This Bible study appears in Baptist Press in a partnership with LifeWay Christian Resources of the Southern Baptist Convention. Through its Leadership and Adult Publishing team, LifeWay publishes Sunday School curricula and additional resources for all age groups.

Bible Passage: Romans 13:1-14

Discussion Questions:

— Why is it so important for believers to be good citizens in their community?

— How does a person’s treatment of others reflect their commitment to Christ?

Food for thought:

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be a professional athlete, with people you have never met wearing your jersey? Imagine the feelings of sitting at home watching the news and noticing a news story about a robbery, with the surveillance camera clearly showing the criminal wearing your jersey. Most of us would expect people to be a little more careful with our name. We did not commit the robbery, but seeing someone else do so with our name across their back would certainly get our attention. We would hope people wearing our jersey were caught doing good deeds for neighbors, taking care of their family, and functioning as respectable members of their communities.

In Romans 13, Paul called on the Romans to be mindful of how they represented Christ in this world. He directed Christians to fulfill willingly their obligations as citizens. Since God is sovereign over all human authorities, He expects such authorities to maintain justice for the good of all. Christians should always be at the forefront of standing for, participating in, and honoring good, godly government.

Paul also called on believers to demonstrate love to their neighbors. Paul emphasized that Christ’s return was getting closer with each passing day. In light of this fact, believers should live holy lives as they look for His return. That return served as motivation for how believers represented Christ as citizens and neighbors.

Believers should seek to represent Christ well in their community and world. While this looks very different today than it did in Paul’s day, the principles still apply. Imagine if everywhere we went we wore a jersey that identified us as a follower of Christ. Everywhere! Would that change how we served in our community? Would that change how we treated our neighbors?

Anticipating the return of Christ means we can’t wait until tomorrow to start representing Christ well. God expects us to represent Him well today and to do so by demonstrating His character to a world longing for Him.

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