ROMANS – Chapter 13


Tuesday Morning Bible Study, September 26, 2023

Pastor Carolyn Sissom

Romans 13:12:  The night is almost gone, and the day is at hand, let us therefore lay aside, the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.


Light and Jesus are inseparable.  As the Son of the Living (Consuming Fire) God, He is truly “The Light.”  On the Mt. of Transfiguration, Matthew detailed the event in terms of His light.  The flaming fire of the Son of God is shown in splendor.


Matthew 17:  His face shone like the sun, and His clothes became as white as the light. 


Prior to starting the church in 1989, I had a visitation of the Lord.  He came into my bedroom and stood beside the bed.  He was a beautiful white light.  His white robe was white light.   He covered me with a blanket of white light.  He spoke to me saying, “Arise, shine; for your light has come.  And the glory of the Lord has risen upon you.  Gross darkness will cover the earth and deep darkness the peoples.  But the Lord will rise upon you, and His glory will appear upon you.”


Because of this visitation, I believe there is a realm of God where we receive this armor of light as sons of light.  I am not qualified to say how this armor affected my life except I know after that visitation, I experienced persecution by the religious community.  When I started the church, I was strengthened by the armor of light.  However, it wasn’t until I came to Texas and my skin was baptized with Texas iron, that I am today able to walk through “whatever.”  (Smile) In no way am I a victim.  I count it all joy.   I am strong by the Grace of the Lord to fulfill the “call” He has placed on my life.  I have no regrets for any of the attacks.  I am stronger and better.  All is well with my soul.


As I studied the commentators to get their “take” on this scripture, I have chosen to quote Matthew Henry:


“What must we put on”.  Our care must be with what we shall be clothed, how shall we dress our souls?  “Put on the armor of light.  Christians are soldiers in the midst of enemies; therefore, their array must be armor.  A Christian may reckon himself undressed if he is unarmed.  The graces of the Spirit are this armor to secure the soul from Satan’s temptations.  This is called the armor of light.  The graces of the Spirit are suitable splendid ornaments.  Put on the Lord Jesus Christ.  This stands in opposition to a great many base lusts.”


Isa. 10:17: The Light of Israel will be for a fire, and his Holy One for a flame.  


13:13: Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife, and jealousy.


13:14: “Put on Christ.”  This includes all.  Put on the righteousness of Christ for justification; be found in Him as a man is found in his clothes. 


John 12:36:  While you have the light, believe in the light, that you may become sons of light.   Put on the spirit and grace of Christ for sanctification; put on the new man.  Jesus Christ is the best clothing for Christians to adorn themselves with, to arm themselves with.  All other things are filthy rags.  By baptism we have in profession put on Christ.  Let us do it in truth and sincerity.  Put him on as Lord to rule you, as Jesus to save you, and in both as Christ, appointed by the Father to this ruling saving work.


John 8:12: Jesus spoke to them again, saying, I am the light of the world.  He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.


How to walk?  When we are up and dressed, we are not to sit still.  Let us walk.  Christianity teaches us how to walk so as to please the Lord.  Our conversation must be as becomes the gospel.  Walk honestly; decently and becomingly.


For we were once darkness, but now we are light in the LORD.  Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the LORD.  Have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather expose them.  For it is shameful even to speak of those things which are done by them in secret.  All things that are exposed are made manifest by the light.  Let us study those things which are lovely and of good report.


Strife and envying are works of darkness; for, though the acts and instances of strife and envy are very common, yet none are willing to acknowledge themselves envious and contentious.  To strive, to envy, or be competitive will not profit the disciples and followers of the peaceable and humble Jesus.  Where there is riot and drunkenness, there is usually sexual immorality, wantonness, strife and envy.


13:14b: What provision to make? Make no provision for the flesh.  Be not obsessed with our bodies.  I should take better care of mine.  However, there is an obsession in our time where people are fixated on their bodies.  The necessities of the body must be considered, but the lusts of it must not be gratified.  This national obsession has resulted in anorexia, bulimia, obesity, exercise addiction, drug addiction, tobacco, alcoholism, tattoos and other abuses of the flesh.


2 Cor. 4: 4-6:  It is God who commanded light to shine out of darkness, who has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ.


Creation is crying out waiting for the manifestation of the sons of God that Jesus will be manifest in the sons of Light. 


My cry is LORD GOD allow me to apprehend that for which I have been apprehended.  Lord Jesus may the number of my days remaining on earth fulfill what you have called me to do; and if I have been lax, weak, lazy, selfish or neglectful, please forgive me.  



13: 1-2:  Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities.  For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.  Therefore, he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves.


Throughout scripture and history, when unrighteous government is in office, the Lord has sent prophets to turn the hearts of the wicked kings.  The United States of America was formed out of the rebellion of the tyranny of Great Britain.  Hitler’s tyrannical government had to be overthrown by the Allies.  The Taliban had to be ousted out of Afghanistan. Terrorism must be defeated.  The spirit of Anti-Christ continues to wage war against our nation.   Wars have always been fought and will be fought to remove wicked dictators and tyrants.


Another time in the New Testament Peter and John speak up boldly to the Annas, the high priest, Caiaphas, John and Alexander and as many as were of the kindred of the high priest.  Acts 4:18-19:  And they called them, and commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus.  But Peter and John answered and said to them, whether it is right in the sight of God to hearken to you more than to God, judge you.  For we cannot but speak the things which we have seen and heard.


Our consciences are not to be subjected to the will of any man.  We must obey God rather than men.  We must never submit to a demon or come into agreement with a demon.


