Rebellion against, rejection of, and distrust toward authority are part of the US culture and are generally embraced by popular culture. Meanwhile, parents, governing officials, and law enforcement are routinely mocked, criticized and vilified. Why is this the case?
What Does God Say About Authority?
Rather than look to popular culture, our own experiences, or our feelings, we should look to what God says about authority as the anchor of truth. What follows is a list of verses and brief summary that outline what God has to say to us about authority:
- Submit to authority because God established it.
- Rebellion rightfully incurs judgement. Leaders are God’s servant for your good.
- What Leaders may intend for evil, God intends for good.
- Don’t be in debt to authority.
- Obey because of God alone.
- All authority belongs to Jesus – he is the highest and most supreme leader.
- Give to God what belongs to God and to governments what belongs to them.
- Obey God not men. When man’s authority is in conflict with God’s, obey God.
- Authorities are given by God.
- Obey your spiritual leaders. Don’t complain or groan about it. They have an important responsibility.
- “Remind them to submit to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, … But avoid foolish debates, genealogies, quarrels, and disputes about the law, because they are unprofitable and worthless. Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning.” – Titus 3:1, 9-10 CSB
- “Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God. So then, the one who resists the authority is opposing God’s command, and those who oppose it will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have its approval. For it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, because it does not carry the sword for no reason. For it is God’s servant, an avenger that brings wrath on the one who does wrong. Therefore, you must submit, not only because of wrath but also because of your conscience. And for this reason you pay taxes, since the authorities are God’s servants, continually attending to these tasks. Pay your obligations to everyone: taxes to those you owe taxes, tolls to those you owe tolls, respect to those you owe respect, and honor to those you owe honor. Do not owe anyone anything, except to love one another, for the one who loves another has fulfilled the law.” – Romans 13:1-8 CSB
- “Obey your leaders and submit to them, since they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account, so that they can do this with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.” – Hebrews 13:17 CSB
- “Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the emperor as the supreme authority or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who do what is evil and to praise those who do what is good.” – 1 Peter 2:13-14 CSB
- “Jesus came near and said to them, “All authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth.” – Matthew 28:18 CSB
- “The one who conquers and who keeps my works to the end: I will give him authority over the nations — ” – Revelation 2:26 CSB
- “Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than people.” – Acts 5:29 CSB
- “David questioned him, “How is it that you were not afraid to lift your hand to destroy the LORD’s anointed? “” – 2 Samuel 1:14 CSB
- “But David said to Abishai, “Don’t destroy him, for who can lift a hand against the LORD’s anointed and be innocent? “” – 1 Samuel 26:9 CSB
- “”I did not know, brothers, that he was the high priest,” replied Paul. “For it is written, You must not speak evil of a ruler of your people.”” – Acts 23:5 CSB
- “”You would have no authority over me at all,” Jesus answered him, “if it hadn’t been given you from above. This is why the one who handed me over to you has the greater sin.” ” – John 19:11 CSB
- “Then they sent some of the Pharisees and the Herodians to Jesus to trap him in his words. When they came, they said to him, “Teacher, we know you are truthful and don’t care what anyone thinks, nor do you show partiality but teach the way of God truthfully. Is it lawful to pay taxes to Caesar or not? Should we pay or shouldn’t we? ” But knowing their hypocrisy, he said to them, “Why are you testing me? Bring me a denarius to look at.” They brought a coin. “Whose image and inscription is this? ” he asked them. “Caesar’s,” they replied. Jesus told them, “Give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.” And they were utterly amazed at him. ” – Mark 12:13-17 CSB