Tag Archive | authority

Submit or Resist?

Authority is of God

In our world today we see so little of true submission. We live in a day and time where the prevailing thought is both individualistic and assertive. We have been steeped in the thought of, “Do your own thing.” The world boldly proclaims, “Look out for number one!” In the “me” society in which we live, we see so many who spend all of their time, energy, and money seeking only after things for themselves, exalting themselves, asserting themselves, and demanding their “rights.” And though we may see the error of their way, we, too, must be very careful that we are not drawn into that worldly thought.

Biblical submission stands opposed to all that the world proclaims. Biblical submission understands that it is God who has ordained all authority. For there is no power (authority) but of God. Authority is ordained of God. Therefore, whoever resists authority, resists the ordinance of God (Romans 13:1-2). Biblical submission declares that because the Lord has set in place authority, we must submit ourselves to that authority if we are to be in submission to our Lord.

Let us remind ourselves of the meaning of the word submission. Sometimes translated as submit yourselves, sometimes translated as subject yourselves, and sometimes translated as obedience, the Biblical word for submission is hupotasso in the Greek. The literal translation means: to arrange oneself under; to place oneself under in an orderly fashion; to appoint oneself under; to ordain oneself under. The word is from the root word tasso, meaning to appoint; to ordain; to arrange. The prefix hupo has the meaning under, hence the combined meaning of hupotasso is: to arrange under or to appoint under.

Now let’s look at the Greek word for resist (antitasso). Interestingly, this word is formed from the same root as hupotasso. But notice carefully the prefix – anti, which means against. Therefore, the meaning of resist is: to arrange oneself against. Can you see the contrast between the two – to arrange under (hupotasso) and to arrange against (antitasso)?

Now let’s refer to the Scriptures: For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God (Romans 13:1-2).

Now for a final thought – Do not miss the fullness of the truth of the Word of God. If one resists the authority that God has established, she resists the ordinance of God. The word ordinance is diatage in the Greek, and is the noun form of the word diatasso. Did you catch the root of the word? The prefix dia means: through, thoroughly, or completely. This prefix is combined with the root tasso, again meaning to ordain, to arrange, to appoint. God has thoroughly and completely arranged the authority that is to be over each individual. When someone resists that authority, she resists God’s order, God’s arrangement, God’s appointment.

If indeed there is no authority but of God, and all authority is ordained of God, when we resist that authority, we resist God Himself. What a hopeless state in which to be!

We find this Biblical truth: Yea, all of you be subject (hupotasso) one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble (1 Peter 5:5). Yes, God resisteth (antitasso) the proud. God’s Word says that He arranges Himself against the proud!

But how wonderfully we find this truth: He gives grace to the humble.

May we not find ourselves resisting the Lord Himself.

May we humble ourselves and arrange ourselves under the authority which God has ordained over us, for it is there where we find the preciousness of His grace!

Take time to reflect upon these truths and these questions:

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers … (Romans 13:1). Will you submit or will you resist? Will you arrange yourself under or will you arrange yourself against?

Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder … (1 Peter 5:5). Will you submit or will you resist? Will you arrange yourself under or will you arrange yourself against?

Servants … be subject to your masters … (1 Peter 2:18). Will you submit or will you resist? Will you arrange yourself under or will you arrange yourself against?

Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord (Ephesians 5:22). Will you submit or will you resist? Will you arrange yourself under or will you arrange yourself against?

There are only two responses to the authority that God has ordained. One will either submit or she will resist. She will either arrange herself under that authority or she will arrange herself against God.

Lord, help us seek to do those things that are pleasing to You!

Authority Speaks – Are You Listenting?

Let the Word dwell in you richly

Thus did Moses:  according to all that the Lord commanded him, so did he.

Exodus 40:16

 Who is the person to whom God has regard? … but to this man will I look, even to him that is poor and of a contrite spirit, and trembleth at My word (Isaiah 66:2).  The person to whom God has regard is the one who is humble in heart, who exalts the Lord, and who reverences His Word.  All through the Scriptures, wherever we see those considered to be mighty men or women of God, we see humble hearts, we see honoring of the Lord God, and we see such an esteem for His Word that humble obedience to that Word is demonstrated in their lives.  True humility produces obedience, and true humility reverences authority.

