Submission to Authority

April 13, 2011

“Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God and those which exist or are established by God.” – Romans 13:1

I can’t think of a more unpopular word in our independent-minded American culture than “submission.” But it is a basic teaching of Christianity. And central to that teaching is submission to earthly authority – the submission to spiritual leadership in the body of Christ and submission to government authority. We’re also called to submit to our employers, supervisors, and all who are in authority in the workplace. Wives are called to submit to their husbands. Children are called to submit to their parents. In situation after situation, we see the teaching in Biblical Christianity is about submission. But here’s the key: Submission to earthly authority is for one reason. It is about submission to Jesus Christ through trusting and obeying His Word.

It is important to realize that Jesus didn’t teach the disciples that their main goal was to be revolutionaries; or to defy authority; or to speak truth to power. It’s just the opposite! As Christians, we are called to willingly submit to Christ and from that, all kinds of earthly authorities. Not because they deserve it. Many of them don’t. We may offer suggestions. We may question if it’s best. We may ask them to reconsider. But in the end, we submit to Christ when we submit to earthly authority, ¬†as long as earthly authority is not trying to get us to disobey God or do something contrary to His Word. Then, and only then, do we obey God and not man.