Wednesday, January 21, 2009
"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God" (Romans 13:1-2). I believe Paul derived the teaching of submission to human authorities from the example of Jesus who submitted to the corrupt officials and authorities. If anyone had a right to defy authority Jesus did. He had done nothing wrong. There was nothing in His conduct that could be blamed. He always did that which was right, there was no sin found in Him. As believers we are called upon to suffer evil rather than to do evil. Christ being our supreme example of wrongful suffering, we are called to follow in His steps. God does not call upon us to be masochists, its by faith, we take steps to prevent any form of retaliation. As believers we are to recognize that two wrongs don't make a right. Because another abuses authority we don't have the right to fail to submit to authority. Difficult as it may seem, we must learn to submit to authority under duress, when abused, when pressured and when our desire to get a pound of flesh is strongest. The Sermon on the Mount is all about doing that which is contrary to our natural flesh. "All the ways of man are right in his own eyes" (Proverbs 14:12). The Living Bible paraphrases Proverbs 21:1 as, "Just as water is turned into irrigation ditches, so the Lord directs the king's thoughts. He turns them wherever He wants to." This greatly helps us understand God's sovereignty. Are not all governors of men under the control of God. This fact determines the history of the world. Its His Story. We learn that the "Authorities that exist are appointed by God." And "Those who resist will bring judgment on themselves." This is exactly why Moses declared the actions of Korah and company as "Rebellion against God Himself" (Numbers 16:11). Our Lord was not concerned if the government of his homeland was legal or illegal, or if it governs appropriately or inappropriately. What mattered was that the believer recognizes God's sovereignty. That means we are confident that God never sleeps or slumbers, He never looks the other way. God is totally aware of everything that happens. I believe a good understanding of God's sovereignty is necessary to truly live by faith. God is in the business of ruling His creation. That is why we can say "In God we trust." Dr. Ken Copley is available for counseling, conferences, and local church meetings.