Romans 12 covers living the New life within the Christian community. This Roman 13 covers living the new life in the secular world. We are to obey the authorities that God had appointed for our benefits for good behavior and good testimonies. For those people in the society, we are to love them as loving others fulfills the commandments. Lastly, we are let the light of Christ that is in us to shine out through our conduct by being different from them, staying away from wild parties, sexual immorality, quarreling and jealousy. We are to seize this time while we still have the day light because the night shall come soon.The mind-map that captures the essence of Romans Chapter 13 is:
How do we let our light shine out in this world?
It is seen in the ways we handle
- those in authorities and
- those that are of equal or lower standing that us in the society.
- how we behave in general.
Worldly wisdom encouraged people to take advantages of the systems and exploits the loopholes in the systems. The smart people are those who exploit the systems to the maximum without being caught. R.ich people are encouraged to hire tax consultants to minimize paying taxes to the government. They have registered business in tax havens to by pass paying taxes to their own nations. That's not the teaching of Paul here. We are to obey the authorities and pay whatever is dues to them. There are four things we should pay to those in authorities, taxes, revenues(fair prices or wages for goods and services rendered to us rather than using our strengths or connections to exploit them), respect and honor. Paul is talking more than money when he mentioned respect and honor. Do we treat our boss with respect and honor at all time. Some people said bad things and gossip behind their bosses. Such gossips about our bosses with our colleagues only show our bad testimonies. Even when our bosses make mistakes, we are still to give honor and respect, not because of anything else but because they are our bosses that God has put them over us for our good. We should not disrespect our bosses because we are smarter or older than them. We just trust and obey God's commandments.
For those that are our equal or lower than us, we are just to love them as God as love us and commanded us to love our neighbor as ourselves. Loving them are expressed not just in words but also in deeds. Are we concern about them? What have we done for them? We must do these things just because God say so. We don't do those things with ulterior motive, even the motive to get them to come to church. We even overheard them saying that when Christians invite you for lunch or dinner, they actually 'cheated' you because the lunch or dinner comes with a preaching session as the motive. We destroy their trust when do things with hidden ulterior motive.
While the people go for wild parties of drinking and sexual misconduct, we stay away from them. When people fight for promotion, gossip, or sabotage one another out of jealousy, we don't. We even help others to perform better than us when we can. We rejoice with those that get promoted, even promoted to be our boss. How can do such very different from them kinds of things? Because we have Christ in us and we know finally that it is God who promotes and take care of us.
Lim Liat (c) 30-6-13