Romans 13:1-4 – “Let every person be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. 2 Therefore he who resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. 3 For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same; 4 for it is a minister of God to you for good.” NASB
In this series I may open the proverbial can of worms. It is clear that the Bible teaches submission but how far do we take that? What is the biblical balance and sane approach?
I am daring to enter this arena in the interest of establishing a firm foundation for relationships and in the interest of individual and family development. I am willing to endure the scorn and attacks that may come by dealing with a subject that has been abused, misused, misapplied, misinterpreted, and even denied in today’s world, Christian and secular.
It is vital that everyone understands that I do not desire to come across as an expert or a person with all the answers. I come with a heart that desires to carefully and honestly search the Scriptures in order to discover what God’s plan and purpose are. It is my desire that I desire and others are enabled to walk in the fullness of His victory and freedom as well as enjoy biblical covering and protection.
It is my desire to learn the truth and am purposed to look at more than the home, wives, husbands, children, etc. I want to apply it to the home, to the church, and the government of man. This is a matter that applies to all those areas and the job.
The question is: “How Far Do You Submit?” Another way of asking that is: “To What Degree Do You Submit?” Is there ever a point at which you refuse to submit and are compelled biblically and morally to disobey? In that situation is your rebellious or are you still submissive but submissive to the Ultimate Authority?
This passage in Romans has been abused and misused to teach unconditional obedience to any authority figure. However, I ask that you consider (v.3), and allow the Holy Spirit to draw you into the context of (vv 1-2) and apply it thusly. Are we to completely submit without resistance to rulers that are terrors and dispensers of evil works as well as those who bring forth good works?
Submission is more of an attitude than an action. It is possible to obey and not be submissive. It is possible to obey to the letter of the law, but the spirit remains rebellious. A person is not submissive simply because they are obedient. Therefore, I contend that it is possible to be obedient and rebellious at the same time.
I have had people say: “Well, I’m submitted to my husband. I’m submitted to pastoral authority, the government, etc.” Yet, their hearts were not submissive in the least. They obeyed to the letter of the law but in their heart and spirit, they were rebellious. We do that in all areas of life and some even try it with God. They keep all the rules, have their checklists and believe they are earning their way into heaven and building up brownie points with God. WRONG! God knows the heart and is far more concerned with the heart than the hand.
My objective in the next few devotionals will be to attempt to demonstrate the balance in the matter of Submission. It won’t look like it in the beginning but if you will stay with me to the conclusion, hopefully, you will see a liberating truth in this difficult and controversial area.
I will pause here and pick this up in the next session. Hopefully, you will allow this discussion to ensue without having a preconceived view and remain closed-minded rather than openly and honestly consider this presentation.
God bless you as you enjoy this wonderful day in Him!