Got Your Word On It!
- What does “submit to your authorities” mean?
- What authorities does the Bible recognize?
- How is all authority God’s authority?
- And how can a loving God use his authority to allow so many evil things?
Come let is reason together. These and other questions are addressed in this article.
Please join me.
According to the Bible, everyone must learn to submit 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, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. - Romans 13:1-2
The Bible teaches that God "is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes" (Daniel 4:17, 25, 32). God sets up kings and puts them down. Absolute sovereignty belongs to God alone; he is not accountable to anyone, and he alone does what he pleases.
The Bible also teaches that Jesus Christ is God, the Yahweh of the Old Testament. As Lord, he is sovereign over all. He created all things and rules over all things. Jesus himself said, "All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me" (Matthew 28:18), and we are told in Ephesians 1:22 that God has placed all things under his feet.
In America, we don’t like anyone telling us what to do, when to do it and how to do it. We like to pride ourselves in our independence. I guess that is one big reason our founding fathers called one of our most important historical documents “The Declaration of Independence”. But according to the Bible, an independent spirit does not work well when relating to God. For example, God says that all authority is from him. He also says in the Bible that his children need to learn how to “submit” to him and “trust” him to provide our needs, our protection and pretty much anything and everything. But how does this work? Are evil people doing evil things with God’s authority? Yes. Let me explain.
Regardless of our limited understanding, the absolute sovereign God has chosen to rule the world through his delegated authorities. In Romans 13 these delegated rulers are referred to by the Greek term exousia, translated variously as "authority," "governing authority," "government," and "delegated authority." This important word appears six times in these seven verses. Exousia represents the power delegated by the sovereign God to a person or group of persons to minister in his behalf for the good of the people and to restrain evil in a fallen world. Their authority is limited, as they are accountable to God.
More specifically, the Bible recognizes the family, the state and the church as the three primary institutions to which God has given authority. However, in this article, I want to look a little deeper at the invisible law of God’s delegated authority, while attempting to answer many common questions by focusing on specific solutions. For example, we will seek to understand the origin and definition of delegated authority, the purpose of that authority, the corruption of it and the restoration of it, starting with book of Genesis.
So what is delegated authority? To put it as simply as I know how, let me share this illustration. A person buys a new house. That new home owner decides to hire a lawn service to keep his yard manicured. As a result we can say that the homeowner delegated the lawn service company the authority to mow and weed-eat his yard every Thursday. If the yard person decides to work on any other day, they would have to get the homeowner’s permission. That permission would be their “legal authority” or “delegated authority” for the lawnmower to work on his yard and get paid. In the same way, God has delegated his authority to mankind. And because God is true to his word and watches over his word to perform it, regardless of what mankind choses to do with his God-given authority, God allows it. I believe that delegated authority is a master key to successfully honoring and enjoying the benefits of the government of God also called the Kingdom of God. That is one reason why God wants mankind’s delegated authority to be put back under his blessing before one can be born of the Spirit of God. The prayer of salvation is actually a person giving back God his/her delegated authority. Thus, the Bible declares that all authority is from God – even Satan’s, because Satan usurped mankind’s delegated authority in the Garden of Eden. But, Jesus Christ got it back and restored it to all that will choose to get back under God’s delegated authority by giving God permission. We call that the prayer of faith or salvation, which enables us to believe it, receive it and conceive it.
In the beginning, God created Adam and Eve and delegated (gave) to them the authority over all of the earth to be fruitful, take dominion and multiply. Unfortunately, Satan the serpent deceived Eve into giving Satan her delegated authority and Adam got into agreement with Eve, causing both of them to eat of the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil. Satan the Serpent in the Garden of Eden, usurped Adam and Eve’s God-given, delegated authority when Adam and Eve gave it to him by agreeing with and obeying his words, rather than God’s.
And as a result of Satan deceiving Adam and Eve, Satan had stolen their delegated authority and had begun to use it against them and all of humanity, because Satan wanted to be like God (Isaiah 14: 13-14). Then, God spoke to the Old Testament Prophets to teach all believers about the coming Messiah who would be of the linage of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The promised Messiah came in about 5 BC and took back the originally delegated authority that Adam and Eve lost thousands of years ago. The problem is, most Christians have not discovered the authority that Jesus took back from Satan when he became the Passover Lamb on the cross and the Lion of Judah by his resurrection.
Now let’s look closer at the words “submission” and “trust”. Trust is simply the attitude of faith. When we truly trust God, we understand delegated authority and God’s ability to change the vilest of people and their evil ways.
Let’s look at some examples of this in the Bible. As the result of Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego submitting (expressing an attitude of faith) to King Nebuchadnezzar and trusting God, rather than fearing man, God performed a miracle of deliverance that the King even acknowledged. Trust is the attitude of faith that enabled these men to submit to the King. Submission to a king, while trusting in God requires an inner quality of trust in God word, will and ways, while obey God rather than man when the authority asks us to dishonor the clear word, will ways of God. In this case, one of the Ten Commandments were clear: “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image.” King Nebuchadnezzar required them to worship the golden image of himself directly and clearly violating two of the ten commandments. King Nebuchadnezzar usurped God’s authority.
We honor the person or thing that we trust (the attitude of faith) and we voluntarily submit to God’s delegated authority (the actions of faith, also called obedience).
Here is a one liner takeaway from this article..
What you honor you will attract and what you dishonor you will repel.
Of course there is much more to say about the spiritual law of delegated authority, but perhaps that will be for another time. Just remember, God honors authority and Satan usurps authority. Maybe the next time you decide to dishonor someone or something, you should stop to carefully consider who you are really following: the usurper of all authority full of lies and deception or the author of all authority full of grace and truth.
“Got Your Word On It” as sung by Rob Frazier.
(Click the link below and honor God by meditating on His Word.)