A question that I get asked often is, ”Aren’t we supposed to be submissive to the government?” ”When is it OK not to be?”
God is all-powerful, He is sovereign over all. But He has delegated some of His sovereignty to four different human institutions.
The first institution that He has given authority to, and instruction on being submissive to is the family.
Ephesians 6:1-3 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right. Honor your father and mother (which is the first commandment with a promise), so that it may be well with you, and that you may live long on the earth.
1 Peter 3:1 In the same way, you wives, be submissive to your own husbands so that even if any of them are disobedient to the word, they may be won without a word by the behavior of their wives,
The second institution that God has given authority to is business, the workplace. Obviously in this verse we can change the word slave to employee and master to boss. We all know that the boss is in charge and gives the orders.
Colossians 3:22 Slaves, in all things obey those who are your masters on earth, not with external service, as those who merely please men, but with sincerity of heart, fearing the Lord.
The third institution that God has shared His authority with is the church.
Hebrews 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
And the fourth institution that we are instructed to be submissive to is our government.
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.
Each of these institutions has a realm of jurisdiction, that is, God has given them authority over a particular area of life. If they attempt to exercise authority outside the realm of their God-given place of jurisdiction, they will create rebellion, anger, and war.
Pastor Mike Dedera and I function as co-pastors. He preaches most of the primary weekend services, and I teach Leadership classes and preach at our Wednesday evening service. He leads the staff meetings, and I usually lead our Elder meetings. We meet almost daily to discuss and talk about the decisions and direction of the church. But I am still the Senior Pastor, the boss. I have pastored at JBC for 44 years, Mike, about 12 years, I am 72 years old, and I don’t think he is 50 years old yet.
So, let’s suppose as Mike’s Boss I order him to sleep in a different bed than his wife, even a different room because if he gets COVID she is almost guaranteed to catch it sleeping in the same bed with him. What will his reaction be to my command to him as his boss? It will be anger, resentment, and rebellion, and justifiably so. This example is laughable, it is so ridiculous. My authority as Mike’s boss doesn’t extend into his home, no matter how well-intentioned my motives are. My jurisdiction stops at the church.
Governor Brown of Oregon has attempted to extend her jurisdiction, her authority into our church telling us how many can meet together, and who can do what. She has attempted to move into my home commanding us, under the threat of fines and arrest, not to have more than six family members gathered together at one time. Giving her credit for having the noblest of motives does not matter one iota! She has no jurisdiction in my church or my home, and my resentment, anger, and rebellion over her attempt to control them is not being insubmissive to God’s will.
There was a very Biblical reason that our countries Founding Fathers put the First Amendment into the United States constitution. It basically means that government can’t boss churches around or tell them what they can’t do or have to do, the church is outside the realm of their jurisdiction.
Authority gone too far in the family is called child abuse, spousal abuse, and people are arrested, tried, and jailed for it. Bosses often become abusive, and overbearing, and you quit and find another job. Pastors often start thinking they are God and Lord it over people in their church, and those people then find another place to call their church home. So what do we do with this blatant abuse of power from our government? At this point I am just going to ignore it, see what happens, and go from there.
I invite you to come along with me on my adventure.