As you're reading Romans chapter 13, you might wonder: "What was Paul's motivation to write about the Christ-follower's attitude toward their government?" Douglas Moo offers an answer to this very question. Let's review it.
"One reason may be theological: Paul is worried that Christians will take his demand not to "conform . . . to the pattern of this world' (12:2) too far, lumping government into the category of 'this world' and therefore refusing to respect its legitimate, divinely ordained position and function.
But three other specific historical movements may have contributed to 'anti-government' thinking among the Roman Christians.
1) The Jewish Christians in Rome had experienced a severe disruption in their lives when Emperor Claudius expelled all the Jews (including Jewish Christians) from the city in AD 49 . . . this event may well have led to resentment against the government of Rome.
2) The decade of the 50s saw a spectacular increase in Jewish Zealot activity and popularity. The Zealots were the political terrorists of their day. They preached insurrection against the Roman government, insisting that Israel's subjection under foreign domination was contrary to her calling to be a theocracy.
The Zealots eventually won enough people to their side to incite a violent four-year insurrection against Rome (A.D. 66-70); in fact, the last holdouts, at Masada, weren't defeated until A.D. 73. We don't have much evidence of Zealot sympathy among Roman Jews in these years but it's possible the movement indirectly influenced attitudes of Roman Christians.
3) The Roman historian Tacitus mentions resistance against the payment of indirect taxes in the middle 50s in Rome. The resistance culminated in a tax revolt against the government in A.D. 58, a year or two after Paul wrote Romans. Some of the Roman Christians may well have shared these sentiments; note how Paul climaxes his call to submit to the authorities with commands to pay taxes (13:7)"1
There may be many situations or circumstances condoned by your government that may cause you, perhaps like the Roman Christians Paul wrote to, resent your government and its authority.
Question 1 - Can the government you live under influence Christians to sin?
Question 2 - Alternatively, can it influence the people it governs not to sin?
For both questions, explain how this might be so.