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Romans 13:5

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Ye must needs be subject - Αναγκη, There is a necessity that ye should be subject, not only for wrath, δια την οργην, on account of the punishment which will be inflicted on evil doers, but also for conscience' sake; not only to avoid punishment, but also to preserve a clear conscience. For, as civil government is established in the order of God for the support, defense, and happiness of society, they who transgress its laws, not only expose themselves to the penalties assigned by the statutes, but also to guilt in their own consciences, because they sin against God. Here are two powerful motives to prevent the infraction of the laws and to enforce obedience.

  1. The dread of punishment; this weighs with the ungodly.

2. The keeping of a good conscience, which weighs powerfully with every person who fears God. These two motives should be frequently urged both among professors and profane.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Wherefore - διό dioThe “reasons” why we should be subject, which the apostle had given, were two,

(1)That government was appointed by God.

(2)that violation of the laws would necessarily expose to punishment.

Ye must needs be - It is “necessary” ἀναγκή anagkēto be. This is a word stronger than what implies mere “fitness” or propriety. It means that it is a matter of high obligation and of “necessity” to be subject to the civil ruler.

Not only for wrath - Not only on account of the “fear of punishment;” or the fact that wrath will be executed on evil doers.

For conscience‘ sake - As a matter of conscience, or of “duty to God,” because “he” has appointed it, and made it necessary and proper. A good citizen yields obedience because it is the will of God; and a Christian makes it a part of his religion to maintain and obey the just laws of the land; see Matthew 22:21; compare Ecclesiastes 8:2, “I counsel them to keep the king‘s commandments, and “that in regard of the oath of God.”

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
The grace of the gospel teaches us submission and quiet, where pride and the carnal mind only see causes for murmuring and discontent. Whatever the persons in authority over us themselves may be, yet the just power they have, must be submitted to and obeyed. In the general course of human affairs, rulers are not a terror to honest, quiet, and good subjects, but to evil-doers. Such is the power of sin and corruption, that many will be kept back from crimes only by the fear of punishment. Thou hast the benefit of the government, therefore do what thou canst to preserve it, and nothing to disturb it. This directs private persons to behave quietly and peaceably where God has set them, 1Ti 2:1,2. Christians must not use any trick or fraud. All smuggling, dealing in contraband goods, withholding or evading duties, is rebellion against the express command of God. Thus honest neighbours are robbed, who will have to pay the more; and the crimes of smugglers, and others who join with them, are abetted. It is painful that some professors of the gospel should countenance such dishonest practices. The lesson here taught it becomes all Christians to learn and practise, that the godly in the land will always be found the quiet and the peaceable in the land, whatever others are.
Ellen G. White
Temperance, 48

If All Responsible Men Were Temperate—Should representative men keep the way of the Lord, they would point men to a high and holy standard. Those in positions of trust would be strictly temperate. Magistrates, senators, and judges would have a clear understanding, and their judgment would be sound and unperverted. The fear of the Lord would ever be before them, and they would depend upon a higher wisdom than their own. The heavenly Teacher would make them wise in counsel, and strong to work steadfastly in opposition to all wrong, and to advance that which is right and just and true. The word of God would be their guide, and all oppression would be discarded. Lawmakers and administrators would abide by every good and just law, ever teaching the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment. God is the head of all good and just governments and laws. Those who are entrusted with the responsibility of administering any part of the law, are accountable to God as stewards of His goods.—The Review and Herald, October 1, 1895. Te 48.1

Reason Dethroned at Belshazzar's Feast—In his pride and arrogancy, with a reckless feeling of security, Belshazzar “made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.” All the attractions that wealth and power could command, added splendor to the scene. Beautiful women with their enchantments were among the guests in attendance at the royal banquet. Men of genius and education were there. Princes and statesmen drank wine like water, and reveled under its maddening influence. With reason dethroned through shameless intoxication, and with lower impulses and passions now in the ascendancy, the king himself took the lead in the riotous orgy.—Prophets and Kings, 523. Te 48.2

At the very moment when the feasting was at its height, a bloodless hand came forth, and traced on the wall of the banqueting room the doom of the king and his kingdom. “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Upharsin,” were the words written, and they were interpreted by Daniel to mean, “Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting.... Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” And the record tells us, “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom.” Te 49.1

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Ellen G. White
SDA Bible Commentary, vol. 6 (EGW), 1081

11. See EGW on Mark 12:30. 6BC 1081.1

12. See EGW on Nehemiah 2:4. 6BC 1081.2

17 (2 Corinthians 8:21; 1 Peter 2:12). The Honest Are His Jewels Forever—Truthfulness and frankness should be ever cherished by all who claim to be followers of Christ. God and the right should be the motto. Deal honestly and righteously in this present evil world. Some will be honest when they see that honesty will not endanger their worldly interests, but all who act from this principle will have their names blotted out of the book of life. 6BC 1081.3

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Ellen G. White
The Desire of Ages, 602-3

The words, “We know that Thou sayest and teachest rightly,” had they been sincere, would have been a wonderful admission. But they were spoken to deceive; nevertheless their testimony was true. The Pharisees did know that Christ said and taught rightly, and by their own testimony will they be judged. DA 602.1

Those who put the question to Jesus thought that they had sufficiently disguised their purpose; but Jesus read their hearts as an open book, and sounded their hypocrisy. “Why tempt ye Me?” He said; thus giving them a sign they had not asked, by showing that He read their hidden purpose. They were still more confused when He added, “Show Me a penny.” They brought it, and He asked them, “Whose image and superscription hath it? They answered and said, Caesar's.” Pointing to the inscription on the coin, Jesus said, “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar's; and unto God the things that are God's.” DA 602.2

The spies had expected Jesus to answer their question directly, in one way or the other. If He should say, It is unlawful to give tribute to Caesar, He would be reported to the Roman authorities and arrested for inciting rebellion. But in case He should pronounce it lawful to pay the tribute, they designed to accuse Him to the people as opposing the law of God. Now they felt themselves baffled and defeated. Their plans were disarranged. The summary manner in which their question had been settled left them nothing further to say. DA 602.3

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