How does the Christian affect the world? What does being salt and light mean? What are God’s requirements of every Christian in the world as far as being an employee? Actually, the world would be a better place, and so would business. If Romans 12 is the model of how Christians ought to relate to one another, then Romans 13 is how Christians ought to relate to their employers and employees.
Submitting to Government
Paul is clear about what God’s expectations are for believers in the world of work. Starting in verse one he says, “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves.”
Submitting to Employers
So being obedient, submissive, and a faithful work is commanded of us by God. In verse 3 Paul continues, “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake.”
God has placed people in the church as it pleases Him. My church has a deacon, and elder and for some reason unknown to me, has placed me as their pastor. So we should realize that people that are in authority over us, at work, in public and in church, as God’s agents. He has placed each person in their position as His sovereignty pleased Him to do so. It is no accident.
Submitting to Rulers
Paul continued in verse 6, “For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.” In other words, we are to esteem those in authority with respect and honor that is due them. Not because you agree with them, but because God has instructed Christians to do so.
Submitting to Society
In verse 8, Paul says that we are to “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not bear false witness, ‘You shall not covet,’, and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Love does no harm to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfillment of the law.”
Wearing Christ in Public
Paul tells us that the world is watching us and so says, “And do this, knowing the time, that now it is high time to awake out of sleep; for now our salvation is nearer than when we first believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand. Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts.”
How different would be the world if Christians took to heart these commands to be a good neighbor, citizen, employer/employee, and fellow member of the Body of Christ? Then indeed, it would be said of us all, collectively, that “These that have turned the world upside down are come here also.” – Acts 17:6. Maybe it should read, we have turned the world, right side up!