For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servant, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.
God’s Servant To Do Us Good
The U.S. pledge of allegiance reads, “I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation under God…” Some might think that the phrase “one nation under God” is a uniquely American characteristic. But the same phrase could be said of Canada, France, Peru, Zambia, and every other country in the world. All nations, all governments, and all authorities are under God. No authority exists except that which God has established (Romans 13:1).
Our verse today reminds us why God established the governing authorities. Governing authorities are God’s servants to do us good. Ponder the comfort in that phrase “God’s servants to do us good.” All kings and kingdoms serve the eternal King. God remains in firm control “far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come” (Ephesians 1:21). He rules over everything for the good of his church (Ephesians 1:22). Jesus bought the church with his blood, made her holy through the waters of baptism, and rules to gather and bring her safely to his heavenly kingdom.
Ponder the good God provides through his servants. In addition to caring for our souls and eternity, our God also cares for our bodies and lives. He seeks to provide care, order, and protection for life in a sinful and evil world. He has servants who serve these good purposes by punishing wrong-doing and promoting and doing good.
Will we see failures, weaknesses, and evil in God’s servants who are to do us good? Yes, just as we see these things in our own hearts and lives. This is why we ponder God’s perfect servant most of all. God sent his own perfect Son into this world who came not to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many (Mark 10:45). God’s perfect servant Jesus gives us peace as we live in this temporary kingdom and look forward to his eternal kingdom.
Lord God, thank you for the good you provide me through your governing servants and through your perfect servant, Jesus Christ. Amen.