Yesterday I suggested the wrath of Romans 12:19 (“but leave room for the wrath of God … vengeance…”) was historical wrath, and here’s why — from Romans 13:
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you wish to have no fear of the authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive its approval; 4 for it is God?s servant for your good. But if you do what is wrong, you should be afraid, for the authority does not bear the sword in vain! It is the servant of God to execute wrath on the wrongdoer. 5 Therefore one must be subject, not only because of wrath but also because of conscience.
1. Rulers have the power to exercise “terror” (v. 3) and create “fear” (v. 3) and to give “approval” (v. 3).
2. Rulers are, in some sense, God’s servants (v. 4) and they are designed to do good.
3. If you do wrong, you will be afraid (v. 4). They have the sword = judgment, even capital sentence at that time.
4. This all is connected: God’s designs … rulers … sword … to wrath. How so? Wrath is seen here as the historical judgment, negative no doubt, of historical rulers in the historical world.
5. So, be a good citizen … not just to avoid wrath but out of conscience.
Is this how you would sum up what Paul says here?