Romans Chapter thirteen

VERSE 1 Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2 Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6 This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. 7 Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.

Live as free men, but do not use your freedom as a cover-up for evil; live as servants of God. 17 Show proper respect to everyone: Love the brotherhood of believers, fear God, honour the king (1 Peter 2:16-17).

In the time of Paul, the Jews were living under the oppression of the Roman Empire and it would generally have been regarded as unpatriotic and even treason for an Israelite to pay taxes to Rome or to submit to the Roman governing authorities.

…the Pharisees went out and laid plans to trap Jesus in his words. 16 They sent their disciples to him along with the Herodians. “Teacher,” they said, “we know you are a man of integrity and that you teach the way of God in accordance with the truth. You aren’t swayed by men, because you pay no attention to who they are. 17 Tell us then, what is your opinion? Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?” 18 But Jesus, knowing their evil intent, said, “You hypocrites, why are you trying to trap me? 19 Show me the coin used for paying the tax.” They brought him a denarius, 20 and he asked them, “Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?” 21 “Caesar’s,” they replied. Then he said to them, “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” 22 When they heard this, they were amazed. So they left him and went away (Matthew 22:15-22).

Pilate then went back inside the palace, summoned Jesus and asked him, “Are you the king of the Jews?” 34 “Is that your own idea,” Jesus asked, “or did others talk to you about me?” 35 “Am I a Jew?” Pilate replied. “It was your people and your chief priests who handed you over to me. What is it you have done?” 36 Jesus said, “My kingdom is not of this world. If it were, my servants would fight to prevent my arrest by the Jews. But now my kingdom is from another place.” 37 “You are a king, then!” said Pilate. Jesus answered, “You are right in saying I am a king. In fact, for this reason I was born, and for this I came into the world, to testify to the truth. Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (John 18:33-37).

The Jews demonstrated their hypocrisy, for not only did they try to trap Jesus by testing where a Jews loyalty lies – to Rome or to Jerusalem, but they then manipulated Pilate into having Jesus crucified because Jesus claimed to be a king – which they suggested would be in rivalry with Caesar.

The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” 8 When Pilate heard this, he was even more afraid, 9 and he went back inside the palace. “Where do you come from?” he asked Jesus, but Jesus gave him no answer. 10 “Do you refuse to speak to me?” Pilate said. “Don’t you realize I have power either to free you or to crucify you?” 11 Jesus answered, “You would have no power over me if it were not given to you from above. Therefore the one who handed me over to you is guilty of a greater sin.” 12 From then on, Pilate tried to set Jesus free, but the Jews kept shouting, “If you let this man go, you are no friend of Caesar. Anyone who claims to be a king opposes Caesar (John 19:7-12).

When you enter the land the LORD your God is giving you and have taken possession of it and settled in it, and you say, “Let us set a king over us like all the nations around us,” 15 be sure to appoint over you the king the LORD your God chooses. He must be from among your own brothers. Do not place a foreigner over you, one who is not a brother Israelite (Deuteronomy 17:14-15).

It was regarded as a humiliating defeat for Israelites to be ruled over by a foreign king of the gentiles, but because of their unfaithfulness to the LORD, God handed them over to the Gentiles which they were to humbly accept as the punishment for their disobedience.

Early in the reign of Zedekiah son of Josiah king of Judah, this word came to Jeremiah from the LORD: 2 This is what the LORD said to me [Jeremiah]: “Make a yoke out of straps and crossbars and put it on your neck. 3 Then send word to the kings of Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre and Sidon through the envoys who have come to Jerusalem to Zedekiah king of Judah. 4 Give them a message for their masters and say, ‘This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Tell this to your masters: 5 With my great power and outstretched arm I made the earth and its people and the animals that are on it, and I give it to anyone I please. 6 Now I will hand all your countries over to my servant Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him. 7 All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes; then many nations and great kings will subjugate him. 8 If, however, any nation or kingdom will not serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon or bow its neck under his yoke, I will punish that nation with the sword, famine and plague, declares the LORD, until I destroy it by his hand. 9 So do not listen to your prophets, your diviners, your interpreters of dreams, your mediums or your sorcerers who tell you, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon.’ 10 They prophesy lies to you that will only serve to remove you far from your lands; I will banish you and you will perish. 11 But if any nation will bow its neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon and serve him, I will let that nation remain in its own land to till it and to live there, declares the LORD.’” 12 I gave the same message to Zedekiah king of Judah. I said, “Bow your neck under the yoke of the king of Babylon; serve him and his people, and you will live. 13 Why will you and your people die by the sword, famine and plague with which the LORD has threatened any nation that will not serve the king of Babylon? 14 Do not listen to the words of the prophets who say to you, ‘You will not serve the king of Babylon,’ for they are prophesying lies to you. 15 ‘I have not sent them,’ declares the LORD. ‘They are prophesying lies in my name. Therefore, I will banish you and you will perish, both you and the prophets who prophesy to you’” (Jeremiah 27:1-15).

