“For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.”
Established rules are often looked at negatively. Many look at rules as restrictive because they say rules cause people to be bitter or unhappy. These who look at rules in such a negative fashion often think that love or a good spirit will make people do right, which is the furthest from the truth. Romans 13 shows several benefits of rules that I would like to share with you.
First, rules keep good works going. The enforcement of rules is always done by authority, and God says that the works of these rulers “are not a terror to good works.” In other words, when rules are enforced, it helps the good you are trying to do to be accomplished. Good works will never be done without having established rules. You will never turn people out for good by ignoring rules, but you will help them turn out for right by enforcing rules.
Second, rules keep evil from happening. The purpose of the ruler enforcing the rules is to punish those who would do evil. By not enforcing the established rules, you are inviting people to do wrong. Rules will keep people from doing things that will hurt them.
Third, enforcement of rules brings justice to wrong. The verse above shows that punishment must be enforced to those who do wrong. When those who do wrong are punished, it encourages those who do right to continue doing right. You will create a better spirit by enforcing rules than you ever will by allowing rules to be broken.
Fourth, rules help to keep a clear conscience. Verse 5 says, “Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.” The easiest way to keep a clear conscience is to do right all the time. A clear conscience always gives you a positive perception of authority; this is why those who break the rules have a negative perception of authority.
Fifth, rules keep order. One of the greatest benefits of enforcing rules is that it allows what you are trying to accomplish to get done because everyone knows the boundaries in which they are to perform or function. The greatest illustration of this are the lines painted on the road. Those lines don’t create chaos, but they keep traffic flowing in order. If you will enforce the established rules, you will keep your organization flowing in an organized fashion.
Sixth, rules keep greater sins from happening. Verse 9 shows how enforcing rules always keeps others from doing greater sins which result in greater consequences. The greatest love you can show to others is to punish those who break the established rules so that they understand that greater sin always brings greater consequences and pain.
Seventh, the keeping of rules reveals your love for others. Verse 10 says, “Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” Let me ask you; how much do you love those around you? If you love them, you will not break the established rules. Authority, if you love your followers, you will enforce the rules. Your love for others will be revealed by how much you keep and enforce the established rules.