Authority and the Christian- the source and its scope

25 Jan 2014 by Tony Dibble-


1. Obedience


Infilling of HS


In Gen 1:28, man was to exercise the authority granted by GOD to rule the world. Sin has changed all that. Today that authority has to be restored to man in a sin-oriented world.

Obedience to GOD arises because He first loved us before creation (Eph 1:4-5). Obedience to GOD is more important than sacrifice. Disobedience to GOD is considered witchcraft, sin and idolatry (1 Sam 15:22 & 23). It is the Spirit of GOD that guides us to be obedient in the truth (Jn 16:13).


2. All Authority is from Christ




The role of a Christian and the church is to spread the gospel. To do this, Christ equips the church completely to take on this role. The church has no authority from man. Everything is that is done by the church is based only on the authority of Christ (Matt 28:18-20).


3. The Bible: the Written Authority




The Bible is the written source of authority for the Christian life. The Bible is the complete and final source of that authority (2 Tim 3:16-17).

The authority of the Bible is given directly by GOD. The Holy Spirit has inspired its writers and also inspires us with the correct interpretation as we read through the Bible prayerfully (1 Thess 2:13; 1 Cor 2:13; Jn 5:46 & 47).


4. The Governing Authority


Praying woman hands


The Bible also speaks of the Christian obeying the governing authority (Rom 13:1-7; 1 Pet 2:13 to17; Tit 3:1&2) and to pray for the governing authority (1 Tim 2:1-3). Christians are not expected to curse governments (Ecc 10:20).

Philip Yancey in Prayer: Does it Make Any Difference? p 231 reports that in a particular communist country, Christians pray for the government and not for a change in government.

Unless the Christian is asked to renounce his faith, the Christian is to obey his government in all respects. This is because the Christian is to concentrate on the will of GOD that all men be saved. He should not be side-tracked by political matters.


5. Political Duties




However, this does not mean that the Christian has no political duty. John Wesley said that a Christian must commit a coming election to the LORD. At the time of voting, the same commitment must be made. After an election, the Christian is to close ranks and pray for the government elected.

The Christian must realise that his battle is spiritual and does not involve worldly developments (Eph 6:11-12; 2 Cor 10:3-5).

When Christ was confronted about taxes, He maintained that what was due to Caesar was to be paid to him accordingly (Matt 22: 17-21). Christ’s Kingdom is not a worldly kingdom (Jn 18:36).

Christians were never asked to revolt against the foreign Roman government that ruled Israel, North Africa, Europe and Asia Minor (Turkey).

Nonetheless, this does not mean that the Christian should not speak up on injustices: he is free to speak up on injustices but this should not distract him from the mission to spread the gospel of Jesus Christ.


6. Employees and Authority




The Christian must recognise his employer’s authority over him. The employee is to obey the employer as though the employer is in the position of GOD. We must love our employer, give true service and not just display an external appearance of duty. When employers are unjust, we should bear this willingly as we would if Christ was our employer. There is to be no retaliation in such instances by the employee (Col 3:22-25; 1 Pet 2:18-23; Eph 6:5-8; Titus 2:9-10).


7. Family Authority


Happy Asian Family Playing


Parents have authority over children. Parents are GOD-given (Eph 6:1-3).  

Wives are to live in subjection to their husbands. They are to be of a gentle spirit and should not be given to undue external display but obey their husbands. Their conduct should be such that if their husbands are not saved, then they may be won over by the humble conduct of their wives (1 Pet 3:1-6).

Husbands are to give wives proper treatment with honour as the weaker vessel. The husband must ensure that his prayers are not obstructed by his treatment of his wife (1 Pet 3:7).Husbands and wives are joint partners in the Kingdom of GOD. Marital relations are to be mutually established by both husband and wife on the conduct of their relationship, including matters of intimate detail and their prayer life (1 Cor 7:1-7; Eph 5:22-33).


8. Reciprocal Authority


Winning business team putting hands together. Taken on event Minilypse Ljubljana 2008.[url=][img][/img][/url]


Authority is not a one-sided matter in the Bible and is not to be exercised by force. Love is required amongst one another and this makes the matter not one of cold, mechanical obedience (1 Pet 4:8). Fathers are not expected to provoke children but to bring them up in the instruction and discipline of the LORD (Eph 6:4). Christian employers are also to accept accountability to the Master in Heaven (Eph 6:9). Employees should treat employers on a reciprocal and charitable basis.


9. Conclusion




Christ and the Bible are the source of all authority. Obedience is required of us at all times. This applies to the governing authority, unless we are asked to renounce our faith. Within families, the mutual exercise of authority is required. Christian employers and employees are not exempt from this network of mutual authority, exercised through Christ. GOD has given us a spirit of power, love and discipline, and not timidity (2 Tim 1:7). That would be the basis to exercise our relationship to authority in order that we may focus, unhindered, on the spread of the gospel throughout the world.


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