Many Americans will rejoice at the swearing in of a new president today and many will feel afflicted. No matter which candidate is elected for any office we will always end up with a flawed, sinful human taking office. Some’s sinfulness will appear greater to us than others. Christians should take this as a reminder that what our souls truly long for is a perfect leader and that there will only be one of those – Jesus Christ, our Lord. Romans 13:1-7 should remind us that today’s inauguration of a new president is mostly about God and His sovereign goodness and not a man with his mix of good and evil.
Romans 13:1-7 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, 4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. 7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.
Think of the things we should take away from the text:
God commands all people to submit to the “governing authorities” (v.1).
Donald Trump’s presidency was “instituted by God” (v.1) as was Barak Obama’s, George Bush’s, and every US president and leader of every nation.
Resisting the authority of the governmental authority is evil and will “incur judgment by God (v.2).
We are to seek the “approval” of our new president by doing “what is good” (v.3).
The new president (and all leaders) are “God’s servant” and accountable to carry out God’s purposes. He will be rewarded or condemned by God based on his actions (v.4).
So we must “be in subjection” in order to “avoid God’s wrath” on ourselves (v.5).
We are commanded to pay our taxes and we should obey (v.7).
We are to respect and honor our president (v.7) as well as all others in authority over us.