Submission to Authority

Submission to Authority

Barrack Obama just won the election. You and I know some of the reactions we’ll hear from Christians—and they won’t all be Christian (I know this from the Clinton years). So let me take this as an opportunity to remind you (and myself) that all authority comes from God. This is clearly explained by Paul in Romans 13:1-7 (ESV):

1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

We are to submit to governing authorities. Paul says here that all authority is established by God (Even leaders like Pharaoh were brought into that position for God’s purpose—Romans 9:17). John MacArthur says that God has instituted 4 authorities on earth1

  1. government over citizens
  2. church over believers
  3. parents over children
  4. masters over employees

2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.
3 For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval,
4 for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer.

Disobedience to the government is disobedience to an institution established by God, which will result in punishment by the government. The government has the right to inflict judgment on those who do evil.

5 Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

Not only should we be submissive because of God’s authority to avoid punishment, we should do it because it’s the right thing to do.

6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.
7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

Taxes should be paid, even to evil governments. We should pay, respect, and honor those in authority over us.
Paul also says in 1 Timothy that we should pray for our rulers:

1. First of all, then, I urge that supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings be made for all people,
2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
3 This is good, and it is pleasing in the sight of God our Savior,
4 who desires all people to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.
5 For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus,
6 who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time.
7 For this I was appointed a preacher and an apostle (I am telling the truth, I am not lying), a teacher of the Gentiles in faith and truth.
8 I desire then that in every place the men should pray, lifting holy hands without anger or quarreling;

So what should your action be when Obama becomes president?

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