“Everyone who makes a practice of sinning also practices lawlessness; sin is lawlessness.” – 1 John 3:4
Authority. For most of us the word ‘authority’ is not a welcome word. It is something we tolerate but generally avoid. No one likes to be stopped for speeding or for not wearing our seat belt. No one likes to be repremanded at work even if we know we did something wrong. Have you ever wondered why?
If you examine the scripture mentioned at the top of this article you’ll get a major clue as to why we all have problems with authority. Human beings are naturally lawless. We naturally hate rules. We naturally hate laws that go against our thinking and what we think makes sense. We also naturally hate being wrong and being put in our place. We’ve seen in the past that all human beings are naturally evil and sinners by nature. We’ve all got natures that have been corrupted by sin. Since 1 John 3:4 makes it clear that sin is lawlessness… The Bible clearly teaches us that we are naturally rebellious.
Meet God, The Ultimate Authority!
It’s in this context that God enters the picture. God is perfect and he is without sin. “Let no one say when he is tempted, I am being tempted by God, for God cannot be tempted with evil, and he himself tempts no one.” James 1:13. God is love. God is good. Do you know though what else God is? God is just. He is the ultimate judge. Every human being who has ever lived must one day come before God to face the record of their lives, what they have done while alive.
“It is a fearful thing to fall into the hands of the living God.” – Hebrews 10:31
In this world, when we disobey we don’t always get caught let alone punished. We can be speeding and going much faster than the law allows but as long as a police officer doesn’t catch us (and there is no photo radar or place overhead), we will likely not have to pay for our crime. Not so with God. You see, he sees everything. Nothing is hidden from his view.
“Nothing is covered up that will not be revealed, or hidden that will not be known. Therefore whatever you have said in the dark shall be heard in the light, and what you have whispered in private rooms shall be proclaimed on the housetops. “I tell you, my friends, do not fear those who kill the body, and after that have nothing more that they can do. But I will warn you whom to fear: fear him who, after he has killed, has authority to cast into hell. Yes, I tell you, fear him!” – Luke 12:2-5
Do you fear God?
What does it mean to fear God? Proverbs 8:13 tells us, “The fear of the LORD is hatred of evil…” How do we determine if something is evil? This is where the Bible comes in. If it is found in the Bible and the Bible tells us not to do it or that it displeases God and is evil, we need to stop doing it. Having the fear of God is to avoid that which HE determines is evil. To respect God’s authority is to allow HIM to determine what is right and what is wrong. To respect God is to order our life according to what He tells us.
“And now, Israel, what does the LORD your God require of you, but to fear the LORD your God, to walk in all his ways, to love him, to serve the LORD your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments and statutes of the LORD, which I am commanding you today for your good?” – Deuteronomy 10:12-13
How does recognition of God’s authority change things? It helps us to know that there is authority that is higher than myself, higher than my friends, higher than culture or human authority. Once we are convinced that God exists and that He loves us, we must be willing to bring ourselves under His authority. We will either do it willingly during our life or by force at the judgment.
Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done.” – Revelation 20:11-12
The good news to all of this though my friend is that through trusting and believing in Jesus Christ we have nothing to fear for the judgment because Jesus paid for our condemnation. There is no condemnation for those who believe in Jesus Christ.
What about you? Have you accepted Jesus as your personal savior? Have you given your life over to Him? Are you willing to submit to His authority? To what He says is right and wrong?