It is a difficult and humiliating thing for Jews to be told to submit to gentile rulers.

However, when we are assured of the victory of Jesus Christ – even through his humiliating death on the cross – and we are reminded of his humility under Pilate, then we are able to endure humiliation and even suffering and persecution for the sake of his name and glory.

Jesus not only defeated the enemy on the cross, but he also triumphed over death itself.

…having disarmed the powers and authorities, he made a public spectacle of them, triumphing over them by the cross (Colossians 2:15).

However, notice the example under the old covenant of the false words of encouragement spoken through a false prophet the likes of which still appeals to the Jewish national sentiment and to religious pride.

Then the prophet Hananiah took the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah and broke it, 11 and he said before all the people, “This is what the LORD says: ‘In the same way will I break the yoke of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon off the neck of all the nations within two years.’” At this, the prophet Jeremiah went on his way. 12 Shortly after the prophet Hananiah had broken the yoke off the neck of the prophet Jeremiah, the word of the LORD came to Jeremiah: 13 “Go and tell Hananiah, ‘This is what the LORD says: You have broken a wooden yoke, but in its place you will get a yoke of iron. 14 This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: I will put an iron yoke on the necks of all these nations to make them serve Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and they will serve him. I will even give him control over the wild animals.’” 15 Then the prophet Jeremiah said to Hananiah the prophet, “Listen, Hananiah! The LORD has not sent you, yet you have persuaded this nation to trust in lies” (Jeremiah 28:10-15).

I personally do not support the sentiments of Zionism – they encourage Jewish nationalism which leads to hostility with non-Jewish nations, when Jesus has, through the cross, broken down the former barrier and hostility between Jew and Gentile. And secondly, the Scriptures teach that Jerusalem will be trampled upon by the nations until Jesus appears from heaven in his glory and majesty at which God will make a new heaven and a new earth.

Jesus said: “There will be great distress in the land and wrath against this people. 24 They will fall by the sword and will be taken as prisoners to all the nations. Jerusalem will be trampled on by the Gentiles until the times of the Gentiles are fulfilled” (Luke 21:23[b]-24).

The high priest carries the blood of animals into the Most Holy Place as a sin offering, but the bodies are burned outside the camp. 12 And so Jesus also suffered outside the city gate to make the people holy through his own blood. 13 Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. 14 For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come (Hebrews 13:11-14).

It is perceived to be a shame and disgrace for Jews to be scattered among the nations, but Jews and Gentiles are being gathered in the Name of Jesus Christ the King of kings – and we should not be so proud as to resist the humiliation and suffering in this present world as we wait for Jesus to appear in is glory – that humiliation includes submitting to the rulers and authorities of the ungodly kingdoms of the world – an example of which is found when the Jews were taken into captivity in Babylon. We live in the world although we are not of the world. The seventy years of captivity in Babylon may also be taken figuratively as a lifetime which we live in the tent of this mortal body in this fallen world as we await the appearing of our Lord and Saviour.

This is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says to all those I carried into exile from Jerusalem to Babylon: 5 “Build houses and settle down; plant gardens and eat what they produce. 6 Marry and have sons and daughters; find wives for your sons and give your daughters in marriage, so that they too may have sons and daughters. Increase in number there; do not decrease. 7 Also, seek the peace and prosperity of the city to which I have carried you into exile. Pray to the LORD for it, because if it prospers, you too will prosper.” 8 Yes, this is what the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let the prophets and diviners among you deceive you. Do not listen to the dreams you encourage them to have. 9 They are prophesying lies to you in my name. I have not sent them,” declares the LORD (Jeremiah 29:4-9).

Jesus called them together and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave– 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many” (Matthew 20:25-28).

To become friends of the world and to compromise with the rulers of the Gentiles is like committing spiritual adultery – yet at the same time we are required to humbly submit to their authority – not trying to manipulate or control them for our own expediency or to avoid persecution.

