Jump Start # 2455
Romans 13:1 Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God.
Yesterday in our Jump Start we discussed the subject of changing gender. In that article, I made the point that certain things belong only to God and no one has the right to assume those privileges. No one has the right unless God gives them that right.
I want to stretch those ideas and thoughts more. There is a change of command that we find in the Bible. At the top is God. He has all authority. This is what our verse today is declaring, “there is no authority except from God.” Why does God have all authority? Because He is the Creator and the Almighty. His position, His power, and His works, demonstrate that He has all authority. All other authorities exist lawfully because God gave those right to others.
For instance, with Jesus Christ, we remember in Matthew, “All authority has been given to Me in Heaven and on Earth” (28:18). Who gave Jesus that authority? The Father did. Upon the ascension into Heaven, Jesus sat down at the right hand of His Father. Jesus came to fulfill the will of His Father. He spoke the words of His Father. His authority was given to Him.
Our verse today leads into a discussion about the government. God gave authority to government. “Rulers are a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath upon the one who practices evil” (13:4). The government has the right to make laws, raise taxes, enforce those laws and even take life for violating those laws. What right does the Government have to execute a criminal, some ask? They have the right of God. God granted them that right. We pay taxes, this text tells us, because, rulers are servants of God (13:6). God gave the government certain authority.
The apostles were given the right to bind and loose the laws of God which created in Heaven (Mt 16:19). They were not making the rules as they went along. They did not have that right. But as directed by Heaven, they had the authority and the right to tell churches and brethren what they had to do. Who gave the apostles that right? God did.
God gave congregations the right to discipline members who were not walking faithfully with Him. The church can rebuke, remove and even with hold fellowship from members who are not following the N.T. pattern. What right does a church have to do this? God gave them that right. Passages such as 1 Corinthians 5 and 2 Thessalonians 3 show that. What God did not hand over to a church was the right to change the Bible. There is no voting on what a church should do. There is no additions, by-laws or decrees that the church can add to the Bible. The church was never given that right.
God gave preachers the right to preach the word. They have the right to rebuke and show the Biblical pattern as they teach God’s word. God did not give preachers the right to run the church, or to be the final answer in all things. Some act this way, but God did not give them that right.
So, there is a Biblical chain of command. When one operates where he does not have permission or the right then that person is in the wrong. He is doing things without Heaven’s approval. Although he may get away with things for the moment, it does not mean that God likes what he is doing. So the issue of changing genders is a matter of chain of command. Does God give the individual the permission to change their gender? If the answer is yes, it would be found in the Scriptures. That is yet another link in God’s chain of command. His word, the Bible is His voice and His authority. The Colossians were told to do all things in the name of Jesus. The Bereans were called noble because they searched the Scriptures daily to see if things were so. When questioned about divorce, Jesus referred to the Bible. When asked about marriage in Heaven, Jesus referred to the Bible. In these last days, Hebrews says, God speaks through His Son. So, if some right has been given to us, it will be found in the Bible. Changing your gender is not in the Bible. Same sex marriage is not in the Bible. A church voting on what is right or wrong is not in the Bible. A church being organized with a hierarchy larger than a local congregation is not in the Bible. Not being in the Bible means those rights have not been given to us.
We understand the chain of command in the military. Someone who jumps the gun and starts barking out orders who doesn’t have that permission will find himself in all sorts of hot water and trouble. Should it be any different with God?
A chain of command…do you understand it? Do you respect it? Many questions of today would be quickly settled if we started with the concept of God’s authority and the chain of command. The Bible is not a democracy. The church is not a democracy. The will of the people does not surpass the will of God. Jesus prayed, not My will, but Thy will be done.
A chain of command…respect it, follow it, understand it.