If we conducted an opinion poll with children raised in Christian homes, chances are that not many would list parental authority as a blessing. This would be a great tragedy! Authority is a gift of God to his people and especially to families. Authority is often abused on the one hand and grossly neglected on the other. However, it is important not to frame one’s view of biblical authority based on the abuses of others.
Human authority is a daily object lesson that all of creation is under the authority and rule of the Lord of the Universe. However, viewing authority as gift requires something of an attitude adjustment for many. The world, under the direction of Satan (Ephesians 2:1-3) wants authority to be viewed as arbitrary, uncaring, stifling, and cruel. Authority is said to curtail imagination, stunt creativity, restrict freedom, and diminish individual worth. The dynamic duo of existentialism and post-modernism has thrived under these misconceptions of biblical authority. These misconceptions have filtered down to families.
In contrast let’s see how the Bible speaks about authority. There are many things to consider about what the Bible says about authority. Here we will look at just three of them. The first thing to remember about Biblical human authority is that it is derived and not earned. Husbands are not necessarily people of better character than their wives. Parents are not necessarily better people than their children. Law enforcement officers are not automatically more honest than those they protect. These positions of authority, and every other form of authority, are established by Christ. (Colossians 1:15-20) So, our respect for authority is not directly tied to the person in authority, but to the Person who established that authority.
Secondly, human authority reminds us that all of creation is subject to the rule of God. We all live and die at God’s will and pleasure. This is not a popular notion in our culture, but it is true.
Thirdly, the next thing to consider about authority is that is established by God for our benefit. In 2 Corinthians 13:10 Paul says that God has given authority to build up and not to tear down. Building up is a primary benefit of authority….
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