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Bible Commentaries

Godet's Commentary on Selected Books

Romans 13

Introduction

SECOND PART OF THE EPISTLE. THE PRACTICAL TREATISE. THE LIFE OF THE JUSTIFIED BELIEVER. 12:1-15:13.

IN the doctrinal part which we have just finished, the apostle has expounded the way of salvation. This way is no other than justification by faith, whereby the sinner is reconciled to God (chaps. 1-5), then sanctified in Christ by the communication of the Spirit (vi.-viii.); and it is precisely the refusal to follow this way which has drawn down on Israel their rejection (chaps. 9-11). What now will be the life of the justified believer life in salvation? The apostle sketches it in a general way in chaps. 12 and 13; then he applies the moral principles which he has just established to a particular circumstance peculiar to the church of Rome ( Rom 14:1 to Rom 15:13 ). We can therefore distinguish two parts in this course of practical doctrine, the one general, the other special.

General Part. Chaps. 12 and 13.

There exists in regard to these two chapters a general prejudice which has completely falsified their interpretation. They have been regarded as giving, according to the expression used even by Schultz, “a series of practical precepts,” in other words: a collection of moral exhortations without systematic order, and guided merely by more or less accidental associations of ideas. This view, especially in recent times, has brought graver consequences in its train than could have been expected. It has been asked whether those details in regard to practical life were in keeping with a whole so systematically arranged as the didactic treatise contained in the first eleven chapters. And Renan and Schultz have been led in this way to the critical hypotheses which we have summarily expounded at the end of the Introduction (I. pp. 66 and 67), and which we must now study more closely.

According to the former of these writers, chaps. 12, 13, and 14 formed no part of the Epistle as it was sent to the church of Rome. These chapters were only in the copies despatched to the churches of Ephesus and Thessalonica, and an unknown church, for whose benefit Paul is held to have composed our Epistle. The conclusion, in the copy destined for the church of Rome, was composed solely of chap. 15. Nor did chap. 16 belong to it. Here we have to do only with chaps. 12 and 13. The reasons which lead Renan to doubt the original connection of these chapters with the first eleven, in the copy sent to Rome, are the two following: (1) Paul would be departing here from his habitual principle: “Every one in his own domain;” in fact, he would be giving imperative counsels to a church which he had not founded, he who rebuked so sharply the impertinence of those who sought to build on the foundations laid by others. The first word of chap. 12, the term παρακαλῶ , I exhort, is no doubt habitual to him when he is giving a command to his disciples; but it is unsuitable here, where the apostle is addressing believers whom he did not bring to the faith. (2) The first part of chap. 15, which, according to Renan, is really addressed to the church of Rome, forbids the thought that chaps. 12, 13, and 14 were composed for the same church; for it would form a duplicate of those three chapters of which it is a simple summary, composed for Judeo-Christian readers, such as those at Rome.

The viewpoint at which Schultz places himself is somewhat different. In his eyes, we possess from chap. 12 a considerable fragment of a wholly different epistle from that which the apostle had composed for the church of Rome. This letter, of which we have not the beginning, was addressed to the church of Ephesus, and must have been written in the last period of St. Paul's life, that of his Roman captivity. To it belong the three chapters, 12, 13, and 14, as well as the first seven verses of chap. 15, then the salutations of chap. 16 ( Rom 16:3-16 ), and finally, the warning against Judaizers, Romans 16:17-20. The true conclusion of the Epistle to the Romans is to be found, according to him, in chap. 15, from Rom 15:7 to the end, adding thereto the recommendation of Phoebe, Romans 16:1-2, and the salutations of Paul's companions, Romans 16:21-24. How has the fusion of those two letters in one come about? It is rather difficult to explain, as the one went to the East, the other to the West. Schultz thinks that a copy of this Epistle to the Ephesians, written from Rome, remained without address in the archives of this church, and that the editors of the Epistle to the Romans, finding this short epistle of practical contents, and thinking that it had been written to the Romans, published it with the large one. Only they omitted the beginning, and mixed up the two conclusions.

The following are the reasons which lead Schultz to separate chaps. 12 and 13 from what precedes:

1. The exhortation to humility, at the beginning of chap. 12, would be somewhat offensive if addressed to a church which the apostle did not know.

2. The exhortation to beneficence toward the saints, and the practice of hospitality, supposes a church in connection with many other churches, which was rather the case with the church of Ephesus than with that of Rome.

3. It is impossible to connect the beginning of chap. 12 ( οὖν , therefore) naturally with chap. 11; for the mercies of God spoken of chap. Romans 12:1, are not at all identical with the mercy of God spoken of Romans 11:32.

4. The whole moral side of the gospel having been expounded in chap. 6, it was not necessary to go back on it in chap. Romans 12:5. There was no reason for reminding the Judeo-Christians of the church of Rome, as Paul does in chap. 13, of the duty of submission to the Roman authorities; for the Jews were quite happy at Rome about the year 58, during the first years of Nero's reign. Such a recommendation was much more applicable to the Jews of Asia, disposed, as the Apocalypse proves, to regard the imperial power as that of Antichrist.

Are we mistaken in saying that the reasons alleged by these two writers produce rather the impression of being painfully sought after than of having presented themselves naturally to the mind? What! Paul cannot give imperative moral counsels and use the term παρακαλεῖν , exhort, when writing to a church which he does not know? But what did he do in chaps. 6 and 8, when he said to his Roman readers: “Yield not your members as instruments unto sin;” “If ye live after the flesh, ye shall die,” etc.? And as to the term which seems unsuitable to Renan, does not Paul use it, as Lacheret observes, in chap. Romans 15:30, which this writer himself supposes addressed to the church of Rome? The objection which Renan draws from the sort of pleonasm which the first part of chap. 15 would form, if it appeared in the same writing as chap. 12, will easily be resolved when we come to the passage. On the contrary, what a difficulty there would be in holding that a doctrinal treatise, composed by the apostle with a view to Gentile-Christian churches, such as Ephesus or Thessalonica, for the purpose of giving them a complete exposition of the faith, could have been addressed just as it was to a Judeo-Christian church like that of Rome (according to Renan) for the purpose of gaining it to the apostle's point of view! This consideration, says Lacheret with reason, suffices to overthrow from the foundation the whole structure of Renan. And what a factitious procedure is that which Renan invites us to witness: “the disciples of Paul occupied for several days copying this manifesto for the different churches,” and then later editors collecting at the end of the chief ( princeps) copy the parts which varied in the different copies, because they scrupled to lose anything of what dropped from the apostle's pen!

