__________________*God’ s Treasure

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“Submi t t i ng t o A ut hor i t y”
Romans 13

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers.”
Authority is very important. God is the one that ordains authority. And God is the supreme authority. It only means that man has a responsibility to submit to God either directly through His written word or through human instruments. This article aims to present the responsibility of the subject and the authority as well. By subjects we mean those that must submit to authority. It is true that every human being has an urge to disobey authority. Satan has an inherent influence in our lives especially in the area of our obedience and submission to authority. Why? The human race is a fallen race. Jesus said we are under devil’s (John 8:44) family because of our decision to disobey God and we are naturally children of disobedience (Eph. 2:2). This fact suggests an important implication that an unsaved person has, in one way or another, areas of disobedience in his/her life. That’s why true obedience to God can only come after salvation. What a man must do in order to be saved is to repent. This means a conscious decision to submit to God’s authority no matter how hard. After much striving can a man enter into the strait gate (Luke 13:24). This implies that God will only save a person who is willing to repent or follow Him sincerely no matter how hard it is for that person to do. Yet in the whole process of striving, God gives grace so that a man can obey (James 4:6, 7). When God sees that a person has truly repented then He will reveal to Him the way of salvation and cause that man to be saved (Psa. 50:23). God gives saving faith to a repentant man as a gift and the indwelling of His Holy Spirit (Acts 5:32). God will not save anybody if he/she is not willing to obey or submit to His Lordship! After the Holy Ghost has indwelt a person, only then can He naturally obey God’s command to Him. During repentance, it is an agonizing struggle to obey. After salvation, the Holy Ghost will empower a person to obey. This act of obedience is not because of necessity to the command but a natural desire and thirst to obey. God will change the heart of a person if He has saved that person.

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We are commanded to submit to all authority (v.1) Every power or authority comes from God (v.1). This means all rule is from God. God is sovereign. Nothing can happen in the universe without His permission. Therefore, all rulers are from God. Specifically, all good rulers are from God and all bad rulers are from God. To the good rulers there might be no question. But also the bad? God institutes corrupt and evil leaders (which means He allows them to take power) because the whole nation is corrupt. God does this so that people will realize the effect of their sinfulness and rebellion to Him. This is beautifully illustrated in the Book of Ezekiel where God will cause the heathen to rule over Israel and other nations (Eze. 28:6-8). When we resist authority, we are actually resisting God (v.2). God will punish disobedience in Hell (v.2). Rulers are terrors to bad works (v.3). This implies one responsibility of a leader – to be a terror (“overwhelming fear and anxiety”) to bad works. Leaders ought no to treat disobedience lightly but to treat it as to cause terror in the hearts of the subjects. This implies the heart of God towards evil works. God hates disobedience. God knows we are weak and can fall short of obeying Him. But disobedience is different. It is a condition where it is easy to obey yet a person chose not to obey. This also implies that God is more concerned about our obedience to small things than for the great (Luke 16:10). The subjects are to tremble or give utmost reverence to authority (v.3). Subjects should have a deep feeling of fear of not obeying authority. It doesn’t matter who the authority is, whether younger or older, significant or insignificant. When the authority gives a command, subjects should treat it as a matter of life or death (so serious). Why? Authorities are Godordained and their command is from God themselves. The commands we are considering are those of good commands. Even if a ruler is younger compared to his subjects, if he issues a command that is good, subjects ought to treat the command seriously not because of the ruler but because the command is from God. The truth above gives us an important explanation for the many rebellious situations we face. A person will not feel fear to disobey authority when that person sees the authority as coming from the authority and not from God. A person, likewise, will feel a deep sense of reverence to the command if he/she views the command as coming from God given only thru a human authority. Rulers ought to praise good works (v.3) Rulers are ministers from God for the subjects’ own good (v. 4). Rulers are appointed by God because they are fit to be used for the good of the subjects. Even if rulers are evil, God sees them fit for the subjects because the subjects are evil. This implies a profound truth. God’s desire to rule over us thru human authorities is for our own good. It like God spoonfeeding us with food that is good for us even if the taste is sometimes bitter. And for a fact, man has conscience enough to know the goodness of the command. The great satanic problem arise when one sees and understands a command to be

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good and for his own good yet chooses to rebel from that command. We cannot blame God for sending people to everlasting Hell because such people doesn’t want the good but willfully choose the bad (John 3:19).

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Rulers are to execute wrath upon disobedience (v.4). A ruler should have hatred to disobedience. God puts that to a true ruler’s heart. Moses felt such burden when the children of Israel were stiff-necked (Num. 11:10-11). That’s why a true ruler or authority should execute not just anger but wrath (extreme hatred) upon disobedience and exercise punishment to disobedience. JDE