“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.”
So, who has to listen to authorities in their lives? Everyone! I’m not talking here about worshiping authority figures but respecting them.
See God does not say just some of us have to follow the authority in our lives. He says everyone has too. That means you, me, Mom, Dad, government officials (yes them too), even the Pastor of our church. No one has the right to defy the authority in their lives. We all have authorities in our lives.
I’m going to read a scripture that will help us better understand when it would be inappropriate to obey an earthly authority.
“Then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, We ought to obey God rather than men.”
According to Romans 13:1, there is no authority EXCEPT from God. Then God is the only authority we need to listen to, right? Well if we stop right there then the answer is yes. But let’s go a step further in this verse.
“…. the powers that be are ordained of God”
The word “ordained” means placed. God places people in our life that have authority over us. God has a perfect plan for each of us and those plans are different and awesome. These people are put there to help guide us down the right path. Some of those people are so important, God has written specific scripture about them.
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.
2 Honour thy father and mother; which is the first commandment with promise;
3 That it may be well with thee, and thou mayest live long on the earth.
4 And, ye fathers, provoke not your children to wrath: but bring them up in the nurture and admonition of the Lord.”
Our parents are people God has put in authority over us and obeying them is the right thing to do, if for no other reason than to honor God.
The Bottom line is this:
When we submit to those in authority, we not only do it for our security or our safety, or to avoid negative consequences, or even to maintain order in our lives, but to honor God.
To follow those in authority is to honor God; it really is that simple.
It may not seem like that most of the time, especially since the world tells us we don’t have to let anybody tell us what to do.
I want you all to know that those in authority over us have that position because God has given that authority to them.
This does not make them perfect or incapable of making mistakes. Others in authority may make mistakes but, none of those mistakes are excuses for you or me to disregard that authority.
Now I will say this. If someone in authority tells you to do something wrong or against the commandments of God, the Bible tells us that we are to obey God rather than man.
Our parents are people He has put in authority over us and obeying them is the right thing to do, if for no other reason than to honor God. Our teachers and principles at school have been put in authority over us by God to help us and make smarter, better students and citizens of us in order to honor God.
Let’s read Romans 13:1 again, but this time let’s read the next 6 verses as well.
Romans 13:1-7. Listen closely.
“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God.
2 Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. We don’t want that, do we?
3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: (That’s Christian moral character)
4 For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil.
5 Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. If you want to have a clear conscience, you need to obey those in authority over you. Let’s read on.
6 For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing.
7 Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.”
OK then. What about our parents, or our pastor, or our teachers? Do they fall under these scriptures?
11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; That includes your schoolteachers by the way. Now, why did God give them?
12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: What does the word, edify, mean? It means, “instruct or improve someone morally or intellectually.”.
As Christians, we’re all representatives of Jesus Christ and called to spread the Gospel in various ways whether it be preaching or the way we live and act around others or any way that represents the lifestyle Jesus would want us to live. This honors God.
You see, working for God builds respect for the Authority of God. God is honored by our obedience. Now we’re not saved by our works for it says in Eph. 2: 8-9 “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God. Not of works lest any man should boast.” God gives us the gift of salvation so we can tell others about Him by testifying, doing good things, preaching or teaching the Gospel, etc. Salvation produces works, however, for it says in verse 9, “For we are his workmanship created in Christ Jesus unto good works…”
I want to close today with the words to a song I wrote several years ago for our kids when they were younger. It’s titled “Work Just A Little Bit Harder” And his is how it goes.
1. God wants me to do my best
When sowing seeds of righteousness.
There’s no time to stop and rest
With so much to be done.
The more I work the more I know
The seeds I plant are gonna grow,
And I’ll sure reap just what I sow
While working for God’s Son.
CH. I want to work just a little bit harder.
Climb just a little bit higher.
Dig just a little bit deeper in the word.
I want to move just a little bit closer.
Go just a little bit farther,
And work just a little bit harder for the Lord.
2. Now, if I work hard everyday
And please the Lord in every way
I know that I will hear him say
“Well done. You’ve made it through.”
Though works won’t save me, this I know,
My works will help my faith to grow
And I will see the blessings flow
In everything I do.
© 2000/2007 Don Woolett (Dew Crest Pub. BMI)
Let’s all work just a little bit harder and do our best to let those in authority over us know how much we appreciate them.