The reasons of Schultz inspire as little confidence. Paul is careful himself to explain his exhortation to humility in chap. 12, as in chap. 1, and in chap. 15 he explains his whole letter, on the ground of his apostleship, and especially his apostleship to the Gentiles, which gives him authority over the church of Rome, though he has not personally founded it: “I say, through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you” ( Rom 12:3 ).

Why would not the exhortation to beneficence and hospitality have been in place at Rome, where the poor and strangers abounded, as well as at Ephesus?

And as to the warning relative to submission to the authorities, had it not its reason in the general position of Christians over against pagan power, without any need of special oppression to give the apostle occasion to address it to this church? Had not the Emperor Claudius not long before expelled the Jews from Rome because of their continual risings? And what church could more suitably than that of the capital receive instruction on the relation between Christians and the State?

Chap. 12 forms by no means a reduplication of chap. 6; for in the latter the apostle had merely laid down the principle of Christian sanctification, showing how it was implied in the very fact of justification, while in chap. 12 he gives the description of all the fruits into which this new life should expand. We shall immediately see what is the relation between chap. 12 and all that precedes, as well as the true meaning of the therefore in Romans 12:1.

We think, therefore, we are entitled to continue the interpretation of our Epistle, taking it as it has been transmitted to us by Christian antiquity. It would need strokes of very different power to sunder the parts of so well-compacted an edifice.

In the theme of the treatise: “The just shall live by faith,” there was a word whose whole contents had not yet been entirely developed: shall live. This word contained not only the whole matter of chaps. 6-8, but also that of chaps, xii. and xiii.; and this matter is not less systematically arranged in these chapters than that of the whole doctrinal part in the preceding eleven. The essentially logical character of Paul's mind would of itself suffice to set aside the idea of an inorganic juxtaposition of moral precepts, placed at haphazard one after the other. We no sooner examine these two chapters more closely, than we discover the idea which governed their arrangement. We are struck first of all with the contrast between the two spheres of activity in which the apostle successively places the believer, the religious sphere and the civil sphere the former in chap. 12, the latter in chap. 13. These are the two domains in which he is called to manifest the life of holiness which has been put within him; he acts in the world as a member of the church and as a member of the state. But this twofold course has one point of departure and one point of aim. The point of departure is the consecration of his body, under the direction of the renewed understanding; this is the basis of the believer's entire activity, which Paul lays down in the first two verses of chap. 12. The point of aim is the Lord's coming again constantly expected; this advent Paul causes to shine in splendor at the goal of the course in the last four verses of chap. 13. So: one point of departure, two spheres to be simultaneously traversed, one point of arrival; such, in the view of the apostle, is the system of the believer's practical life. Such are also the four sections of this general part: Romans 12:1-2, Romans 12:3-21, Romans 13:1-10, Romans 13:11-14.

This moral instruction is therefore the pendant of the doctrinal instruction It is its necessary complement. The two taken together form the apostle's complete catechism. It is because the rational relation between the different sections of this part has not been understood that it has been possible for the connection of this whole second part with the first to be so completely mistaken.

Some one will ask, perhaps, if the apostle, in thus tracing the model of Christian conduct, does not seem to distrust somewhat the sanctifying power of faith so well expounded by him in chaps. 6-8. If the state of justification produces holiness with a sort of moral necessity, why seek still to secure this object by all sorts of precepts and exhortations? Should not the tree, once planted, bear its fruits of itself? But let us not forget that moral life is subject to quite different laws from physical life. Liberty is and remains to the end one of its essential factors. It is by a series of acts of freedom that the justified man appropriates the Spirit at every moment, in order to realize with His aid the moral ideal. And who does not know that at every moment also an opposite power weighs on his will? The believer is dead unto sin, no doubt; he has broken with that perfidious friend; but sin is not dead in him, and it strives continually to restore the broken relation. By calling the believer to the conflict against it, as well as to the positive practice of Christian duty, the apostle is not relapsing into Jewish legalism. He assumes the inward consecration of the believer as an already consummated fact; and it is from this fact, implicitly contained in his faith, that he proceeds to call him to realize his Christian obligation.

Verse 1

Vv. 1. “ Let every soul submit itself unto the higher powers; for there is no power but of God, and the powers that be are ordained of God. ” Why does the apostle say: every soul, instead of every man, or rather every believer? Is he alluding to the fact that submission ought to proceed from the inmost sanctuary of the human being (the conscience, Rom 13:5 )? The word every does not correspond well with this explanation; it leads rather to the thought that the apostle means to express that a duty is involved which is naturally incumbent on every human being. This is not an obligation on the believer arising from his spiritual life, like the precepts of chap. 12; it is an obligation of the psychical life which is the common domain of mankind. Every free and reasonable being should recognize its suitableness.

The present imperative, ὑποτασσέσθω , let it submit itself, indicates a reflex action, exercised by the man on himself, and that permanently. This expression is, indeed, the counterpart of the term σωφρονεῖν , to control oneself, in chap. 12

The term higher powers does not denote merely the highest class of authorities in the state. It is all those powers in general and of all degrees; they are thus designated as being raised above the simple citizen; comp. Romans 13:7.

The second part of this verse justifies the duty of submission, and that for two reasons: the first is the divine origin of the state as an institution; the second, the will of God which controls the raising of individuals to office at any given time. The first proposition has the character of a general principle. This appears (1) from the singular ἐξουσία , power; comp. the same word in the plural before and after, in the same verse, which proves that Paul means to speak of power in itself, and not of its historical and particular realizations; (2) from the negative form of the proposition: “there is not but of”...; this form corresponds also to the enunciation of an abstract principle; (3) from the choice of the preposition ἀπό , of, or on the part of, which indicates the origin and essence of the fact. It is true the Alexs. and Byzs. read ὑπό , by, in this proposition as well as in the following. But this is one of the cases in which the Greco-Latin text has certainly preserved the true reading. It is clear, whatever Tischendorf may think, that the copyists have changed the first preposition according to that of the following clause. Meyer himself acknowledges this. We shall see that as thoroughly as ἀπό corresponds to the idea of the first proposition, so thoroughly does ὑπό apply to that of the second. Paul means, therefore, first, that the institution of the state is according to the plan of God who created man as a social being; so that we are called to recognize in the existence of a power (authority) the realization of a divine thought. In the second proposition he goes further ( δέ , and, moreover). He declares that at each time the very persons who are established in office occupy this exalted position only in virtue of a divine dispensation. This gradation from the first idea to the second appears (1) from the particle δέ ; (2) from the participle οὖσαι , those who are, that is to say, who are there; this term added here would be superfluous if it did not denote the historical fact in opposition to the idea; (3) from the return to the plural ( the powers), which proves that Paul means again to designate here, as in the first part of the verse, the manifold realizations of social power; (4) from the affirmative form of the proposition, which applies to the real fact; (5) from the preposition ὑπό , by, which more naturally describes the historical fact than would be done by the preposition ἀπό , on the part of.