One of the seven angels who had the seven bowls came and said to me, “Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters. 2 With her the kings of the earth committed adultery and the inhabitants of the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her adulteries.” 3 Then the angel carried me away in the Spirit into a desert. There I saw a woman sitting on a scarlet beast that was covered with blasphemous names and had seven heads and ten horns. 4 The woman was dressed in purple and scarlet, and was glittering with gold, precious stones and pearls. She held a golden cup in her hand, filled with abominable things and the filth of her adulteries. 5 This title was written on her forehead: MYSTERY BABYLON THE GREAT THE MOTHER OF PROSTITUTES AND OF THE ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH. 6 I saw that the woman was drunk with the blood of the saints, the blood of those who bore testimony to Jesus. When I saw her, I was greatly astonished. 7 Then the angel said to me: “Why are you astonished? I will explain to you the mystery of the woman and of the beast she rides, which has the seven heads and ten horns” (Revelation 17:1-7).

The leaders of Israel in the earthly city of Jerusalem, instead of submitting to the anointed King of the Jews, Jesus Christ, the one to whom all authority in heaven and earth had been given – and who is exalted to the highest throne in heaven, gave pretended to give their allegiance to Caesar, but not in genuine submission, but rather to manipulate and use towards their own rebellion against Jesus, the church and the kingdom of God.

But as had been revealed to the apostle John, due to unfaithfulness to the Lord, Jerusalem the harlot, was destined to herself being crushed by the beast she tried to manipulate against the church – i.e. unfaithful Israel was destined to be thoroughly crushed by the Roman Empire.

“Here is your king,” Pilate said to the Jews. 15 But they shouted, “Take him away! Take him away! Crucify him!” “Shall I crucify your king?” Pilate asked. “We have no king but Caesar,” the chief priests answered (John 19:14-15).

Yet forty years later the Jews rebelled against Rome in a vain effort to liberate Israel from gentile rule. But when it suited their opposition to the church, they incited people and Rome against the church.

The word of the Lord spread through the whole region. 50 But the Jews incited the God-fearing women of high standing and the leading men of the city. They stirred up persecution against Paul and Barnabas, and expelled them from their region. 51 So they shook the dust from their feet in protest against them and went to Iconium. 52 And the disciples were filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit. 14:1 At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Gentiles believed. 2 But the Jews who refused to believe stirred up the Gentiles and poisoned their minds against the brothers (Acts 13:49 – 14:2).

However, although we are told to submit to the governing authorities, we must resist and choose to disobey men rather than to bow down to their foreign gods – or do anything which may compromise our faith in Jesus Christ as our only Lord and King.

The Roman authorities tried on many occasions to force the Christians to acknowledge Caesar as lord – and to make sacrifices to the Roman idols – and the Christians resisted even to the point of death – as did Daniel and his friends.

Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego replied to the king, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you in this matter. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. 18 But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up (Daniel 3:16-18).

Then they (the members of the Sanhedrin) called them (the apostles) in again and commanded them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. 19 But Peter and John replied, “Judge for yourselves whether it is right in God’s sight to obey you rather than God. 20 For we cannot help speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:18-20).

Let us take another careful look at verse 5:

Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

As we have been reminded, the LORD spoke through Jeremiah telling the people that they would be required to submit to Nebuchadnezzar, the King of Babylon – which the LORD was going to use as his sword of wrath and judgment even against unfaithful Israel – but Daniel and his friends resisted when it came to the point of idolatry.

However, the false prophet Hananiah tried to appeal to people’s national pride and loyalty as Jews, and he suggested that it was certainly not God’s will that God’s chosen people, his holy nation, should bow down and submit to a gentile king and pagan kingdom – but he failed to understand God’s purpose through which the LORD, as King of kings, also uses even gentile kings to accomplish his purpose in bring trials and even punishment upon God’s people to refine them.

Furthermore, even as Joseph had been imprisoned for a period of time by Pharaoh, the LORD ultimately used all things, even suffering and persecution of his righteous ones – for the good of his purpose.

We must take great care as to when we may try to justify civil disobedience for the sake of our consciences in seeking first the kingdom of God – and not to simply approve of all rebellion against the governing authorities because they are under the control of wicked gentile rulers.

Furthermore, we must also appreciate that as Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego – and the apostles – and all the martyrs, were quite prepared to suffer the consequences of persecution and even death – where their obedience to the kingdom of God took precedence over their obedience to the kingdoms of the world, even such suffering is in the hands of the LORD and ultimately for his glory and his good purpose.

