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Authority and Conscience

Authority and Conscience

As we continue through the book of Romans, Paul sums up his teaching on God-given authority.

Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience.

Romans 13:5

As far as believers go, we don’t submit to our authorities because we fear wrath or punishment. According to Paul, our consciences should be telling us it’s the right thing to do. We need to learn to listen to the inner voice of our conscience.

Now this is our boast: Our conscience testifies that we have conducted ourselves in the world, and especially in our relations with you, in the holiness and sincerity that are from God. We have done so not according to worldly wisdom but according to God’s grace.

2 Corinthians 1:12

Our conscience is a very important part of our being. God has given us a conscience to work with our spirit and God’s grace. It’s important to understand how it functions.

Our conscience puts together what we know from God. It then applies it to our present situation. As it continues to operate, it either tells us that our actions are right or wrong.

Unfortunately, many of us have learned to ignore our conscience. We find ways to justify what we want to do, even though we know it’s not God’s will for us.

There are times when we’ll blame others. They give us godly advice and in response, we get upset at them. “Why are you trying to make me feel guilty.”

Most of the time it’s because they care about us. They’re not trying to put guilt on us. It’s just that our conscience agrees with them. Instead of fighting it, we should learn to listen to the voice of our conscience. We could avoid a lot of trouble that way.

If you continue to ignore your conscience for too long, there’s a terrible effect that this has on your life.

Such teachings come through hypocritical liars, whose consciences have been seared as with a hot iron.

1 Timothy 4:2

People in this condition are walking in hypocrisy. They say that they love God and are serving Him. Yet, it’s obvious from their life that this is far from the truth.

I said all that to reinforce the fact that we need to listen to our consciences in regard to submission to our God-given authorities. It’s a normal part of life. Paul gives us some practical applications.

This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God’s servants, who give their full time to governing. Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor.

Romans 13:6-7

Paul makes a clear statement. Because of our understanding of authority and submission, we should pay our taxes. That’s because there are those giving their full time to governing. They’re our public servants.

You may not like the person in office or the public officials you have to deal with. That’s not the issue. It’s all about what’s right, and listening to our inner man.

He makes it clear that we need to pay all that we owe. Paul uses different words to describe these debts. Taxes and revenue are what we pay on property and income. Actually, they tried to trip Jesus up with this question.

The word translated, respect, is literally the Greek word for fear. From my perspective, God is the only one fear is owed to. This covers what Jesus answered about taxes. Give Caesar his portion (money) and give God what belongs to Him (fear).

Finally, honor is the value you place on someone. Without value there’s no honor. We need to value each other. This is how we stay in the flow of God’s authority.

Question: How well do you follow the voice of your conscience?

© 2021 Nick Zaccardi

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2021 in Ministry, Spiritual Walk

 

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Guidance for the New Year

20132012 is over.  We’re now in new territory!  What does this new year hold for us?  There is a way to safely navigate the unknown that lies before us.

Society is taking a dim view of the future.  With talk of fiscal cliffs and higher taxes, many are worried.  There are those who fear an increase in violence and unpredictable weather patterns.  Where can we turn to for answers?  The same place the truth has always been…

The LORD will guide you always; he will satisfy your needs in a sun-scorched land and will strengthen your frame.  You will be like a well-watered garden, like a spring whose waters never fail.
Isaiah 58:11

Our God didn’t get stuck in 2012!  He is with us today.  He knows all about the latest technology – before it’s even invented.  He is well able to bring though to a victorious new year.

It’s a blessing to know that God will never leave us nor forsake us. According to this verse,  He’s the Guide that never fails.  He can find water in the driest desert.  He gives strength in the time of trouble.  If we rely on Him, we will be just like a spring whose source never fails.

Many times people look at us and wonder what’s the secret of our strength.  There seems to be nothing special about us.  On the outside we’re as weak and mortal as everyone else.

What they don’t know is that our strength comes from far below the surface – deep within – where we have tapped into the presence of an Almighty God.  This is the secret to the abundant life.  We must learn to remain in the presence of the Lord.

Because of the hand of God upon our lives, we seem to have an ability to move forward in ways that others cannot comprehend.  This only happens when we take a spiritual drink from the springs of living water that come directly from the Lord.  This is the road to victorious living.

Spend time with your Guide today.  Let Him empower you for the year ahead.  Become that “well-watered garden” in His presence.  That is the only way to assure an outcome of fulfillment and joy throughout 2013.

I pray God’s richest blessing upon you in the coming year!

© Nicolas Zaccardi 2013

 
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Posted by on January 2, 2013 in Encouragement, Faith

 

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