The word ἐξουσίαι in the T. R. is probably only a copyist's addition.

But for the very reason of this precept it is asked: If it is not merely the state in itself which is a thought of God, but if the very individuals who possess the power at a given time are set up by His will, what are we to do in a period of revolution, when a new power is violently substituted for another? This question, which the apostle does not raise, may, according to the principles he lays down, be resolved thus: The Christian will submit to the new power as soon as the resistance of the old shall have ceased. In the actual state of matters he will recognize the manifestation of God's will, and will take no part whatever in any reactionary plot. But should the Christian support the power of the state even in its unjust measures? No, there is nothing to show that the submission required by Paul includes active co-operation; it may even show itself in the form of passive resistance, and it does not at all exclude protestation in word and even resistance in deed, provided that to this latter there be joined the calm acceptance of the punishment inflicted; comp. the conduct of the apostles and Peter's answer, Acts 5:29; Acts 5:40-42. This submissive but at the same time firm conduct is also a homage to the inviolability of authority; and experience proves that it is in this way all tyrannies have been morally broken, and all true progress in the history of humanity effected.

Verses 1-10

Twenty-sixth Passage (13:1-10). The Life of the Believer as a Member of the State.

Meyer and many others find no connection whatever between the subject treated in this chapter and that of the foregoing. “A new subject,” says this author, “placed here without relation to what precedes.” It must be confessed that the connections proposed by commentators are not very satisfactory, and afford some ground for this judgment of Meyer. Tholuck says: The apostle passes here from private offences to official persecutions proceeding from the heathen state. But in what follows the state is not regarded as a persecutor; it is represented, on the contrary, as the guardian of justice. Hofmann sees in the legally-ordered social life one of the aspects of that good by which evil ought to be overcome ( Rom 12:21 ). Schott finds the link between the two passages in the idea of the vengeance which God will one day take by the judgment ( Rom 12:19 ), and which He is taking now by the power of the state ( Rom 13:4 ). Better give up every connection than suppose such as these.

As for us, the difficulty is wholly resolved. We have seen that Paul, after pointing to the Christian consecrating his body to God's service, places him successively in the two domains in which he is to realize the sacrifice of himself: that of spiritual life properly so called, and that of civil life. And what proves that we are really in the track of his thought, is that we discover in the development of this new subject an order exactly parallel to that of the preceding exposition. Paul had pointed to the Christian, first, limiting himself by humility, then giving himself by love. He follows the same plan in the subsequent passage. In Romans 13:1-7, he inculcates the duty of submission by which the believer controls and limits himself in relation to the state; then, in Romans 13:8-10, he enters into the domain of private relations, and points to the Christian giving himself to all in the exercise of righteousness. We therefore find here the counterpart of the two passages, Romans 13:3-14, the former of which presented the believer in his relations to the church as such; the latter, in his conduct in the midst of society in general.

If such is the nexus between the subjects treated in these two chapters, there is no necessity for seeking in the local circumstances of the church of Rome for a particular reason to explain this passage. Bauer, proceeding on the idea of a Judeo-Christian majority in this church, has alleged that the apostle meant here to combat the Jewish prejudice which held heathen authorities to be only delegates of Satan, as the prince of this world. But Hofmann justly remarks, that if such were the polemic of the apostle, he would have confined himself to proving that it is allowable for the Christian to submit himself to a heathen power, without going the length of making this submission a duty, and a duty not of expediency only, but one of conscience. Weizsäcker also replies to Baur, that if the matter in question were a Jewish prejudice to be combated, the apostle would require especially to remind his readers that the Christian faith does not at all imply, as the Jewish Messianic viewpoint did, the expectation of an earthly kingdom; whence it follows that nothing is opposed from this side to the submission of believers to the power of the state. It is in this line he argues, in the First Epistle to the Corinthians, Rom 7:21 et seq., when he shows that there is no incompatibility between the position of slave and Christian. Besides, we have seen the error of Baur's hypothesis regarding the Judeo-Christian composition of the church of Rome too clearly to make it necessary for us to spend more time in refuting this explanation. If it were thought absolutely needful to find in the state of this church a particular reason for the following precepts, we should certainly have to prefer Ewald's hypothesis. This critic thinks that the spirit of insubordination which broke out soon after in the Jewish nation in the revolt against the Romans, was already agitating this people, and making itself felt even at Rome. The apostle's intention was therefore, he thinks, to protect the church of the capital from this contagion emanating from the synagogue. This supposition can no more be proved than it can be refuted by positive facts. All that we can say is, that it is not needed to explain the following passage. Expounding the gospel didactically, and the life which flows from it, the apostle must naturally, especially when writing to the church resident in the heart of the empire, develop a duty which was soon to become one of the most important and difficult in the conflicts for which it was necessary to prepare with the heathen power, that of submission to the state on the ground of conscience, and independently of the character of those who wield the power for the time. Weizsäcker thinks that all Paul says here to Christians supposes no persecution to have yet taken place. We think on this point he is mistaken, and that in any state of the case Paul would have spoken as he does. For, as we shall see, he treats the question from the viewpoint of moral principle, which remains always the standard for the Christian. And what is a clear proof of it is, that the course traced by him has been ratified by the conscience of Christians in all epochs, even in times of persecution. It was followed, in particular, by the whole primitive church, and by the Christians of the Reformed Church of France; and if there was a time when the latter, driven to extremity by extraordinary sufferings, deviated from this line of conduct, their action certainly did not turn out a blessing to them. Moreover, comp. the sayings analogous to those of Paul in Matthew 26:52, Revelation 13:10, and the whole of the First Epistle of Peter, especially chap. 2

We cannot help quoting here, as a specimen of Renan's manner, the observation with which he accompanies the precept of the apostle: “Paul had too much tact to be a mover of sedition. He wished the name of Christian to be of good standing” (p. 477).

