November 24

Authority, Number 2: Tracing Authority Back to God

Ephesians 1:22-23 … And He put all things under His feet, and gave Him to be head over all things to the church, which is His body, the fullness of Him who fills all in all.

Romans 13:3-7 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.

Jesus Christ is the Alpha and the Omega (Revelation 22:13), and according to Ephesians 1:23, He fills all in all. One of the things He has filled this earth with is His authority. And since all authority comes from Him (Romans 13:1) and He fills all in all, He is the ultimate authority behind every human authority He has appointed.

This means two practical things for us. One is that we are ultimately bowing to God’s authority when we see authority and submit to it in the human realm. Teachers, police officers, parents, earthly rulers of every kind—these all have authority, and every bit of that authority originates in God. So we are not just submitting to human beings; we are submitting to the authority that God has placed in them, and therefore submitting to God.

In the realm of the spirit, we are not subjecting ourselves to a person as such, but we are submitting to the anointing that God has given to that person. Recognizing this distinction should not be an excuse for disrespect; there are plenty of scriptures telling us to honor those in authority over us. Rather, it should be an encouragement to grant them great respect even as we acknowledge that behind our respect for them is our love and respect for God.

The second thing this means is that we should be able to trace all our submitting to authority right back to God. If we are still subject to our parents, we can see that God is the one directly granting them the authority they have over us; as we obey our parents and give them honor, we are submitting to God’s authority in them.

As citizens, we are told not to break the law because of the consequences, but also “for conscience’ sake” (see Romans above). We are to pay taxes, obey the law, and give honor and respect to all those in authority, as the authority they carry has its origin in God, from whom all authority comes.

As the wife who learns that great spiritual lesson that godly (and rightly understood) submission to her husband is really submission to God, we need to have the eyes of our understanding enlightened (Ephesians 1:18) to see the same principle at work all around us.

Prayer: Father, help me see Your authority in all the relationships I have with family, Christian leaders, bosses, and every kind of civil and governmental authority. Give me eyes to see the straight line of authority right back to You, even when it’s working in people that are failing to use it rightly.

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