"Respect authorities, all authority comes from God"
Like me, you must have heard it often from preachers of all walks calling upon Christians to submit to authority, and maybe you wondered if it really included submission to instructions from evil leaders as well. Today, we have some deep understanding of this important rule. Our lessons will greatly be from 1 Peter 2:13-25 and Romans 13:1-7. Other important verses on this topic are; Colossians 3:22, Ephesians 6:5, 1 Timothy 6:1, and 2 Timothy 2:9. Follow closely.
First, it is important to note that the authorities and power talked of here do not mean spiritual power and principalities as bible calls evil spirits and Satan in other books, but the common leadership, power and authority whether in church, government or family relationships.
When we deeply scrutinize through that Peter's letter, it is clear God asks us to submit to our leadership, but verse 14 reveals that these are leaders who came to execute God's law; praising those worthy of praise and punishing evildoers. Verse 15 and the starting verse 13 reflect that we need to do this to reflect God's order (Remember, Jesus paid tax and did registration as required by law).
Yes, many Christians, especially the Jews were exploiting the fact that they were free in Jesus and thus should not submit to their fellow Christians or the unsaved civil society. But this was wrong and bringing many accusations against the church. A good true Christian needs to respect the authority and society laws if they are not contrary to any of God's laws.
From verse 18-25, we are called upon to respond with respect to our leaders in all sectors and this is not to be executed only when our leaders are good, nice and friendly, but also when they are harsh. Let us explain this; God is not asking us to suffer under harsh masters and leaders (that is not his call), he is simply asking us not to fight back especially in non-respectful and non-polite manners. This does not make them right or mean to us that we should carry such yoke, but it is for salvation purposes (Suffering harsh treatments for the sake of us being good and less defiant).
In 1 Corinthians 7:20, Paul writes, "those who were saved when you were slaves do not get bothered. But if you can be free, then make good use of your freedom". In other words, we need to behave while still under such harsh bosses, politicians, religious cardinals, and so many more of our modern evil leaders so that we remain blameless, but we should never misuse a chance or an opportunity of getting free. Jesus suffered under such authorities as well, but could not give up on finding his freedom nor did he insult/confront anyone. When the time came to overcome everything, He did.
In our next book, the Romans 13:1-7, we are reminded that every rule, every ruler, every appointed minister in our church, in our parliament, in our society or even in our businesses is God's business and his appointment or acceptance signature is God’s vindication as well. Yes, as we deeply studied on the cause and origin of evil, we understood that there is nothing that happens without God's consent. Yes, the judge might have killed to be there, the bishop might have sacrificed a child to own the position, the president might have stolen votes to be dwelling in state house, but the real fact is God said yes to them all and gave them the thrones or seats, and ours is to respect their powers.
Just like verses 13 and 14 in 1 Peter 2:13-25 complimented each other so well with verse 13 ordering us what to do and 14 explaining why we have to do it (leaders are executing God's law on earth), verses 2-5 of this Romans' chapter makes it clear: Those who are against the government are simply against God for the government is here (or at least is expected to be here only to reward those who do good and punish wrong doers and make justice) to execute God's justice. Listen to verse 5; because the government/authorities are expected to be executing God's law, then our obedience is not actually because we fear punishment but because we know it is right.
The last verses of 6 and 7 clearly ask us to pay taxes, and therefore it is very wrong for a Christian to dodge paying his dues to the government. Personally, I feel in cases of corruption and we are quite sure the individual we are paying to will not deliver the money, then we can use our other available means and pay to the offices. Currently, technology has brought means of paying our taxes directly to the taxing body. Yes, there can still be mishandling of money out there, but that may not be our duty. What we all know is that we tend to exploit the weaknesses in the tax collecting system to our advantage and not other people, this is worse. In other words, a person may excuse himself from paying tax because tax collectors are corrupt and yet still not use that same money for helping others. That is broad day robbery.
Way forward; from the stories of Joseph, Daniel, David, and Saul (Saul's rejection by Israelites), it is clear our God is talking of respect and reverence to authority and leadership that respects God. God is not calling upon Christians to start submitting themselves to senseless laws, rules, orders and instructions that are against God's word. About parents and children, the New Testament advises us to respect our parents in the Lord (meaning we need to heed to their instructions if they are not falling short of God's word). We need to submit to our authorities, but not the wrong ones.
The issue comes in when it comes to defining what wrong authority really is. Our current society is rotten to the point that people define wrong authority basing on their personal interests and ambitions and this makes us both wrong. We judge our pastors, our politicians, our judges, our parents and all sorts of authority basing on our personal feelings, grudges, and rumors instead of using the truth from God (Of course, there are numberless ways God's truth can be imparted into us).
But this should not be hard for us, the Christians; if a leader's instructions are against your faith, then diplomatically (through giving explanations), wisely (unknowingly), or even through defiance and confrontation, restrain yourself from such authority whether it be your father, mother, friend, religious or political leader. Remember, the highest authority above every authority is God and his word.
Disobedience of any authority in respect of the real God's authority is the real Obedience.
God bless you
If you have not yet received Christ Jesus as your personal Savior to help you in this crazy life and build you up for even the next eternal life, today is your day dear brother and sister. Repeat this prayer after me, "Lord Jesus, I am so much happy to meet you today. I have suffered and struggled to live for myself alone, but I am tired and I have sinned a lot along this way. I kindly ask you to take me in today and make me your holy child. Yes, I want to be there for your service Lord starting with now. Save me and make me find true living in you alone. Thanks Jesus. Amen". If you have finished praying, we believe you are now saved and Jesus will never abandon you. Find a good church near you and be part of their congregation.
The Complete You Ministry, www.nemvicx.blogspot.com