In Romans 13:1-7, the apostle points out the Christian's duty in regard to the state (1a), and explains the ground of it (1b). He points out its penal sanction ( Rom 13:2 ), and justifies it ( Rom 13:3-4 ). Rom 13:5 draws the general consequence from these principles; finally, Rom 13:6-7 apply this consequence to the details of social life.

Verse 2

Vv. 2. “ Whosoever, therefore, rebelleth against the power, resisteth the ordinance of God; now, they that resist shall receive to themselves a judgment.

This verse exhibits the guilt, and, as a consequence, the inevitable punishment of revolt. The term ἀντιτασσόμενος is the counterpart of ὑποτάσσεσθαι , Romans 13:1. The perfect ἀνθέστηκεν , as well as the participle which follows, has the meaning of the present.

The term διαταγή , ordinance, includes the two ideas expressed in 1b: an institution, and a fact of which God Himself is the ordainer. This term etymologically and logically recalls the three preceding: ὑποτασσέσθω , ἀντιτασσόμενος , and τεταγμέναι .

The application of the principle laid down here remains always the same, whatever may be the form of government, Monarchical or Republican. Every revolt has for its effect to shake for a longer or shorter time the feeling of respect due to a divine institution; and hence the judgment of God cannot fail to overtake him who becomes guilty.

Undoubtedly the term κρῖμα , judgment, without article, does not refer to eternal perdition; but neither should we apply it, with many critics, solely to the punishment which will be inflicted by the authority attacked. Most certainly, in the mind of the apostle, it is God who will put forth His hand to avenge His institution which has been compromised, whether he do so directly or by some human instrumentality. Paul here reproduces in a certain sense, but in another form, the saying of Jesus, Matthew 26:52: “All they that take the sword shall perish by the sword.” Volkmar has thought good, in connection with this precept, to advance a supposition which resembles a wicked piece of pleasantry. He alleges that when the author of the Apocalypse represents the false prophet seeking to induce men to submit to the beast (the Antichrist), he meant to designate Paul himself, who, in our passage, teaches the Christians of Rome to submit to the emperor. But the author of this ingenious hypothesis will yet acknowledge that to submit is not the equivalent of to worship ( Rev 13:12 ). And to give this application any probability whatever, the Apocalypse must have avoided reproducing exactly the saying of Jesus which we have just quoted, and the precept of Paul himself, by cautioning Christians against revolt, and saying to them, Romans 13:10: “He that killeth with the sword must be killed with the sword; here is the patience and the faith of the saints.” It is obvious that Jesus, Paul, and John have only one and the same watchword to give to the believer in regard to his relations to the state: submission, and, when necessary, patience.

Verses 3-4

Vv. 3, 4. “ For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil.Now wouldest thou not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise from the same; for he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for it is not in vain that he beareth the sword, for he is a minister of God, to execute just wrath upon him that doeth evil.

If revolt is a crime, and a crime which cannot fail to receive punishment, it is because the power whose authority it attacks is a divine delegation in the midst of human society, and is charged with a moral mission of the highest importance; hence the for.

The good work is not submission, and the evil work is not revolt. Paul means by the one the practice of justice, and by the other that of injustice, in general, in the whole social life. The state is called to encourage the doing of good, and to repress the doing of evil in the domain which is confided to it. This domain is not that of the inward feelings, it is that of external deeds, of work or works, as the apostle says. It matters little which of the two readings (the dative singular or the genitive plural) is preferred; the first is better supported.

After this general declaration, the apostle takes up again each of the two alternatives. And first that of well-doing, Romans 13:3 b and 4a. The verses have been badly divided here. The first proposition of Rom 13:4 belongs still to the idea of Romans 13:3, that of well-doing.

No doubt it may happen, contrary to what the apostle says, that the virtuous man falls under the vengeance of the laws, or becomes a butt for the unjust dealings of the magistracy. But it remains true that in this case good is not punished as good. An unjust law or a tyrannical power make it appear falsely as evil; and the result of this suffering unjustly endured will certainly be the reform of the law and the fall of the power. Never has any power whatever laid down as a principle the punishment of good and the reward of evil, for thereby it would be its own destroyer.

The praise of which the apostle speaks consists, no doubt, in the consideration which the man of probity generally enjoys in the eyes of the magistracy, as well as in the honorable functions which he is called by it to fill.

Ver. 4a If it is so, it is because magistracy is a divine ministry, instituted for the good of every citizen ( σοί , to thee), and because, though it may err in the application, it cannot in principle deny its charge to assert justice.

Ver. 4b The other alternative: evil-doing. The power of the state is not to be feared except by him who acts unjustly.

The verb φορεῖν , a frequentative from φέρειν , to carry, denotes official and habitual bearing.

The term μάχαιρα , sword, denotes (in opposition to ξίφος , the poniard or straightedged sword) a large knife with bent blade, like that carried by the chiefs in the Iliad, and with which they cut the neck of the victims, similar to our sabre. Paul by this expression does not here denote the weapon which the emperor and his pretorian prefect carried as a sign of their power of life and death the application would be too restricted but that which was worn at their side, in the provinces, by the superior magistrates, to whom belonged the right of capital punishment, and which they caused to be borne solemnly before them in public processions. It has been said that this expression was not intended by the apostle to convey the notion of the punishment of death. The sword, it is said, was simply the emblem of the right to punish in general, without involving anything as to the punishment of death in particular. Is not Philippi right in answering to this: that it is impossible to exclude from the right of punishing the very kind of punishment from which the emblem representing this right is taken? It is improper to bring in here the idea of the grace of the gospel. For at the very time when the state is carrying out on the criminal the work of justice to which it is called, the church may, without the least contradiction, carry out toward the same man the work of mercy which is divinely confided to it. Thus Paul devotes to the destruction of the flesh ( 1Co 5:4-5 ) the same man whose salvation he labors to procure against the day of Christ. And Peter tells us of men who perished when judged according to the flesh, but to whom the gospel is preached that they may live in spirit according to God. Experience even proves that the last punishment of the law is very often the means of opening up in the heart of the malefactor a way for divine grace. The penalty of death was the first duty imposed on the state at the time of its divine founding, Genesis 9:6: “Whoso sheddeth man's blood, by man shall his blood be shed; for God made man after His image.” It is profound respect for human life which in certain cases enjoins the sacrifice of human life. The question involved is not that of simple social expediency, but that of keeping up the human conscience to the level of the value which God Himself attaches to the human person.