Acts 5:28-29:  Saying, “did not we strictly command you that you should not teach in this name? and behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.”  Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men.


When I taught this in 2010, I told of a situation in Obion County, Tennessee of firefighters allowing a man’s home to burn down because he had forgotten to pay the $75.00 annual fee.  Legally they were not obligated to go out and help put out the fire.  Morally it was a terrible moral failure.  If you and I had a water hose to help put out our neighbor’s fire.  We would do so and not expect him to pay our water bill.  You shall love your neighbor as yourself.


We are to show the highest respect for police officers, officers of the court, and government officials because they have been given the responsibility to be guardians of peace, the principle of order versus chaos, the bulwark of order and justice (J. Weiss).   Out of respect for laws, the civil authorities are due our obedience to those laws; but they are also to guard the rule of law and not change the law.  We are responsible that they do so through our election process. 


Each of us as Christians are answerable to God for our civil behavior.  We will be punished for civil misdemeanors.  Our government should not be our enemy, but an ally and helper toward moral endeavors.  We as a people have watched the moral decline of our government.  There is now a battle between the sons of light and the sons of darkness for the soul of our nation and our constitution.   The civil power of government are the ministers of the Kingdom of God and are to be God’s servants for righteousness.   Just as we are set into our Offices by the call of God in the ministry, the Word of God clearly states civil ministers are also called, chosen and set in by God.  As in the ministry, there are many who are in office, who have not been called and chosen.   


Others have lost their vision.  The moral failure of abortion, same sex marriages, violence on our borders, corruption in government, profanity, adultery, sexual promiscuity, porno, drunkenness, drugs, transgenderism, L.G.T.Q and now gender molestation of church as well as  carousing in the lives of our civil leaders have disqualified them of the respect due their offices.


13:3-7: For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil.  Do you want to have no fear of authority?  Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good.  But if you do what is evil be afraid, for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.   It is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’s sake.  For because of this you also pay taxes, for rulers are servants of God, devoting themselves to this very thing.  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.


According to this scripture civil authorities are to be ministers of God to you for good.  For those who do evil, he is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil.  The earth is the Lord’s and the fullness thereof.  Any ruler on earth is subject to this written mandate. 


Those magistrates who ruled out in the provinces of the Roman empire wore a short sword as part of their official dress.  Usually a dagger was presented to a new governor on taking office.  It symbolized his right to punish by death.  But when did the idea of rulers and punishment of evil begin?  It started with a covenant which God made with Noah.  The Lord said to Noah, whosoever sheds man’s blood by man shall his blood be shed. (Gen. 9:6).  With those words the Lord charged Noah and those following him with the responsibility of maintaining government and punishing capital crimes with death.  The institution of capital punishment for the protection of human life is a sacred trust of government.  The hard fact is God requires rulers and judges to execute the death penalty--- when it is called for.  God hates evil.  And those with the power to inflict death are His agents to administer his wrath against evil.  This is one of God’s fundamental laws.  Therefore, judges have the right to punish all (even true believers) who do evil.


And when they do, they are in effect pouring out God’s wrath upon that evil.  When the law of capital punishment is set aside, then human life becomes cheap.  Men commit murder more readily.  The judge or ruler who ignores this basic law must answer to God, for he sits in the place of judgment as God’s avenger against evil.  Remember it is God who decreed capital punishment in the first place.


Revelation 13:10 re-states this law for those whose names are not written in the Lamb’s Book of Life. If anyone is destined for captivity, to captivity he goes; if anyone kills with the sword, with the sword he must be killed.  Here is the perseverance and the faith of the saints.


According to this scripture in the Book of Revelation, the church is to hold civil authorities to this law instituted by the Lord Himself to Noah.  The Lord himself will bring this to pass.  If anyone has an ear, let him hear.  It was instituted in Genesis, confirmed by Paul in Romans and sealed in the Book of Revelation.


Romans 13: 8-10:  Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law.  For this, “You shall not commit adultery, you shall not steal, you shall not covet, and if there is any other commandment, it is summed up in this saying, you shall love your neighbor as yourself. Love does no wrong to a neighbor; love therefore is the fulfillment of the law.”


Love for Paul is the supreme blessing of the Spirit who is poured out in the last days in anticipation of the Messianic age in its fullness.  Christians have one obligation---love.  “The debt of love is permanent and we never get out of it; for we pay it daily and yet always owe it” (Origen).  Paul echoes Jesus’ approval of Lev. 19:18 as the summary of the law.  You shall not take your vengeance, nor bear any grudge against the sons of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself.  I am the Lord.


Luke 10:26: -27:  And Jesus said to him, what is written in the lawHow does it read to you?  And he answered and said, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul and with all your strength, and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”


This love is no feigned emotion, but an active, continual attitude fostered by the Spirit, by which the love of God in Christ, having once been poured out in the Christian’s heart proceeds through his whole life and beyond him to every man he meets. 


13:11: This do, knowing the time, that it is already the hour for you to awaken from sleep; for now, salvation is nearer to us than when we believed.


He alludes here to the baptismal hymn in Eph. 5:14:  For this reason, it says, “Awake, sleeper, and rise from the dead, and Christ will shine on you.”


Carolyn Sissom, Pastor

Eastgate Ministries Church, 10115 West Hidden Lakes Lane, Richmond, TX.

 Scripture from New American Standard; Text from Matthew Henry’s Commentary, F.F. Bruce Bible Commentary by:  Leslie Allen; Comments and conclusions are not the views of those from whom I gleaned.  The Vision of the visitation of the Lord was given to Carolyn Sissom in 1989; sermon notes from 1987; 2010; 2018.

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