Under Authority

Authority is “the power or right to give orders, make decisions, and enforce obedience.” In certain contexts, God gives people the right to act as His representatives, to define moral duty for others. It’s His way of ordering society. Being under authority is spiritually powerful. (Mt 8:9-10)

God gives rulers authority to create and enforce laws to promote our common welfare (1Pe 2:13-14); He gives husbands authority to decide what’s best for their wives and families (Ep 5:22-24), and mothers authority to stand with their husbands in governing their children. (Col 3:20)

Each role derives its authority from God (Jn 19:11) and represents Him, so resisting authority is rebellion against God (Ro 13:1-2), unless the authority is directly contradicting God’s law, in which case we submit to God as the ultimate authority. (Ac 5:29)

Religious leaders may claim a type of spiritual authority, presuming the right to control and manipulate others, but God doesn’t delegate this kind of power to individuals or organizations; He requires all of us to be spiritually accountable only to Himself. (1Co 11:3) Brothers in godly community comprise the only valid spiritual authority on Earth today, and may at times convey the will of God (Ac 9:30), yet they have no right to enforce their will. (Mt 23:8) Their ability to influence, especially as older men, comes as we recognize their godly example and holy character (1Pe 5:1-3), which encourages the younger to heed their counsel. (He 13:17)

God tells us to give thanks for and also to pray for all those in authority. (1Ti_2:1-2) Even if we don’t like what they’re doing, we must submit to them and remember they’re His servants (Ro 13:5-6), not speaking evil of them. (Ac 23:5) Being under authority is intrinsic to being aligned with God.

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