The last proposition is exactly parallel to that with which the apostle had concluded the first alternative, that of good (Romans 13:4 a). When the magistracy punishes, no less than when it rewards, it does so as God's agent and vicegerent on the earth ( διάκονος , servant).

In the expression ἔκδικος εἰς ὀργήν , an avenger for wrath, there is not, as might be thought, an unmeaning pleonasm. The meaning is: an avenger by office to satisfy the demands of wrath, that of God, the only wrath perfectly holy. The expression ἔκδικος might be used here in a favorable sense: to render justice to him who is trampled on; comp. Luke 18:3; Luke 18:5; Luke 18:7-8.

Verse 5

Vv. 5. “ Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only because of the wrath, but also for conscience' sake.

If the state were only armed with means of punishing, it would be enough to regard it with fear; but it is the representative of God to assert justice among men; and hence it is from a principle of conscience that submission must be given to it. It is obvious that the apostle has a much nobler idea of the state than those who make this institution rest on utilitarian grounds. As its foundation he lays down a divine principle, and sees in it an essentially moral institution. This teaching was the more necessary as the Christians were daily witnesses of the corruption which reigned in heathen administration, and might be led to involve in one common reprobation both the institution and its abuses. But it must not be forgotten that, in assigning conscience as a ground for obedience, the apostle is in the very act indirectly tracing the limit of this obedience. For the very reason that the state governs in God's name, when it comes to order something contrary to God's law, there is nothing else to be done than to make it feel the contradiction between its conduct and its commission (see above, the example of the apostles), and that while still rendering homage to the divine principle of the state by the respect with which the protest in the case is expressed and the calmness with which the punishment inflicted is borne.

In the two following verses the apostle confirms by a particular fact of public life the notion of the state which he has just been expounding ( Rom 13:6 ), and passes from the principle to its practical applications ( Rom 13:7 ).

Verses 6-7

Vv. 6, 7. “ For it is for this cause also that ye pay tribute; for they are God's ministers for this very thing, attending thereto continually. Render to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.

There is a usage universally practised, and whose propriety no one disputes: that is, the payment of tribute for the support of the state. How are we to explain the origin of such a usage, except by the general conviction of the indispensable necessity of the state? The: for this cause, does not refer specially to the idea of Romans 13:5, but to the whole preceding development from Romans 13:1. The for makes the practical consequence (the payment of tribute) the proof of the principle, and the also refers to the agreement between the general idea and the particular fact. It is unnecessary, therefore, with Hofmann, to make the verb τελεῖτε , ye pay, an imperative: Pay. It is a simple fact which Paul states.

The apostle, to designate the divine character of the state, here uses a still graver term than that of servant, Romans 13:4. He calls him λειτουργός , minister. This term, compounded of the words λαός , people, and ἔργον , work, denotes one who labors for the people, who fills a public office, and with the complement Θεοῦ , of God, a public office in the religious sphere, like the priests and Levites in the theocracy. Among the Jews these divine functionaries were supported by means of the tithe; the same principle, in the view of the apostle, explains the tribute paid by citizens to the state: for the state performs a function for God.

Some have translated: “For ministers are of God. ” The meaning is impossible grammatically; it would require the article before λειτουργοί .

The clause which follows: for this very thing, might depend on the participle προσκαρτεροῦντες , applying themselves to. But it is more natural to make it depend on the expression λειτουργοί : “ministers for this very thing” that is to say, to make justice reign by checking evil and upholding good. Olshausen and Philippi apply the words: for this very thing, to the payment of tribute, which would signify that the state is God's minister to levy tribute, or that it may watch continually on this levying. Neither the one nor the other of these two ideas rises to the height of the notion of the state as it has just been expounded. This appendix: προσκαρτεροῦντες , attending thereto continually, seems at the first glance superfluous; but it is intended to account for the payment of tribute because the magistrates, devoting their whole time to the maintenance of public order and the well-being of the citizens, cannot themselves provide for their support, and ought consequently to be maintained at the expense of the nation.

Vv. 7. After thus confirming the notion of the state which he has enunciated, the apostle deduces from it some practical applications. Four MSS. reject the therefore, which is read in all the others. We may indeed be content to understand this particle. The imperative render thus becomes somewhat livelier.

Foremost is placed the general obligation which is afterward specified. The verb ἀπόδοτε , render, belongs to the four principal propositions which follow. The verb of the four dependent propositions is understood; it is ὀφείλετε , ye owe, to be taken from the substantive ὀφειλάς : “him to whom ye [ owe ] tribute, [ render ] tribute.” Πᾶσι , to all, denotes all persons in office.

The term, φόρος , tribute, refers to a personal impost, the annual capitation (the tributum); the word is connected with συμφέρειν , to contribute regularly to a common expenditure; the word τέλος , custom, denotes the custom duty on goods ( vectigal); it comes from the verb τελεῖν , to pay (occasionally); φόβος , fear, expresses the feeling due to the highest authorities, to supreme magistrates before whom the lictor walks, and who are invested with the power of life and death; τιμή , honor, applies generally to all men in office.

The church did not neglect the faithful discharge of all these obligations. The author of the Epistle to Diognetus, describing in the second century the conduct of Christians during a time of persecution, characterizes it by these two words: “They are outraged, and honor ( ὑβρίζονται καὶ τιμῶσι ).” The passage, 1 Peter 2:13-17, presents, especially in Romans 13:14, a striking resemblance to ours. The Apostle Paul is too original to allow us to suppose that he imitated Peter. Could the latter, on the other hand, know the Epistle to the Romans? Yes, if he wrote from Rome; hardly, if he wrote from Babylon. But it is probable that the two apostles, when they lived together at Jerusalem or Antioch, conversed on a subject so important for the guidance of the church, and so the thoughts, and even the most striking expressions of the Apostle Paul, might have been impressed on the mind of Peter.

From the duty of submission to the state, Paul passes to that of justice in private relations.

Verse 8

Vv. 8. “ Owe no man anything, save to love one another; for he that loveth another hath fulfilled the law.

The expression anything and no man clearly indicate a transition to the private sphere. Most commentators think that Paul here returns to the duty of love; Meyer, for example, says at the beginning of Romans 13:8-14: “Exhortation to love and to Christian conduct in general.” As if the apostle were in the habit of thus resuming without cause a subject already treated, and as if, wishing to describe the task of love, he could have contented himself with saying, as he does in Romans 13:10: “Love worketh no ill to his neighbor!” No, the apostle does not wander from his subject: the duty of justice. Only he is not ignorant that there is no perfectly sure pledge for the exercise of this duty except love. This is what leads him to speak again of love, and what explains at the same time the purely negative form he uses: “not to do wrong,” an expression which is the formula of justice, much more than that of love. Love is therefore not mentioned here except as the solid support of justice.

