of a government that is controlled by government-spirits is extremely dangerous for Christians. This means that the common understanding of Romans 13:1, that everyone should submit to their government cannot be true (Christians in Hitler’s Germany discovered their mistake too late). If government-spirits in the spiritual realms control a government on earth, Paul would not urge followers of Jesus to submit to it, because that would leave them vulnerable to these evil spiritual powers.

I have explained in Understanding Romans 13 that Paul was reiterating God’s way of government, based on local judges applying his law. He was telling Christians they should submit to every government, regardless of their situation.

Christians should review their understanding of Romans 13:1 in the light of Eph 6:10. The government-spirits that control our nations have had too much power for too long, given that they were defeated on the cross. So, it is foolish for Christians to submit their power by submitting to the human governments that they control, in a vain hope that political power can make the world a better place.

The full series is at Prophets and Rulers.

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