Thursday, December 6, 2018

God Versus Human Authority

Most people don’t enjoy being bossed around or being told what to do; however, God has instituted authority in our lives to bring order, to manage human relationships, and to bring glory to Himself.  Since the beginning of time mankind has struggled with authority not understanding that it was actually intended for good.  Some view authority negatively although God established it to be positive.  The frustration is that those in authority do not always manage or govern others well.  In fact, many times authority is abused, which causes some to rebel against authority. 
The truth is that God calls all people to submit to authority to some degree or chaos and disruption occurs.  In fact, God provides many examples in Scripture of submitting to various authorities in our lives.  We are all called to submit to God’s authority over us (James 4:7). Parents are called to instruct and discipline their children and children are told to submit and honor their parents (Eph. 6:1-3).  Husbands are called to love and lead their wives (Eph. 5:23) and wives are told to submit to their husband’s leadership (Eph. 5:22).  Servants are called to submit to their masters or those that they report (Titus 2:9-11).  All Christians are to respect and submit to one another (Eph. 5:21).  The church is to submit to Christ (Eph. 5:24).  And, we are called to submit to governing authorities (Romans 13:1-2).
Peter wrote, “Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right” (1 Pet. 2:13-14).  Sometimes authorities stray from their purposes and violate the authority that was entrusted to them.  In Scripture, both Jesus and Paul used taxes as a way to illustrate this point.  The Roman government taxed the Jews unjustly and many of the tax collectors were thieves.  When asked about this dilemma, Jesus took a coin and said, “‘Whose portrait is this? And whose inscription?’ ‘Caesar's,’ they replied. Then he said to them, ‘Give to Caesar what is Caesar's, and to God what is God's’” (Matt. 22:20-21).  Apparently, the believers in Rome were still asking the same question because Paul instructed them on the matter in the same way. “This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing” (Rom. 13:6).
Submission is not a popular concept today; however, it is part of God’s divine design for our benefit and His glory.  God calls believers, in word and deed, to support all of the authorities that He has established.  Even human government serves as God’s appointed servants for our good.  God expects full obedience to authority with the right godly spirit, (1 Cor. 10:31; Col. 3:17).  God calls Christians to obey and pray for those in authority over them.  Leading is hard work and yet a gift from God.  The hope is that those who lead and do not know Jesus Christ as their Savior would be drawn to a knowledge of God by the way that we live our lives.  Proper attitudes and obedience towards those who are over us can create Gospel opportunities.  If there are times that a choice must be made between honoring God and honoring our authorities, we must always choose God (Dan. 3:16-18).  God created authority and obedience to authority is a priority to God.  

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