When it pleased the Lord Jesus for the sake of his purpose, Peter and Paul were often rescued in times of imprisonment and persecution – but at the proper time, in perfect submission and obedience to Jesus Christ and the ordained governments, both Peter and Paul were executed because they were perceived to be a threat to peace and stability and to the Roman Empire.

Paul was sentenced to death by the Roman Empire, – the very government to which he told Christians to submit and which he said hold no terror for those who do right – and of which Paul said would commend law abiding citizens. Was Paul mistaken and proved wrong?

VERSES 3-4 For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4 For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

Jesus too was killed by the Romans – does that mean the governments of this world do have power to do harm to the faithful subjects of the kingdom of God?

Daniel, Paul, Peter and many others have had to stand in judgment under the kings of this world who hold men accountable even through the fear of death – but we serve a King whose kingdom is not of this world and a King who has triumphed over death itself.

If it were not for the reality of the resurrection then considering the sacrifices made by Christians, including the sacrifice of their lives as martyrs for the kingdom of God, we would be pitied above all others.

If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men. 20 But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. 21 For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man. 22 For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. 23 But each in his own turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him. 24 Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. 25 For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. 26 The last enemy to be destroyed is death (1 Corinthians 15:19-25).

Jesus said: “Do not be afraid of those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather, be afraid of the One who can destroy both soul and body in hell…. Whoever acknowledges me before men, I will also acknowledge him before my Father in heaven. 33 But whoever disowns me before men, I will disown him before my Father in heaven” (Matthew 10:28;32-33).

Some people are confused and ask, “If God is all powerful and sovereign then why does he still allow evil to prosper for a time?”

But they do not realize that God has already spoken and determined that a time is indeed coming when he will finally crush all rebellion – but because he is indeed sovereign – and this present life, which seems so long from our mortal perspective, is really only a mist which is here today and gone tomorrow, we need to learn to appreciate that God is using evil, including Satan and corrupt and even wicked rulers, ultimately for his purpose of testing and purifying those who repent and faithfully serve him as King of kings.

He gives us the faith of Daniel, Paul and Peter to endure all manner of trials and persecution, even to the point of death, – so that we may also share in the glory that awaits those who have remained steadfast and faithful to the end.

Do not be afraid of what you are about to suffer. I tell you, the devil will put some of you in prison to test you, and you will suffer persecution for ten days. Be faithful, even to the point of death, and I will give you the crown of life. 11 He who has an ear, let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches. He who overcomes will not be hurt at all by the second death (Revelation 2:10-11).

When God does eventually overthrow and finally destroy all wickedness and rebellion – it will be sudden and complete – and an eternal destruction that will never again arise – but for now he has granted opportunity for even the worst of sinners to repent and to be forgiven and reconciled to him – and we are his ambassadors bring peace to world that is still filled with rebellion, hostility and sin – but which can be saved through the power of the gospel.

If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. 19 Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath, for it is written: “It is mine to avenge; I will repay,” says the Lord. 20 On the contrary: “If your enemy is hungry, feed him; if he is thirsty, give him something to drink. In doing this, you will heap burning coals on his head.” 21 Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good (Romans 12:18-21).

Even through suffering, persecution and martyrdom – we, who faithfully serve the risen King – will also triumph and overcome evil with good.

David Lipscomb who wrote an excellent commentary on Romans, was of the opinion that Christians, as ambassadors of Christ and the kingdom of God which is not of this world cannot really also serve within the kingdoms of this world – for they will always find themselves in a conflicting and even compromising situation. …be afraid, for he [the one with governing authority] does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

However, we should not live by the sword and neither is it the responsibility of Christians to avenge evil for we are to proclaim the gospel of God’s grace and mercy.

All powers and authorities, both good and wicked have been ordained by God according to his providence. That does not, however, mean that God approves of – or even condones – evil and harsh judgment, but that he allows it to continue for a brief moment while also warning of the ultimate judgment and eternal condemnation that awaits all those who refuse to repent and who defiantly persist in their wicked rebellion against Jesus and the kingdom of God which is not of this world.

For this reason, Lipscomb believed that it was the duty of governments to inflict punishment – even by the sword, but it was the duty of Christians to endure suffering and even injustice while they refrain from ever returning evil with evil and while they await God’s perfect judgment – and leave vengeance and wrath only for the Lord at the appointed time as far as the kingdom of heaven is concerned.

The kings of the gentiles will continue to govern and rule in the affairs of men until the close of the present age – and their reign will even culminate with one final rebellion against the kingdom of God which Jesus will then overthrow by his glorious and majestic appearance from heaven (see 2 Thessalonians chapter 2).