The believer should keep no other debt in his life than that which a man can never discharge, the debt which is renewed and even grows in proportion as it is discharged: that of loving. In fact, the task of love is infinite. The more active love is, the more it sees its task enlarge; for, inventive as it is, it is ever discovering new objects for its activity. This debt the believer therefore carries with him throughout all his life (chap. 12). But he can bear no other debt against him; and loving thus, he finds that in the very act he has fulfilled all the obligations belonging to the domain of justice, and which the law could have imposed.

How could it have occurred to the mind of Hofmann to refer the words τὸν ἕτερον , the other, to νόμον , the law: “He that loveth hath fulfilled the other law” that is to say, the rest of the law, what the law contains other than the commandment of love? Love is not in the law a commandment side by side with all the rest; it is itself the essence of the law.

The perfect πεπλήρωκεν , hath fulfilled, denotes that in the one act of loving there is virtually contained the fulfilment of all the duties prescribed by the law. For a man does not offend, or kill, or calumniate, or rob those whom he loves. Such is the idea developed in the two following verses.

Verses 9-10

Vv. 9, 10. “ For this: Thou shalt not commit adultery, thou shalt not kill, thou shalt not steal, thou shalt not covet; and if there be any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, namely, Thou shalt love thy neighbor as thyself. Love worketh no ill to his neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

It has been asked why the apostle only mentioned here the commandments of the second table. Simply because he does not make ethics at will, and because he keeps strictly to his subject. Duties to God do not belong to justice; the obligations which constitute the latter are therefore found solely in the second table of the law, which was, so to speak, the civil code of the Jewish people. It is this also which explains the negative form of the commandments. Justice does not require the positive doing of good, but only the abstaining from doing wrong to others. Paul begins like Jesus, Mark 10:19, Luke 18:20, and James 2:11, with the commandment forbidding adultery; Philo does the same. Hofmann thinks this order arises from the fact that the relation between man and wife is anterior to the relation which a man holds to all his neighbors. This solution is not so inadmissible as Meyer thinks. The latter believes that the apostle simply follows the order which he finds in his manuscript of the LXX.; for such inversions are observed in the MSS. of this version.

According to the most of the documents belonging to the three families, the words: “Thou shalt not bear false witness,” are unauthentic. This is possible; for Paul closes the enumeration with the general expression: “and if there by any other commandment.” The commandment which forbids covetousness is mentioned here, because it puts the finger on the secret principle of the violation of all the rest. It is really in the struggle with this internal source of all injustices that love appears as the indispensable auxiliary of justice; what other feeling than love could extinguish covetousness?

The word ἕτερον , different, is not, strictly speaking, used for ἄλλον , other; it reminds us that every article of the code protects our neighbor on a different side from the preceding.

The apposition ἐν τῷ , in the (namely), though wanting in some MSS., is certainly authentic; it might easily be forgotten after the preceding substantive ( ἐν τῷ λόγῳ ). Like the τὸ γάρ , for this, at the beginning of the verse, it points to the saying quoted as something familiar to all readers.

The quotation is taken from Leviticus 19:18; as true as it is that one does not wrong himself, so true is it that it contains all the duties of justice to our neighbor. ᾿Ανακεφαλαιοῦν : to gather up a plurality in a unity; Ephesians 1:10.

The Alexs. have thought right to correct the ἑαυτόν , himself, by σεαυτόν , thyself. It was not in the least necessary; comp. John 18:34.

Verse 10

Vv. 10. The asyndeton between these two verses arises from the vividness with which the author perceives their logical relation: “No, certainly! love cannot do wrong”...It has been asked why the apostle speaks here only of the evil which love does not do, and not of the good which it does. “The good to be done,” answers Hofmann, “was understood as a matter of course.” But the evil not to be done was still more so. The explanation of the fact arises from what precedes. Love is spoken of here only as the means and pledge of the fulfilment of justice. Now, the functions of justice have a negative character (not to do wrong).

The second proposition of this verse serves only to express as a conclusion ( therefore, true reading) the maxim laid down as a thesis in Romans 13:8, and regarded as demonstrated. Πλήρωμα , the fulfilment; strictly: what fills a void; the void here is the commandment to be fulfilled.

Paul has thus closed his exposition of the Christian's duties as a member of civil society. It only remains for him to direct the minds of his readers to the solemn expectation which can sustain their zeal and perseverance in the discharge of all those religious and social obligations.

The nature of the state, according to Romans 13:0

The apostle's doctrine on this important subject occupies the mean between two opposite errors, both equally dangerous: that which opposes the state to the church, and that which confounds them. The first view is that which is expressed in the famous maxim: “The state is godless” (Odillon Barrot). Bordering on this saying, as it seems, was Vinet's thought when he wrote the words: “The state is the flesh,” thus contrasting it with the church, which would be the incarnation of the Spirit. This opinion appears to us false, because the state represents the natural man, and the natural man is neither “godless,” nor “the flesh” pure and simple. There is in him a moral element, the law written in the heart (chap. Rom 2:14-15 ), and even a religious element, God's natural revelation to the human soul ( Rom 1:19-21 ). And these two elements superior to the flesh ought to enter also into the society of natural men organized as a state. This is what St. Paul has thoroughly marked, and what, according to him, gives a moral and even religious character to the institution of the state, as we have just seen in explaining this passage. But, on the other hand, we must beware of confounding this religious character of the state with the Christian character. It is impossible to distinguish the Christian sphere from the civil more exactly than Paul does in these two chapters, xii. and xiii. The one belongs to the psychical order; hence the πᾶσα ψυχη , every human soul, Romans 13:1; the other is spiritual or pneumatic, and supposes faith ( Rom 12:1-6 ). The one has justice as its principle of obligation, the other love. To the one belong means of constraint, for we have the right to demand of every man that he discharge the duties of justice; the other is the reign of liberty, because love is essentially spontaneous, and cannot be exacted from any one. There is therefore a profound distinction between the state and the church, according to Paul's teaching, but not opposition, any more than between law and grace, or between justice and love. As the law paves the way for grace, and as the conscientious practice of justice prepares the soul for the exercise of love, so the state, by repressing crime, preserves public order, and thereby the condition in which the church can tranquilly pursue her work, that of transforming the citizens of the earth into citizens of the kingdom of heaven. There is thus a reciprocal service which the two institutions render to one another. But we must beware of going further; the church has nothing more to ask of the state than her freedom of action, that is to say, the common right. So Paul himself declares, 1 Timothy 2:1-2. And on its side the state has not to espouse the interests of the church, nor consequently to impose on this society, which it has not contributed to form, any belief or procedure whatever. The essence and origin of the two societies being different, their administration ought to remain distinct.

