Season 1, Episode 68
For Wednesday, April 15, 2015
“Principles of Peace: Respect for Authority”
Welcome to The New You, where we focus on maintaining and accentuating the new that Christ has created in you. I’m Robert Hatfield, and here is today’s scripture:
Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king (1 Pet. 2:17).
It’s interesting that the Holy Spirit, through Peter, mentions that Christians should “honor the king,” isn’t it? I mean, the governmental powers of the New Testament world weren’t exactly on board with Christianity the most part. They had no respect for Christians, so why should Christians have any respect for them?
The Bible offers us several principles that make for peace in our communities. One of those is to have a sense of respect for the authority of those who govern us and who enforce the laws of civil government.
In Romans 13, the Holy Spirit says that Christians are supposed to submit to the government. Notice four observations from the first five verses.
1. All authority comes from God.
There is no real authority except that which God has given. I know that that’s a hard concept to grasp in our physical world where people can take and abuse power. However, Paul says it clearly: “There is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Rom. 13:1). By the way, he said that right after he said this: “Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities.”
So there’s a certain amount of respect that we ought tot have for those in governmental leadership positions. You may be thinking, “Wait a minute. Respect for politics?” I know it seems foreign, but God says we must do it. I also know that you and I won’t always – in fact, we may rarely – agree with the actions and laws of our politicians. However, there should be prayers offered for them that they will turn to God. There should be respect for what they do without blanket support of the ungodliness that they may support and promote.
2. To resist civil authority is to resist God.
Paul says that those who resist authority “bring judgment on themselves” (Rom. 13:2). Be careful about defying government in the name of your Christian liberty. Peter reminds us that we cannot use our freedom in Christ as a “cloak for vice” (1 Pet. 2:16). We are “bondservants of God.” So Peter’s next statement is “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17).
3. Do good and you don’t have to fear law enforcement.
This is Paul’s point in Romans 13:3-4. If we will abide by the laws (inasmuch as they don’t violate God’s supreme law), then we can be at peace.
4. You must be subject to them.
This is in Romans 13:5. Now, is it the case that some governmental officials may misuse their power? Yes, that’s possible. We all know that it happens. It happened in Paul’s day, too. Could it be that someone could use their power to be more strict against some than others? Obviously, the answer is yes. We’ll talk more tomorrow about how we should respond when that happens to us.
Let’s wrap it up: Paul is giving us some inspired principles by which we should live. We should have respect for civil authorities and law enforcement officers. We should remember them in our prayers. We should be kind to them. We must remember that God expects Christians to be law-abiding citizens as long as the laws of the land do not conflict with the laws of God. This will, in part, bring about peace in our communities – and it will do so in a godly way.
Memory Verse: I mentioned a moment ago that some people may use their power to mistreat us. Romans 12:18 tells us how we ought to respond to situations like that.
If it is possible, as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men (Rom. 12:18).
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On the next episode, we need to look at one of Jesus’ amazing principles of peace: that of turning the other cheek. Please join me tomorrow for another edition of The New You.