Governments, authorities, managers and leaders!

We are going to read a section that might be difficult depending on your political persuasion or your experience of working for management or other leadership forms.

But spare a thought for those who live under the regimes of evil dictators as you read the following:

“Let everyone be subject 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, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and you will be commended. For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also as a matter of conscience. This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give to everyone what you owe them: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honour, then honour.” (Romans 13:1-7)

What are we to make of this?

The powers that be are there because God appointed them.
For the Christians, living under the wicked Roman Emperor, Nero, they would find this hard to swallow.
You may also. For your powers that be may not act anything like God.
You may struggle to obey them.
Your government.
Your manager or supervisor.
Your spiritual leader.
All these can make things difficult for you.
In turn you may want to belittle, rebel and usurp the authority above you.
But strangely God has them there for a season.
They are serving a bigger picture than just your life here and now. You are part of that big picture so submit, do what’s right and respect those people.
For when you do this you are in line with God.

But this is not blind obedience.

Paul says 2 things: God has established these authorities and you must obey otherwise they will punish.

How do we weigh this with resisting the beast’s demands for worship?

Or how do we hold to this teaching alongside the refusal to be silent about Jesus, ““Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!”? (Acts 5:29)

Perhaps it is this:

  1. No government or spiritual leader has ultimate authority over you; that belongs to God.
  2. God is in control of history and governments and we need faith to believe this even when we cannot see Him.
  3. Do all that we can to obey respectfully those in authority.
  4. When it is against that ultimate authority we serve God not man.

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