Such is the result of the exposition which we have just studied in chaps. 12 and 13. In tracing these outlines of the philosophy of right and of the theory of the state, by how many centuries was St. Paul ahead of his own age, and perhaps of ours? We have palpable proof of the truth of the saying with which he introduces this whole moral doctrine ( Rom 12:3 ): “I declare unto you by the grace given unto me.”

Verses 11-12

Vv. 11, 12. “ And this, knowing the season, that now it is high time for you to awake out of sleep; for now is salvation nearer to us than when we believed. The night is far spent, the day is at hand; let us therefore cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the instruments of light.

The somewhat abrupt transition from Rom 13:10 to Rom 13:11 has been differently understood. What is the principal verb on which the participle εἰδότες , knowing, rests? Meyer thinks that we must go back on ὀφείλετε ( Rom 13:8 ), “Owe no man anything.” But there is no special relation to be observed between the duty of justice, Romans 13:8, and the following passage. Lange has recourse to a strong ellipsis; he derives from the participle knowing the understood verb we know (comp. Rom 12:6 ), which leads to this meaning: “and knowing this (that love is the fulfilling of the law), we know also the importance of the present moment (the nearness of final salvation).” The logical connection between these two ideas would thus be this: When once love is present, perfect salvation cannot be far off. This meaning is ingenious, but very far-fetched, and this construction is not sufficiently justified by Romans 12:6. Hofmann, feeling the impossibility of these explanations, has recourse to the following expedient: he gives τοῦτο , that, an abverbial meaning: in that way, or in that respect. The clause would therefore signify: “Knowing the time thus far, that the hour is come for you to awake” that is to say, the true meaning of the present moment is the obligation to awake. This strange construction is its own condemnation.

After the exposition which we have given of the plan of this whole moral part, we are not embarrassed by this transition. In the words: And this, Paul sums up all the foregoing precepts, all the duties of love and justice, enumerated chaps. 12 and 13, with the view of passing to the fourth and last section of this part: “And all that [we fulfil], knowing”...The idea of fulfilling did not need to be specially expressed, because the foregoing precepts along with the idea of duties included that of their execution.

Faithfulness in the realization of such a life rests on the knowledge which Christians have of the present situation of the world and of its significance: “The hour is solemn; time is short; we shall soon be no longer able to labor on the work of our sanctification; there is not an instant to lose.” In the following proposition: “It is high time for you to awake out of sleep,” the apostle compares the Christian's position to that of a man who has begun to awake from the sleep in which he was plunged, and who, by an energetic act, requires to overcome the last remnant of sleepiness. Sleep is the state of forgetfulness of God and of estrangement from Him, and the cannal security of the man of the world in this state. Awaking is the act by which man reaches the lively conviction of his responsibility, gives himself to the impulse of prayer drawing him to God, and enters into communication with Him to obtain through Christ the pardon of his sins and divine help. As to awakening, his readers had already experienced it; but the most awakened in the church has still need of awakening; and hence the apostle reminds his readers that the meaning of the present situation is the duty of awakening thoroughly. The word ἤδη , already ( now), is well explained by Philippi: at length, “high time.”

The reading ὑμᾶς , you, is to be preferred to the reading ἡμᾶς , us. The latter evidently arises from the following verb, which is in the first person plural.

The need of a complete awakening arises from the rapidity with which the day is approaching to which we are moving on. Paul understands by this day the decisive moment of Christ's coming again, which he proceeds to compare ( Rom 13:12 ) to the rising of the sun in nature. He here calls it salvation, because this will be the hour of complete redemption for believers; comp. Romans 5:10, Romans 8:23-25, Romans 10:10.

The march of events to this goal, or of this goal to us, is so rapid, says the apostle, that the interval which separates us from it has already sensibly diminished since he and his readers were brought to the faith. To understand this saying, which is somewhat surprising when we think of the eighteen centuries which have followed the time when it was written, it must be remembered, 1st. That the Lord had promised His return at the time when all the nations of the earth had heard His Gospel; and 2d. That the apostle, looking back on his own career, and seeing in a sense the whole known world evangelized by his efforts ( Col 1:6 ), might well say without exaggeration that the history of the kingdom of God had made a step in advance during the course of his ministry. Of course this saying supposes that the apostle had no idea of the ages which should yet elapse before the advent of Christ. The revelation of the Lord had taught him that He would return, but not when He would return. And when it was sought to fix this time, the apostle himself opposed the attempt (1 Thessalonians 5:1-2; 2Th 2:1 et seq.). He expresses himself sometimes as a possible witness of it ( 1Th 4:17 ; 1Co 15:52 ); sometimes as if he were not to have part in it; 1 Corinthians 6:14 ( ἡμᾶς , us, the undoubted reading); 2 Timothy 4:18. And is it not thus we ought to live constantly, waiting without ceasing? Is not this attitude the most favorable to progress in sanctification? Did not Jesus claim this of His own when He said, Luke 12:36: “Be ye like unto men that wait for their lord when he-will return from the wedding, that when he cometh and knocketh, they may open unto him immediately”? And if it is not He who comes to us in the Parousia, is it not we who shall go to Him in death? Is not death for the individual what the Parousia is for the church as a whole, meeting with the Lord?

The interval between the time when the readers had come to the faith and that of this solemn meeting, individual or collective, was therefore sensibly shortened since the day of their conversion.

Vv. 12. On the one hand the night advanced, on the other the day drew near. The former of these figures signifies that the time granted to the present world to continue its life without God had moved on, was shortened; the latter, that the appearing of the kingdom of Christ had approached. Hence a double inference: As the night is dissipated, there should be an end of the works of the night; and as the day begins to shine, awaking should be completed, and there should be effected what may be called the toilet worthy of full day.

