Three spheres of authority established by God


God is the basis of all authority in the universe. He establishes all human authority and all human authority is representative of His authority. God has established three spheres of authority:

In the world (Romans 13:1; 1 Peter 2:13, 14; Exodus 22:28)

As it is written in Romans, there is no authority that does not proceed from God, and the authorities that exist were instituted by Him. Therefore, whoever submits to them will never be dishonored. The story of David, recorded in 1Samuel, is an example of this. In spite of constant persecution, he was completely submissive and faithful to Saul, always honoring him. He acted in this way because he did not look at the man Saul, but recognized the authority of God upon him. When we reject delegated authority, we reject God himself.

In the church (1Thess. 5:12, 13; 1Timothy 5:17; 1 Peter 5:5; 1Corinthians 16:15, 16)

God commanded that the church membership submit to the elders of each local church – Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit determined that elders and bishops oversee the house of God, or in other words, that they have the responsibility to teach the Word, minister to the Saints, and that they should be honored through the submission of the membership. If a leader fails, God will deal directly with him, but submission to him by the church will be remembered before God.

Pre-eminence depends on physical age – there are however indications that spiritual age is more important than physical age (1Corinthians 16:15, 16).

Can women govern or oversee a church? According to the Bible, the answer is no (1Corinthians 11:3). Women can and must serve in a variety of ways through their spiritual gifts, but the man must give direction and carry the pressure that bears on the governing leadership over the church. God has ordained this order and His Word has no expiration date; it is applicable at any time in history.

According to Jude, those who do not submit themselves to authority are dreamers that defile the flesh, reject authority and speak evil of dignitaries. Yet Michael the Archangel, in contending with the devil, when he disputed about the body of Moses, dared not bring against him a reviling accusation, but said, “the Lord rebuke you!” (Jude 1:8). Among the angels, there is also authority and Jude shows the contrast between the attitude of Michael and rebellious men.

In the family (Ephesians 5:22-24; 6:1-3; Colossians 3:18; 20, 22; 1 Corinthians 11:3)

God has established a chain of authority in the family beginning with the father, afterwards the mother and finally the children, among them the oldest having the preeminence. Parents must fear the authority that God has given them because they represent the Lord. Husbands must love their wives, who in turn, must be submissive to their husbands; the children must honor their parents, and servants as well as their owners or employers.

Whoever receives much, much will be required of them. We must learn to submit ourselves to and exercise authority. We must use authority to serve; and exercise it with love, lovingly delivering our own lives as did Jesus, our greatest model of authority.