Men Should Obey Delegated Authority


“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.”  (Romans 13:1) ”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.”  (Romans 13:1)

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; 14 Or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by him for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”  (1 Peter 2:13-14)

1.          God is the source of all authorities in the universe.  God’s delegated authority is any governing authority established.  The arrangements are as follows :


FAMILY                                  CHURCH               WORLD

A.  God                                     A.  God                  A.   God

B.  Christ                                 B.  Christ              B.   Christ

C.  Father & Mother             C.  Pastor             C.   Family

D.  Children                           D.  Church            E.  Authority/Authorities

E.  People


2.         Since all governing authorities are instituted by Him, then all authorities are delegated by Him and represents His authority.  God Himself has established this system of authority in order to manifest Himself to us.


3.          Wherever people encounter authority they meet God.  It is impossible for men to come to know God through His presence; but even without His presence they can still know Him through His authority.


4.          If we would indeed learn how to obey God we would then have not trouble recognizing on whom God’s authority rest.  But if we only know God’s direct authority, we may possibly violate more than half of His authority.  We must be subject to God’s delegated authority as well as to God’s direct authority, for they are one in the same.


5.          As to earthly authorities Paul not only exhorts positively toward subjection but also warns negatively against resistance.  He who resist authorities are resisting God’s own command, they too are one in the same.  And the end of such resistance is always judged and punished.  The great the rebellion/resistance the swifter the punishment.


6.         After having led His people out of Egypt into the wilderness, God gave them ten commandments and many ordinances.  Among these was one which declared;

”Thou shalt not revile the gods, nor curse the ruler of thy people.”  (Exodus 22:28)

This is still in effect today for us.  This also proves God had put them under rulers.  Even in Moses’ time, the Israelites who resisted authority were actually resisting God Himself.  When we resist the Pastor we are resisting God, for the Pastor is God’s delegated authority to the church.


7.          Paul shows us in Romans 13 all who are in authority are God’s servants, whether they be a vessel for honour or dishonour.

“Hath not the potter power over the clay, of the same lump to make one vessel unto honour, and another unto dishonour?”       (Romans 9:21)

He is the potter we are the clay.  Clay does not talk back!!!


8.          We MUST be subject to the local authority under which we live, as well as to the authority of our own nation and race.  All powers have their own laws, however, the laws of a nation are derived from the laws of God.   When we break the laws of the nation we reside, we are breaking the laws of God.


9.           The symbols for subjection to earthly authorities are four fold:

A.  Taxes to whom taxes are due

B.  Revenue (money/riches/wealth) to whom revenue is due

C.  Respect to whom respect is due

D.  Honour where honour is due


A Christian obeys the law not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of their conscience.  Our conscience is to reprove us if we are disobedient.  We must not carelessly criticize or denounce government.  Even the police on the street are commissioned by God.  In any event, insubordination to authority is mutiny towards God.


10.         In the family (Ephesians 5:22-24, Ephesians 6:1-3, and Colossians 3:18,20,22)  God has set the husband as the delegated authority of Christ with the wife as representative.  It would be difficult for the wife to be subject to the husband if she does not see the delegated authority vested in him by God.

(For women:  Titus 2:4-5 and 1 Peter 3:1, 5, 6)


11.           God has set up parents in authority.  To be subject to parents requires a seeing of God’s authority.  (For children: Ephesians 6:1, 2, 3 and Colossians 3:20)


12.           God sets His church authorities.  The younger ones in age must also learn to be subject to the older ones. Our first question should be to whom should I obey?  A Christian needs to have two senses: the sense of sin and the sense of authority.  Even when the Pastor and the people gather to voice opinion only one can make the final decision.  Some are greater, some are lesser, this order is not arranged by man; nevertheless, each needs to know where they stand.

(For Church:  1 Thessalonians 5:12-13,   1 Corinthians 11: 3,10; 14: 33-35; 16: 15-16,  1 Timothy 2:11-17; 5:17,  1 Peter 5:5,  2 Peter 2:10-11)


13.           To reject delegated authority is an affront to God.  Delegated authority is so serious that if one offends it they are at odds with God.  Can we trust any less when God displays such trust in His delegated authority? People will perhaps argue what if the authority is wrong?  Well the answer is, if God dares to entrust His authority to men, then we can dare to obey.  Whether the one in authority is right or wrong does not concern us, since he has to be responsible directly to God.


14.            It is good to be in and under authority.  The obedient needs only to obey; the Lord will not hold us responsible for any mistaken obedience, rather will He hold the delegated authority responsible for his wrongful act.  Insubordination, however, is rebellion, and for this the one under authority must answer to God.


15.           It is therefore clear that no human element is involved in this matter of authority.  If our subjection is merely directed to a man the whole meaning of authority is lost.  When God institutes His delegated authority He is bound by His honour to maintain that authority.  We are each one of us responsible before God in this matter.  Let us be careful that we make no mistake.