Submission; Our Greatest Lesson

What greater lesson is to be learned than the same one that Jesus Christ Himself knows. God has appointed authority over all men to provide a means of peace to the world in which we live. and in bringing a sense of Divine Design, the Father has given everyone a lifetime to learn valuable lessons of how to be submissive to a government ordained by God. This is a lesson we all must learn if we are to live peaceably. What we do know is that for Christ, the Son of God, is subject to His Authority, Who is the Father. “But every man in his own order: Christ the firstfruits; afterward they that are Christ’s at his coming. Then [cometh] the end, when he shall have delivered up the kingdom to God, even the Father; when he shall have put down all rule and all authority and power. For he must reign , till he hath put all enemies under his feet. The last enemy [that] shall be destroyed [is] death. For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under [him, it is] manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Corinthians 15:23-28 KJV

Paul agrees with Moses’ record in Genesis 9 that human government receives  authority to exist and rule directly from Creator God or Yaweh. By reading this portion of Scripture we find that God gives to us human government to prevent disorder in His Creation. Paul illustrates his statement with the commonly used weapon of war, the “sword,” as an instrument of criminal execution. 

Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. {ordained: or, ordered} Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid ; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject , not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake.” Romans 13:1-5 KJV.

Within God’s judgment and eternal punishment can be found, “the wages of sin is death” Romans 6:23. A person’s daily practice of habitual sin earns the eternal death penalty. A difference between His justice and man’s justice of capital punishment is that God, as the Ultimate Judge, executes His judgment directly upon the guilty and there is no jury. It must be noted that God allows human governments the authority to take life to preserve order with the presence of the testimony of at least two witnesses, but He does not give the same privilege to those who are practitioners of habitual sin at the point of physical death. At that moment the door of the physical is closed and eternity is entered and at some point in His time, “Then I saw a large white throne and the one who was seated on it; the earth and the heaven fled from his presence, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, the great and the small, standing before the throne. Then books were opened, and another book was opened—the book of life. So the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to their deeds. The sea gave up the dead that were in it, and Death and Hades gave up the dead that were in them, and each one was judged according to his deeds. Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death—the lake of fire. If anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, that person was thrown into the lake of fire.” Revelation 20:11-15 NET2.

God is our only Source of life, The Source of life and only He, and/or those to whom He delegates that authority are allowed to take it. We find in Genesis that man was given a mind that can somehow become like God’s for He does allow for that awful possibility. (Strange that the Almighty would do such a thing.) God gave man dominion over the world he lives in, but not authority to change his environment, His creation that He calls ‘good.’ What man did/does not seem to understand his character, wisdom, and understanding must be that of the Creator which can only be simulated by relationship with Him. This relationship requires experience and time.

The Bible often addresses the short time that every man has on this earth that sometimes ends because of murder and by accident and this interrupts God’s intentions for that person. If a man does cause an interruption of God’s plan for another there is a horrible consequence. Capital punishment administered under the jurisdiction of the Creator is bad enough, but the Messiah preached a much more effective justice described as ‘Hell fire’ in Matthew 5:21-22. However in Matthew 10:28 He said this, Don’t fear those who kill the body but are not able to kill the soul; rather, fear Him who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.” HCSB.

God did not do away with the Old Testament law concerning death penalty principles, and Jesus was a both a pioneer and a revolutionary for He did not destroy the existing law of God, but rather fulfilled it. As a pioneer He both accepted the Law of God, but moved forward with the New Law that began with the Great Commission with the support of the Holy coming on the Day of Pentecost. 

His Creation is now required to submit to Him through the expressions of the inerrant, infallible and never changing Word of God. Included in this submission is the governments He has ordained to give us direction. In the Person of the Holy Spirit Jesus imposes the positive obligation of the spirit of the law upon us. The Spirit indwells man and by so doing has opportunity to change errant attitudes of a person’s character that cause him to do murder. The Old Covenant law inscribed on the heart of the Believer is not done away with, but rather gives direction to the changed heart as the Holy Spirit provides gifts that provide strength to the New Covenant relationship. What we must understand that the Old Covenant is very much a part of the Christian life.

No doubt, I have taken a lengthy path to describe the lesson of submission to authorities God has allowed over us. However, because He has, indeed, appointed the governments of men to give us direction so long as the governed are not required to break the inspired instructions found in His Word. This we must be aware of. 

Jesus is Lord.

About Bob Williford

Conservative Southern Baptist pastor, missionary, and personal evangelist. An avid supporter of Texas Tech Athletics. Enjoy oil painting, writing and woodworking. My wife, children, and grandchildren are my joy. Reading and writing are great for relaxing......
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