By design, authority speaks.  Speaking is the means whereby the one in authority communicates his desires, and thereby his instructions to bring about those desires.  This speaking may be in written form or in verbal form, but speaking is always found where authority is found.  You may see this practically demonstrated in any area where authority is present.  As employees begin a project at work, how will they know that which is expected of them?  At some point in time, the boss will speak, directing how he expects that work to be done.  Picture a classroom of students.  As they enter the classroom and take their seats, what would happen if the authority in that classroom did not speak?  It is through speaking that the teacher communicates to those students that which is expected of them.  We certainly know of the same truth as evidenced by parents and their children.  Authority is meant to speak.  And, of course, the highest and ultimate example of this truth is how the Lord God speaks.  He is the Creator of Heaven and earth, and as the Ultimate Authority, He speaks.  In actuality, He is the only One who has given authority to any other.

The question for us should then be:  If authority speaks, are we listening?  Do we even know how to listen?  For the Christian, we must fully realize that the Lord God is the Supreme Authority and He has spoken.  He has spoken through His Word.  How many times in the Old Testament do we find these words:  thus saith the Lord?  And the Word of God is clear:  God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets, hath in these last days spoken unto us by His Son … (Hebrews 1:1-2).  God has, unquestionably, spoken.  How, then, can we hear?

First, the condition of our heart is of extreme importance.  Did you notice in the Isaiah passage that it is a person that is poor and of a contrite heart to whom the Lord looks?  And secondly, it is a person that trembles at His Word – one who highly reverences His Word.  When, with a humble heart, one listens to the Word of God as the Word of God, intent on doing that which He speaks, then the heart is in the position to hear.

How does God speak?  You may say that He speaks through Creation.  Yes, He does, but the Creation will be a picture and reminder of Who He is and what He has said!  The Scripture is replete with examples from the Creation that teach spiritual truths.  Consider the fowls of the air … I am the vine, ye are the branches … Behold, a sower went forth to sow seeds … Go to the ant, you sluggard … The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the Word of the Lord endureth forever.  The list goes on and on.  Certainly God speaks through His Creation.

You may say that He speaks through music.  Yes, He does speak through songs that are a reminder of the truth of His Word.  Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom; teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord (Colossians 3:16).

You may say that He speaks through others.  Yes, He does, but it will only be as they encourage, exhort, and speak the truth in love, a reminder of the Word of God (Ephesians 4:15).

You may say that He speaks through circumstances.  Although this is a phrase that we hear often, we must be very careful.  Did you know that the word circumstances is not found in the Scriptures?  And, very often, it is when we look at the circumstances that we go astray.  Because of circumstances, Abraham went to Egypt.  Because of circumstances, Sarah suggested Hagar as the solution for a child.  Because of circumstances, Peter denied the Lord.  Again, the list goes on.  We must always look to the truth of the Word of God, no matter the circumstances.  God speaks through His Word.

You may say that God speaks through His Spirit.  Yes, He does!  But never forget that He is called the Spirit of Truth.  He always speaks in full agreement with the Father and the Son.  He always speaks in agreement with the full counsel of the Word of God.  In actuality, He will bring into your remembrance the Word (John 14:26). Yes, authority speaks.  God speaks and has spoken.  In most cases, as we seek the will of God in a situation, we may find our answer by simply asking:  What has God already said?  The problem that we face is not that He has not spoken, but that, in most cases, we have not heeded that which He has already spoken.  Lord, help us with a humble heart to hear and to heed – to be as those who tremble at Your Word.

In a similar way, the Christian wife is to arrange herself under her own husband’s authority.  For the husband is the head of the wife – God has designed it and declared it to be so!  We, then, as wives, must learn to hear our husbands, and to heed that which they speak.  A wife may ignore him, reason against him, argue with him, or defy him.  But the truth is that there is a great need to respect him as the authority that God has lovingly given, and with a humble heart, listen carefully that the wife may do that which her own husband speaks.  And in many situations, we need to ask: What has he already said?

In our Christian lives, when we are hearers only and not doers of the Word of God, we deceive our own selves (James 1:22).  Likewise, as Christian wives, we deceive our own selves when we hear only, but do not do as our husbands speak.  Jesus said:  My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me (John 10:27).  A godly wife will hear, and she will follow!  Authority speaks – are you listening?