The works of darkness: all that dare not be done by day, and which is reserved for night ( Rom 13:13 ). The term ὅπλα may be translated in two ways: the instruments or arms of light. The parallel, 1 Thessalonians 5:4-11, speaks in favor of the second sense. In that case the reference would be to the breastplate, the helmet, the sandals of the Roman soldiery, arms which may be regarded as garments fitted on in the morning to replace the dress of night. But the delineation as a whole does not seem to apply to a day of battle; rather it appears that the day in question is one of peaceful labor. And for this reason we think it more natural to apply the expression ὁπλα here to the garments of the laborious workman who, from early morning, holds himself in readiness for the hour when his master waits to give him his task. These figures are applied in Romans 13:13-14: the works of night, in Romans 13:13; the instruments of light, in Romans 13:14.

Verses 11-14

Twenty-seventh Passage (13:11-14). The Expectation of Christ's coming again a Motive to Christian Sanctification.

This passage is the counterpart of that with which the apostle had begun his moral teaching, Romans 12:1-2. There he had laid down the principle: a living consecration of the body to God under the guidance of a mind renewed by faith in the mercies of God. This was, as it were, the impelling force which should sustain the believer in his twofold spiritual and civil walk. But that this course may be firm and persevering, there must be joined to the impelling force a power of attraction exercised on the believer's heart by an aim, a hope constantly presented to him by faith. This glorious expectation is what the apostle reminds us of in the following passage. The passage, Romans 12:1-2, was the foundation; this, Romans 13:11-14, is the corner-stone of the edifice of Christian sanctification.

Verses 13-14

Vv. 13, 14. “ Let us walk becomingly, as in the day, not in revelling and drunkenness, not in chambering and wantonness, not in strife and passion; but put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and be not preoccupied with the flesh to excite its lusts.

The words ὡς ἐν ἡμέρᾳ signify: “as is done in full day;” but not without allusion to the fact that the light which shines in the believer's soul is the very light which shall break on the world in the day of salvation, in the hour of the Parousia; comp. 1 Thessalonians 5:5; 1 Thessalonians 5:8.

Christian holiness is represented here as the highest decency ( εὐσχημόνως , decently), to be compared with that full attitude of dignity which the rising of the sun enjoins on the man who respects himself. Worldly conduct resembles, on the contrary, those indecencies to which men dare not give themselves up except by burying them in the shades of night. Such a mode of acting is therefore incompatible with the situation of a man who is already enlightened by the first rays of the great day.

The works of night are enumerated in pairs: first, sensuality in the forms of eating and drinking; then impurity, those of brutal libertinism and wanton lightness; finally, the passions which break out either in personal disputes or party quarrels. This last term seems to me to express the meaning of the word ζῆλος , in this passage, better than the translations jealousy or envy. Comp. 1Co 3:3 ; 2 Corinthians 12:20; Galatians 5:20.

Vv. 14. To lay aside what belongs to the night of worldly life, is only the first part of the preparation to which we are called by the rising of the great day. Our concern must be, besides, to put on the dispositions which are in keeping with so holy and brilliant a light. What is this new equipment which we must haste to substitute for the old? Paul indicates it in the expression: to put on Jesus Christ. He certainly speaks of Christ here not as our righteousness, but as our sanctification, 1 Corinthians 1:30. The toilet of the believer, if one may venture so to speak, in view of the approaching salvation, consists solely in putting on Christ, in appropriating by habitual communion with Him all His sentiments and all His manner of acting. He thus becomes for His redeemed ones Himself the robe for the marriage-feast. The Christian will be unable to stand before Him except in so far as he is “found in Him ” ( Php 3:9 ).

It seemed as if this forcible recommendation: “But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ,” should close the passage. But the apostle adds a last word, which is certainly intended to form the transition to the following passage.

This pure garment of the believer (Christ's holiness which he appropriates) should be kept free from every stain. But the apostle here perceives a very common infirmity, which is not made greatly matter of selfreproach, and against which he feels the need of putting his readers particularly on their guard. It is a sensuality which has not the gross character of the works of night, and which may even assume a lawful form. The body being an indispensable servant, is it not just to take care of it? The apostle does not deny this. But to take care of the body and to be preoccupied with its satisfaction are two different things. The expression πρόνοιαν ποιεῖσθαι , to give oneself up to preoccupation, clearly indicates a thought directed with a certain intensity toward sensual enjoyment. I do not think the notion of sin is contained in the word flesh, which simply denotes here our sensitive nature; it is rather to be found in the term: to preoccupy oneself with. Paul does not forbid the believer to accept a pleasure which comes of itself; comp. the touching expression, Acts 27:3, where it is said of Julius the centurion that he allowed Paul to repair to his friends to enjoy their attentions ( ἐπιμελείας τυχεῖν ). But to accept with pleasure the satisfaction which God gives, is quite another thing from going in quest of pleasure. In this second case there is a weakness, or, to speak more properly, a defilement which spoils the marriage garments of many Christians.

The last words: εἰς ἐπιθυμίας , literally, for lusts, may be regarded either as expressing the aim of the preoccupation: “Do not preoccupy yourselves with a view to satisfying lusts,” or, as a reflection of Paul himself, intended to justify the previous warning: “Do not preoccupy yourselves with the satisfaction of the flesh so as to (or: which would not fail to) give rise to lusts.” Both constructions are possible. But the second meaning seems to us simpler. The clause εἰς ἐπιθυμίας thus understood well justifies the warning: “Be not preoccupied with”...

These verses, Romans 13:13-14, have acquired a sort of historical celebrity; for, as related by St. Augustine in the eighth book of the Confessions, they were the occasion of his conversion, already prepared for by his relations with St. Ambrose. If Rom 13:13 had been the inscription of his past life, Rom 13:14 became that of his new life.

We may now be convinced that the practical treatise, which serves as a complement to the doctrinal, is not less systematically arranged than the latter was. The four parts of which it is composed: faith in the mercies of God as the basis of Christian life ( Rom 12:1-2 ); the realization of this life in the two spheres, religious and civil, under the supreme law of love ( Rom 12:3-21 and Rom 13:1-10 ); finally, the eye of hope constantly fixed on the coming of Christ as the spring of progress in sanctification (Romans 13:11-14; these four parts, we say, which may be reduced to three, bring us without straining to Paul's ordinary triad: faith, love, and hope ( 1Th 1:3 ; 1 Corinthians 13:13, etc.). It might be asked, no doubt, how it comes that in this summary of Christian morals he omits family duties, so well set forth in the Epistles to the Colossians and Ephesians. But perhaps the subject of domestic life appeared to him too particular to find a place in so general an exposition.

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Bibliographical Information
Godet, Frédéric Louis. "Commentary on Romans 13". "Godet's Commentary on Selected Books". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/gsc/romans-13.html.