Focal passages: Romans 13:1-14
Nero is one of the most notorious Roman emperors, ruling from 54-68 A.D.
He was responsible for the martyrdom of many Christians, including the Apostle Peter who was famously crucified upside down.
Amid this tyrannical rule, Paul penned his letter to the Romans and in Chapter 13, he begins by reminding Christians to submit to our governing authorities.
Paul recognizes that our leaders pass through God’s sovereign hand and although not all function in godly ways, Christians should seek to follow their direction, as long as they do not go against godly teaching.
This passage of scripture has been invoked repeatedly over the last several weeks as the church has sought to navigate through government orders regarding large gatherings in the midst of the COVID-19 crisis. Many churches have sought to comply and be good citizens. Invoking the teaching in Leviticus 19:18, Paul reminds us that we are to love our neighbors as ourselves.
Finally, we are reminded that our true citizenship is in heaven.
Therefore, we are to live as ones who do not partake in the sinful acts of this world. We should live lives of holiness in anticipation of His return.
Good Christian citizens exemplify a life that has been changed by the gospel message when they submit to governing authorities, love their neighbors and model holy living.
Paul believed this to be the case in the midst of Nero’s rule, and the same is true for us today.