Summary: Government presents the case that rebellion could possibly exist. Rebellion indisputably declares that government does exist!
Pastoral Authority Not Pastoral Acquiescence
Elder James Groce
Pastor of Calvary Apostolic Tabernacle
Text: Romans 13:1-7
Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to execute wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore ye must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake. For for this cause pay ye tribute also: for they are God’s ministers, attending continually upon this very thing. Render therefore to all their dues: tribute to whom tribute is due; custom to whom custom; fear to whom fear; honour to whom honour.
Government presents the case that rebellion could possibly exist.
Rebellion indisputably declares that government does exist!
This is true whether we are speaking of human or divine government. I shall not concern you, nor myself, with the human aspect of government and rebellion, but rather, explore the Biblical principles of divine government and of rebellion against God’s authority.
The Biblical picture of the “throne” of God is an expression of the supreme authority of God. A throne not on earth but in the heavenlies—not of this world, yet in the world. His kingdom in the earth is His church which operates in willful obedience to His divine authority and government.
Satan, as many fail to realize, was removed from the faithful host of heaven not because of sin but for rebellion. Rebellion was the cause of Satan’s fall. Isaiah 14:12-15 speaks of the rise and fall of satan. Satan violated God’s authority. His intent was to set his throne (authority) above the throne (authority) of God. The act of sinning was not the cause of satan’s fall; that act was but the product of his rebellion against divine authority. In serving God we must not violate divine authority, to do so is a satanic principle!
God has purposed to manifest His authority to the world through the church. For authority to be expressed there must be obedience. 1 Samuel 15:22 lifts its voice to this untoward and rebellious generation and proclaims, “it is better to obey than to sacrifice.” The greatest of God’s demands on man is not for him to bear the cross, make offerings, or deny himself. The greatest demand is for him to obey. Many profess they know how to obey God, but they really know nothing as to obeying delegated authority. The problems facing us today are due to men living outside the authority of God.
Trust and obey. These are the two main beliefs of Biblical salvation. Faith and obedience constitute the dual powers of God-pleasing qualities that must exist in the true believer. “Faith without works is dead being alone.” Obedience has no substitute.
Disobedience is the root of all sin. Sin is described in 1 John 3:4 as “lawlessness.” Lawlessness is disobeying God’s authority, and this is sin!
Two principles exist in the universe: the principle of God’s authority and the principle of satanic rebellion to that authority. We who wish to serve God must have an understanding of divine authority.
Someone properly stated that, “Heaven’s first order is order.” The overall task of the pastor in the church is to establish God’s divine will and authority in the hearts of God’s people. Once an individual understands the principle of divine authority he can see clearly the process that takes place both in conversion of the sinner and the perfecting of the saint. What is salvation? Is it not coming to the realization that we were rebels—rebelling against God and His will for our lives and therefore in need of repentance for our rebellion? And what is “living for God” if not the process of aligning our lives to the divine authority of God that we may be “servants” of the Most High? Ought not we be “obedient children” of our Father?
The most difficult task on the face of the earth is that of the divinely appointed pastor which is responsible to present to the Lord Jesus Christ a “willing and obedient” bride (as was Rebekah). To accomplish this task the pastor must both point to the authority of God and he must exercise authority in the church on behalf of the Chief Shepherd. God must have the preeminence in all things, and the pastor that preaches that principle must be a delegated authority of God—else he is left powerless and incapable of preaching a gospel of authority!