Jesus replied, “Friend, do what you came for.” Then the men stepped forward, seized Jesus and arrested him. 51 With that, one of Jesus’ companions reached for his sword, drew it out and struck the servant of the high priest, cutting off his ear. 52 “Put your sword back in its place,” Jesus said to him, “for all who draw the sword will die by the sword. 53 Do you think I cannot call on my Father, and he will at once put at my disposal more than twelve legions of angels? 54 But how then would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say it must happen in this way?” 55 At that time Jesus said to the crowd, “Am I leading a rebellion, that you have come out with swords and clubs to capture me? Every day I sat in the temple courts teaching, and you did not arrest me. 56 But this has all taken place that the writings of the prophets might be fulfilled.” Then all the disciples deserted him and fled (Matthew 26:50-56).

David Lipscomb (1831-1917), whom I referred to above, was a Christian pacifist who believed that Christians should not become involved in politics – and the kingdoms of this fallen world.

I personally believe that it is better for Christians to flee from evil than to fight “tooth and nail” for this fallen world and for the corrupt politics of the kingdoms of the gentiles. We must proclaim the gospel at all times, realizing that it is not the various evils in themselves that we war against, but against people’s unbelief and rebellion against the King who is already enthroned in heaven.

If Jesus changes people’s hearts as they respond to the gospel – then they will change their behaviour as they submit to him as their Lord and King. But just as the Law itself was powerless to change sinners, no amount of good intentions will be able to change evil men unless they respond to the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Democracy may be a fair-minded policy for the kingdoms of the world – but the kingdom of God is a theocracy.

God has installed his glorious King upon the highest throne and he is calling all people from all nations to the obedience – that comes from the faith – that comes from hearing his word.

But we do not know how we may respond in different circumstances and we may only pray for wisdom and strength of faith from the Lord to act in a manner which is pleasing to him.

Slaves, submit yourselves to your masters with all respect, not only to those who are good and considerate, but also to those who are harsh. 19 For it is commendable if a man bears up under the pain of unjust suffering because he is conscious of God. 20 But how is it to your credit if you receive a beating for doing wrong and endure it? But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. 21 To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps. 22 “He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” 23 When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly (1 Peter 2:18-23).

When Israel asked to have a king rule over them as the gentiles do, the LORD told Samuel that they had rejected him as their King but by his providence he granted them their undiscerning desire- even warning them of the consequence due to the corruption of men’s hearts, even the noblest of men become corrupt through pride and conceit.

We must not conform to the pattern of this fallen world and its corrupt rulers for our King is in heaven and his kingdom is not of this world.

RO 13:8 Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another, for he who loves his fellowman has fulfilled the law. 9 The commandments, “Do not commit adultery,” “Do not murder,” “Do not steal,” “Do not covet,” and whatever other commandment there may be, are summed up in this one rule: “Love your neighbour as yourself.” 10 Love does no harm to its neighbour. Therefore love is the fulfilment of the law.

RO 13:11 And do this, understanding the present time. The hour has come for you to wake up from your slumber, because our salvation is nearer now than when we first believed.

For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Live as children of light 9 (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) 10 and find out what pleases the Lord. 11 Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. 12 For it is shameful even to mention what the disobedient do in secret. 13 But everything exposed by the light becomes visible, 14 for it is light that makes everything visible. This is why it is said: “Wake up, O sleeper, rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.” 15 Be very careful, then, how you live–not as unwise but as wise, 16 making the most of every opportunity, because the days are evil (Ephesians 5:8-15).

VERSES 12-14 The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armour of light. 13 Let us behave decently, as in the daytime, not in orgies and drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy. 14 Rather, clothe yourselves with the Lord Jesus Christ, and do not think about how to gratify the desires of the sinful nature.

Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes. 12 For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms. 13 Therefore put on the full armour of God, so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand. 14 Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, 15 and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. 16 In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. 17 Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the saints (Ephesians 6:10-18).

We are fighting a different battle to that of the world and the rulers of the world –and the weapn we fight with is the living word of God.

By the meekness and gentleness of Christ, I appeal to you–I, Paul, who am “timid” when face to face with you, but “bold” when away! 2 I beg you that when I come I may not have to be as bold as I expect to be toward some people who think that we live by the standards of this world. 3 For though we live in the world, we do not wage war as the world does. 4 The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds. 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ. 6 And we will be ready to punish every act of disobedience, once your obedience is complete (2 Corinthians 10:1-6).