Romans 13:5-7

Wednesday Evening Bible Study

September 15, 1999


Paul has moved through his doctrinal section in Romans and now has moved on to the practical side of things.  He’s been telling the church in Rome how they are a "body", and like a body, they are all separate parts that belong and function together. He’s talked to them about their obligations to each other like loving without hypocrisy, meeting needs, blessing, and not taking vengeance. We’ve now moved into a section where he’s reminding the church of their obligation to submit to those in authority over them.

:1-6 Submission to government

:5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.

must needs beanagke – necessity. It is a necessity that we be subject to the government.

be subjecthupotasso – to arrange under, to subordinate; to subject, put in subjection; to subject one's self, obey; to submit to one's control; to yield to one's admonition or advice; A Greek military term meaning "to arrange [troop divisions] in a military fashion under the command of a leader". In non-military use, it was "a voluntary attitude of giving in, cooperating, assuming responsibility, and carrying a burden".

consciencesuneidesis – the consciousness of anything; the soul as distinguishing between what is morally good and bad, prompting to do the former and shun the latter, commending one, condemning the other; the conscience


Pay attention to your conscience.

Your conscience should be telling you it’s wrong to disobey.


Many electronic fire alarms have an internal switch triggered by a beam of light. As long as light is received unbroken by the photo-sensitive receiver, the detector is quiet. But if smoke or moisture or an insect obstructs the beam for even a split second, the alarm sounds. Our conscience resembles such an alarm. When sin obstructs our connection with the light of God's Spirit, the conscience signals us that there's life-threatening danger.

-- A.D. Sterner, Akron, Colorado. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 4.

The problem is that our conscience can become corrupt.

(Titus 1:15 KJV) Unto the pure all things are pure: but unto them that are defiled and unbelieving is nothing pure; but even their mind and conscience is defiled.

Billy Graham: "Most of us follow our conscience as we follow a wheelbarrow. We push it in front of us in the direction we want it to go."


A man consulted a psychiatrist. He complained, "I’ve been misbehaving, Doc, and my conscience is troubling me." The doctor asked, "And you want something that will strengthen your willpower?" The fellow replied, "Well, no, I was thinking of something that would weaken my conscience."

(Eph 4:17-24 NLT) With the Lord's authority let me say this: Live no longer as the ungodly do, for they are hopelessly confused. {18} Their closed minds are full of darkness; they are far away from the life of God because they have shut their minds and hardened their hearts against him. {19} They don't care anymore about right and wrong, and they have given themselves over to immoral ways. Their lives are filled with all kinds of impurity and greed.

A heart gets hard and a conscience gets defiled when we continue in sin and refuse to listen to what the Lord is telling us. A callus develops when a part of the body is rubbed or poked continually. If the Spirit keeps convicting you, yet you resist, you will eventually develop a callused heart.

{20} But that isn't what you were taught when you learned about Christ. {21} Since you have heard all about him and have learned the truth that is in Jesus, {22} throw off your old evil nature and your former way of life, which is rotten through and through, full of lust and deception. {23} Instead, there must be a spiritual renewal of your thoughts and attitudes. {24} You must display a new nature because you are a new person, created in God's likeness--righteous, holy, and true.

Get away from the old sinful ways and immerse yourself in the good things. Your heart will become softer.

Charles Spurgeon writes, "It is a very terrible thing to let conscience begin to grow hard, for it soon chills into northern iron and steel. It is like the freezing of a pond. The first film of ice is scarcely perceptible; keep the water stirring and you will prevent the frost from hardening it. But once let it film over and remain quiet, the glaze thickens over the surface and it thickens still, and at last it is so firm that a wagon might be drawn over the solid ice. So with conscience, it films over gradually, until at last it becomes hard and unfeeling and is not crushed even with ponderous loads of iniquity."

:6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God's ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.

tributephoros – tribute, esp. the annual tax levied upon houses, lands, and persons

payteleo – to bring to a close, to finish, to end; to perform, execute, complete, fulfil; to pay

"It is finished or paid" Joh 19:30

ministersleitourgos – a public minister, a servant of the state

attending continuallyproskartereo – to adhere to one, to be devoted or constant to one; to be steadfastly attentive unto, to give unremitting care to a thing; to be in constant readiness for one, wait on constantly

Paying our taxes shows our submission to the government.

