Submission to Governing Authorities

Romans 13 1

Romans Chapter 13  

Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.  Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

 

Wow, this is a tough passage for me.  I hate politics.  Or more accurately, I really dislike polices, laws, and politicians that I disagree with, especially on a moral basis.  We live in a country where it is legal to end the life of a human baby, for no other reason than the mother just doesn’t want it.  I have a big problem with that.  So how do I deal with that reality in light of this scripture passage?

 

It would seem that God has allowed the people to be in position that have allowed abortion to become law of the land.  And yet God certainly would not approve of this law or many others that exist in our country and other countries.  Worse yet, we are told to submit to these authorities.

 

The truth is, God does not condone all of the decisions of government. He simply allows them to be in place.  Sometimes He may use rulers to bless people, sometimes He may use rulers to judge people and sometimes we may not know why he has certain rulers in place.  But regardless, the simple message from Paul is that we need to submit to authority in general.  This is a model of submission to God.  Keep in mind that when Paul wrote this, it was during the reign of the Roman Empire. It was no democracy, and no special friend to Christians – yet he still saw their legitimate authority.

 

Since governments have authority from God, we are bound to obey them – unless, of course, they order us to do something in contradiction to God’s law. Then, we are commanded to obey God before man.  John and Peter demonstrated that in Acts 4:18-19.

 

I have to live with and submit to the authorities that God has put in charge, but that by no means requires me to blindly follow every edict from those same authorities if it means breaking God’s law.  God is the supreme authority, and His rule is superior to anyone He has placed in lesser authority over us.

 

Greg Landry

 

Looking for Loopholes?

Romans 13 1a
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience.
Romans 13:1‭-‬5 NIV
Do you ever find yourself questioning authority?  Isn’t it super easy to find the flaws or loopholes with rules?  It could be simple stuff like “the speed limit is designed to be safe in all conditions, but traffic is light so it’s no big deal if I go a little faster.”
The problem with this is that it’s not how God intended it.
Did you know that at the time of this scripture writing the Jews were under the authority of the Roman ruler Nero?  He was a bad dude toward Christians. Yet this scripture still tells us to submit to authority.  How do we reconcile that decree when we know those in charge do not have God’s interest at heart? I think it’s simple, maybe authority isn’t about what a particular rule or ruler is asking of us, but about the who behind it. Not the immediate who, the ultimate who, God.  If we submit to the proper authorities in our life, then we’re really just submitting to God’s will.  Which ultimately is what we signed up for when we became followers of Jesus.  You know, that whole, ‘not my will but Your will’ thing?  If we can’t be faithful in the little things, how will we learn to be faithful in the bigger stuff?
It’s kinda backwards to our American culture I know, but if you try to look at it through the lens of just a humble servant of Christ, it’s easier to see.  I think our natural inclination is to evaluate each individual request upon us, and then decide if we think it’s worth following or “fair”. But that logic relies on us to make the call, and our decisions can be biased, and change with circumstances or mood.  But if we put aside our own judgement, we shine a light that people around us see,  that points to God rather than us.  As an added bonus, when we follow this principle, it helps us grow in our faith. I always say the best leaders are the best followers.
So the next time you find yourself questioning some authority, try to remember the ultimate “Who” and not so much “the what” is being asked of you.
-Jerry Briggs

Aspiring to Be a Servant

Luke 22

luke 22

In Luke, Chapter 22, Jesus sits down to have a Passover meal with his disciples.  Starting at the top of verse 24, Jesus immediately begins to interject into an argument between the disciples over who is the most faithful.  Jesus, rather, intercedes to say:

            “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who have authority over others like to be called, ‘friends of the people’.  But you must not be like that.  Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the leader should be like the servant.” (Luke 22:26)

This is an important moment for Jesus’ disciples on a personal level, because at this point in time, they all would have lived through one of the most difficult times in Israel’s recent history.  They would have seen various rebellions waged against the Roman occupation of Jerusalem, none of which were successful and all of which provoked Rome unnecessarily.  Jesus had seen the Roman occupation for what it was, an inconvenient change of circumstance that only affected the political structure of Jerusalem.

 

Jesus believed that matters on one’s own internal spirit were where the importance was, and so his statement to the disciples is more than just a generalization regarding their attitude as his followers.  It’s a personal rebuke of the mindset most Jews would have lived in, especially from the poor, hard-working classes of people from whence many of his disciples came from.  For the people at the bottom of the totem pole, Jesus knew, it mattered not who was at the top.  His disciples, and most of us at large, are yet to truly understand that as well as Jesus did.

 

-Dillon Driskill

The Authority to Forgive

Matthew 8-9

matt 9

Saturday, April 29

In Matthew 8 and 9 I notice two themes:

  1. Healing of the sick
  2. Jesus’ authority established

In these two chapters he healed one person after another, a woman bleeding, a dead girl, blind men, a paralyzed man, the list goes on and on. His healing did two things:

  1. Helped establish and recognize his God given authority
  2. Show that he can heal our physical human needs but also our spiritual needs, the forgiveness of sin

In Matthew 9:2-8 we read about a paralyzed man who had both physical and spiritual healing given to him by Jesus.

2 And they brought to Him a paralytic lying on a bed. Seeing their faith, Jesus said to the paralytic, “Take courage, son; your sins are forgiven.” 3 And some of the scribes said to themselves, “This fellow blasphemes.” 4 And Jesus knowing their thoughts said, “Why are you thinking evil in your hearts? 5 Which is easier, to say, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Get up, and walk’? 6 But so that you may know that the Son of Man has authority on earth to forgive sins”—then He *said to the paralytic, “Get up, pick up your bed and go home.” 7 And he got up and went home. 8 But when the crowds saw this, they were awestruck, and glorified God, who had given such authority to men.

 

Jesus’ authority was God given and proven through his ability to heal. He makes it clear though, he isn’t here just to heal the physical needs of the people but the spiritual ones as well.

 

-Elleigh Dylewski

 

(Photo Credit: http://crosstownfamily.org/sermons/the-authority-to-forgive/)

 

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