Authority and Submission
The concept of authority is often greatly misunderstood, and we can clearly see that in our day. Authority of all types is present everywhere in society, and the concept of authority originated with God. The Lord God has all authority by right of creation; He is the lawful owner of the entire universe. At the present time, the Father has given to Jesus His Son “All authority...in heaven and on earth.”
God has set up institutions to function using authority and submission. He has established governing authorities: national governments, states, provinces, counties, towns, etc. (Romans 13:1-7). All people, Christians included, are to be subject to these civil powers. If people are not submissive, what results? Chaos and anarchy. God’s desire and design is for order and peace (1 Corinthians 14:33).
In the church, the shepherds (elders) are given authority to oversee the flock and watch for the souls of the members of the congregation (Acts 20:28; 1 Peter 5:1-3). The “sheep” are to submit to the authority of these bishops for their own benefit. This is God’s design and one reason why every Christian is to be a member of a local congregation.
In the home, the husband is given authority over the wife to provide leadership for the family (Ephesians 5:22-24). His authority is in the likeness of that of Christ who oversees the church and loved it to the point of sacrificing Himself for her so that she might become spotless and glorious as His own bride.
Often those who have authority will abuse their power in some way. They will take advantage of their position and begin to do things for their own selves and forget that their authority has been given for the good of those whom they look over. Paul was quick to stress that his authority (as apostle) was for “building...up” and not for “destroying” (2 Corinthians 10:8). So those in positions of authority are to use their authority for the benefit of those who are to submit to them. This is God’s glorious design for the welfare of all people.