I wonder how these goofy cults ever can come up with the idea of not paying their taxes.

Jesus endorsed paying your taxes:

(Mat 22:17-21 KJV) Tell us therefore, What thinkest thou? Is it lawful to give tribute unto Caesar, or not? {18} But Jesus perceived their wickedness, and said, Why tempt ye me, ye hypocrites? {19} Show me the tribute money. And they brought unto him a penny. {20} And he saith unto them, Whose is this image and superscription? {21} They say unto him, Caesar's. Then saith he unto them, Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.

This doesn’t mean that we shouldn’t be careful about how much tax we pay. You don’t have to feel guilty for taking exemptions on your income tax. That’s all part of the law. You aren’t obligated to pay Caesar more than he’s due. But don’t cheat the government either. Don’t fall into the world’s trap of doing things illegally. If you are paid in cash, report it as income. Pay your taxes.

:7-10 Taxes, what is owed

:7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.

renderapodidomi – to deliver, to give away for one's own profit what is one's own, to sell; to pay off, discharge what is due

duesopheile – that which is owed; a debt.

These four things listed are to be seen as what we "owe" to others.

tributephoros – tribute, esp. the annual tax levied upon houses, lands, and persons. Paid by nations under the rule of Rome.

customtelos – end; termination; toll, custom (i.e. indirect tax on goods). Tax for the local civilian government.

Who are we obligated to pay "tribute" and "custom"?

The government.

fearphobos – fear, dread, terror

Who do we owe "fear" to?

Matthew 10:28 And fear not them which kill the body, but are not able to kill the soul: but rather fear him which is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.

We aren’t supposed to be afraid of people, in particular those who might want to kill us.

We are supposed to fear God.

Ephesians 6:5 Servants, be obedient to them that are [your] masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;

1 Peter 2:18 Servants, [be] subject to [your] masters with all fear; not only to the good and gentle, but also to the froward.

We are to give "fear" to our "masters", for us it’s our bosses.

honourtime – a valuing by which the price is fixed; honour which belongs or is shown to one. We see the idea of "value" in:

Acts 4:34 Neither was there any among them that lacked: for as many as were possessors of lands or houses sold them, and brought the prices (time) of the things that were sold,


Giving honor.

Who do we owe "honour"?

1. Honor God.

John 5:22-23 For the Father judgeth no man, but hath committed all judgment unto the Son: {23} That all men should honour the Son, even as they honour the Father. He that honoureth not the Son honoureth not the Father which hath sent him.

1 Timothy 1:17 Now unto the King eternal, immortal, invisible, the only wise God, [be] honour and glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Revelation 4:11 Thou art worthy, O Lord, to receive glory and honour and power: for thou hast created all things, and for thy pleasure they are and were created.

2. Your boss.

1 Timothy 6:1 Let as many servants as are under the yoke count their own masters worthy of all honour, that the name of God and [his] doctrine be not blasphemed.

When you value your boss, God is not blasphemed (as in "Oh those Christians!)

3. Widows that can’t take care of themselves.

1 Timothy 5:3 Honour widows that are widows indeed.

The idea is that the church would honor them by meeting their financial needs.

4. Elders.

1 Timothy 5:17 Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honour, especially they who labour in the word and doctrine.

5. Your marriage

Hebrews 13:4 Marriage [is] honourable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.

6. Your wife

1 Peter 3:7 Likewise, ye husbands, dwell with [them] according to knowledge, giving honour unto the wife, as unto the weaker vessel, and as being heirs together of the grace of life; that your prayers be not hindered.

7. Honor your parents

Eph 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right. {2} Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise; {3} That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.

This is a difficult commandment. I know that for some of you, your parents aren’t very nice or they’ve abused you. We may have a difficult time understanding them or being around them, but we are asked to place a high value on them all the same.

8. Honor every person

1 Peter 2:17 Honour all [men]. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honour the king.

9. Paul didn’t hold a price on his own life.

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear (time) unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.

10. God honors you.

John 12:26 If any man serve me, let him follow me; and where I am, there shall also my servant be: if any man serve me, him will [my] Father honour.

1 Corinthians 6:20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God's.

1 Corinthians 7:23 Ye are bought with a price; be not ye the servants of men.

God values you highly. He’s paid a great price for you. That ought to affect the way we live.