We’re continuing through the book of Romans. Today we’re starting chapter 13. In this chapter, Paul begins to talk about authority and our relationship to it.
Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God
The first thing we need to do is define what authority is, exactly. There are many people who confuse authority and power. Although they function together, they’re not the same thing.
Authority is basically the permission or freedom to do something. This permission must come from someone higher up the chain of authority. Power, on the other hand, is the ability to carry out that which you have the permission or freedom to do.
Paul begins by establishing the basis for authority. As I’ve said, there’s a chain of authority. It all flows from the throne of God. There is no authority (permission to use power) except what comes from God.
We also need to realize that all authority has been arranged by God in an orderly manner. That’s because God is a God of order.
Please understand – God has established all the authority structures. However, not every person in those positions of authority were placed there by God. It’s the structure that is God-ordained.
This is the reason that we must submit ourselves to those in authority. That’s the only way for authority to flow to me.
The word, submit, means to arrange under. It’s a choice I make to arrange myself under the chain of authority God has called me to be a part of. When I submit myself in His plan, I have God’s authority flowing through me.
That brings us to the next important concept – rebellion.
Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
The Greek word for rebel in this verse means to oppose the arrangement. It tells us that if we rebel against authority, we’re standing against what God instituted. In other words, we are opposing the way God chooses to work through us.
The Word is very clear on this point. If you do this, you’ll receive a guilty verdict. Without submission, we have no authority. Without authority, we have no permission to walk in the power of God.
This is how it worked during the ministry of Jesus.
The seventy-two returned with joy and said, “Lord, even the demons submit to us in your name.”
The disciples understood how their authority functioned. It wasn’t their natural ability. In the same way, we must be clear where our authority comes from. Never think that it’s because of your own goodness.
“For rebellion is like the sin of divination, and arrogance like the evil of idolatry. Because you have rejected the word of the Lord, he has rejected you as king.”
1 Samuel 15:23
This is the opposite of how God’s kingdom works. Sorcery wants to have power without God’s authority. This is how demonic forces operate. That’s also why those who walk in God’s power and authority have nothing to fear from the devil’s kingdom.
We must learn to submit ourselves to God’s authority structures. That’s the only way to walk in the power of God.
Question: Who do you submit to in the chains of authority God has placed you in?
© 2021 Nick Zaccardi