A big part of the Christian life is submission. A big part of sinful nature is that we hate submission. These days most people probably think of submission and Christianity exclusively in the context of Ephesians 5:22. A more appropriate verse regarding Christian submission would likely be Ephesians 5:21, or even better, Proverbs 1:7. As creatures, we are to live in submission… read respectful deferment… read fear—of the Creator. Some egalitarians might read that statement about Ephesians 5:21 above and think, “Yeah, right on! Put those male chauvinists in their place!” However, that strikes more once again of a problem with submission—something all Christians are intended to do—than an attempt at reading Scripture correctly.
So, Christians are to submit to God and to each other, wives are to submit to their own husbands and children to their parents; but here in Romans we see the thing carried even further. We are to submit to secular government. In the western world where the rule of law and democracy is the form of government that is something that is easier to stomach than it was back in Paul’s day. However, the manner in which a Christian approaches the government says a lot more about how they relate to God than most people would like to admit. A zealous fight to force government to be “more Christian” or at least “more my idea of Christianity” may demonstrate less Godliness than a submissive peaceful acceptance of the way things are and the things we can and should be doing as citizens.
In general, our behavior in our communities should be no different than our behavior in the family of God. We should be ruled by love. Sadly we need first to adjust the behavior in most churches before we make it our model for Christian behavior in the world, but once we have “be subject to one another” will be the rule of thumb. If we could manage to live loving the world the way we should also be loving each other, then we would be making great strides towards making the Kingdom of God manifest in the world.