Dr. Shawn Merithew
The Nature of True Authority
“1 Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
- The command to submit to Civil Authority.
- Because we are citizens of God’s Kingdom we ought to be exemplary citizens of earthly kingdoms
- We are to place ourselves under Civil authorities
- Obey laws, pay taxes and strive to live peaceably with the world
- As much as we are able we are even to submit to evil governments
- As much as we are able we are to honor the King
- We are bound by biblical law to obey earthly laws except when it causes us to directly disobey God’s law
- How do we define “causing us to disobey God’s law?”
- The reason to submit to Civil Authority
- God is the source of supreme authority
- He emboldens it or weakens it according to his divine providence
- God is supremely sovereign
- Where there is Anarchy, society destroys itself? – Not sure I agree with this
- What historical examples do we have of this? – I’d say there aren’t that many
- God’s Kingdom is not advanced by the sword – Agreed, I personally hold to Historic Two Kingdom Theology
- The penalty of resisting Civil Authority
- Romans 13:2 “Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment.”
- This is the natural, logical outworking of verse 1 – Crucial point to make, not any sort of normative statement
- “Incur judgement” not eternal judgement if you’re a Christian, but earthly punishment from the earthly authorities
- Government activism cannot cure society. Only the Gospel of Christ can change the hearts of man.
- We are to seek justice in this world, but remember that we are ambassadors of Christ.
- Like 12:4-5 “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. 5 But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!”
- We know we worship a God who has all authority over life and death and we will be judged by His law.
- God’s law is our ultimate authority