Who’s in Charge?: No Authority without God

“Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God.” (Romans 13:1)

Do you resist blanket statements like the one in this verse as much as I do? It just doesn’t feel right. Paul states without qualification that every authority is established by God. What’s your first thought? “What about really ugly, evil authorities?” Second thought: “Wait, what about Hitler?” (Any moral argument that goes on long enough will eventually come back to Hitler, right?)

charge_350How could God have established some of the truly terrible authorities that have existed down through history? Why would he do that?

We’ll wrestle with that big idea over the next few days. For now, we’ll understand this is exactly what the Bible says is truth. It’s a statement of God’s absolute control over the universe and human governments. Note: We’re not told that God approves of every authority but that he establishes each of them. Whatever the other implications of that, it makes him the most powerful being of all.

Think: How could this idea potentially change the way you think about human authorities and governments? How could it potentially change the way you think about God?

Pray: Ask God to help you to get a better idea of who he is—and who your human authorities are—as we think about them this week.

Do: Make 2 quick lists of the best 3 authorities in your life right now and the 3 you’d be the least likely to submit to based on their decisions, personality, or character.