Now we come to the last of the verses in Romans which deals with the citizen’s duties (really, the citizen’s relationship) with the government that is over him. Romans 13:7 reads:
Render to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honor to whom honor.
Here we are taught that every citizen is to pay the taxes that are levied on him by the government. This includes income taxes, sales taxes, taxes on personal property, taxes on real estate. These are what keeps the government going and the government is the entity that is to keep us secure and safe. Even Jesus said to “render unto Caesar that which is Caesar’s … “. In addition, if you are an importer of goods from another country — pay the customs taxes on those goods.
We are also to fear those who are charged with enforcing the law. This fear is not the fear that we feel when we have a nightmare or the type of fear that manifests as an elevated heartbeat an beads of sweat breaking out on the forehead or pulling over just because we see a government car in our rear view mirror so we can let him pass. This fear means respect. We respect the authorities because they have the authority to arrest us if we are belligerent toward them or do not pay our taxes or do something to upset the security of our neighbors or country. It is because of what they can do that we fear with respect.
We must also honor the names and offices of the civil servants that are over us. It may be that their private and personal lives are in shambles, but we must still respect them. Why? Because God has his hand in all this — he has placed those in authority in the place where they are and we must respect them.
To continue this thought further … we must never speak ill of the President in an ill manner or derogatory way. Never join in on the verbal abuse that is being heaped upon the head of state. Acts 23:5 states this as clearly as any statement could: “You shall not speak evil of a ruler of the people.”
When I think back on all the ill words that have been spoken against President Bush and his cabinet and advisors, I shudder. It is a disgrace that members of our own Congress would fall to such lows in blasting the elected authorities, which are over them as much as they are us, by the way. It is obvious they haven’t read the Bible that sits on their coffee tables and on their shelves of books.