1 John 5:3 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
3 For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.
When we look at the world around us today, what we find is a conflicting message. Dictators, who abuse their people in a socialistic setting, run much of the third world. However, if any of these ones escape that environment and make it to the United States, they start voting for politicians that believe in a bigger government with greater authority in a socialistic setting. The European countries are almost all liberal-progressive and quasi-socialist in nature. Moreover, virtually all of them have a cradle to grave handout system by the government and are on the verge of an economic crash. Nevertheless, when election time comes around, the people in these countries tend to elect another Democratic liberal-progressive candidate because they have become so used to the mentality of the handouts. What do all of these people have in common? The liberal-progressive desires of a bigger government that controls every human facet of life are actually at odds with the same individuals, who truly want absolute freedom, with not authority telling them what they can and cannot do.
No one today wants anyone to have the right to tell them how they out to behave. Teenagers are rebelling against their parents. Society is rebelling against the government and law enforcement. Employees are rebelling again big business. No one wants to submit to the will of another. Nevertheless, most in this world are “conformed to this world” by the government that they are under. (Rom. 12:2, ESV) Moreover, instead of independence, “they themselves are slaves of corruption,” i.e., they are slaves to their sinful tendencies, namely, their fleshly desires. (2 Pet. 2:19, ESV) This world is “following the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work in the sons of disobedience, among whom we [Christians] all once lived in the passions of our flesh, carrying out the desires of the body and the mind, and were by nature children of wrath, like the rest of mankind.” – Ephesians 2:2-3, ESV.
Our view of authority, as Christians, is different from those who walk blindly in this world. Christian children follow the authority of their parents and school. Christian adults follow the authority of their spouse, their employers, and the government under which they live. Paul says, “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” (Eph. 6:1-3, ESV) He also wrote, “Wives, submit to your own husbands, as to the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior.” (Eph. 5:22-23, ESV) Paul also tells every Christian, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.” (Rom 13:1, ESV) However, the question begs to be asked, “Are Christians to just blindly do whatever they are asked by their government, workplace or spouse?” No, Christians can ignore any authority if it is at odds with the Word of God. In the first-century, the Jewish religious leaders had commanded the Christians to stop witnessing about Jesus. However, this was against Jesus command to proclaim the good news, to teach, and make disciples. (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) Peter and John took the position that is the balancing principle for all Christians, even today, “We must obey God rather than men.” – Acts 5:27-29
At present, while this book is being penned, the United States has legalized marriage between the same sex, i.e., man marrying man and woman marrying woman. This is in conflict with God’s Word that clearly states homosexual relationships are a gross sin and contrary to nature. (Lev. 18:22; Rom 1:24-27’ 1 Cor. 6:9; Jude 1:7) This United Sates ruling by the Supreme Court is placing Christians in the position of having to obey God or obey man. For example, some Christians who own bakeries have refused to make wedding cakes for homosexual weddings. They have not refused homosexuals from coming into their store and purchasing baked good, but they feel that to make a cake for a homosexual wedding is participating in that wedding, which would be contrary to Scripture. Paul warned Timothy against ‘sharing in the sins of others.’ (1 Tim. 5:22, HCSB)
The world as we speak is quickly moving away from any sort of good moral values. Nevertheless, while we want to be courageous in the face of persecution, this does not give us the right to be stubborn because we have an unreasonable spirit. There is the other case, where a city official was jailed for refusing to give out a marriage license to homosexual couples. She had taken a job that is subject to change with the world because government by nature is of the world. If the government refuses to make exceptions for a Christian official, the only recourse for the Christian is to find another line of employment.
It is not our Christian obligation to repair Satan’s World. If it is possible to win a legal case, overturning a law that infringes on the rights of Christians, this is perfectly fine. Many cases have been won in the United States Supreme Court that has granted Christians more freedom or have removed restrictions that were there. However, if we cannot obey a law, we must not involve ourselves in that line of work. As wise Solomon said, there is “a time to be silent and a time to speak.” (Eccl 3:7, NASB) The principle is that we accept God’s authority over any human. We do so, even in a “Christian” household, if a husband asks his wife to do anything that violates Scripture, she can refuse. The same would be true of parents that may ask Christian children to violate Scripture. Again, ‘we obey God rather than man,’ any man.
The United States has served Americans and the rest of the world well and will likely do so right up into the Great Tribulation. However, conservative Christians need to take note of the fact that at present, we are the majority and prayer without an evident demonstration of our faith in that prayer is not going to halt the socialist direction that the United States is heading. In other words, Paul encourages,
1 Timothy 2:1-2 Updated Standard Version (UASV)
1 First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, 2 for kings and all who are in high positions, that we may lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.
We pray for our government leaders to make decisions that will allow us to “lead a peaceful and quiet life, godly and dignified in every way.” However, prayer is not enough. We must act on our prayers by voting for the lesser of the two evils, which we did not do in McCain versus Obama in 2008 or in Romney Versus Obama in 2012. The United States is greatly weakened after eight years of a quasi-socialist president, not because of the Democrats, liberal, and atheists are now the majority, but rather because many conservatives sat at home because their choice in a candidate was not selected to run against Obama. Remember, it is Christ and his Kingdom that we seek, but we can hold a measure of stability longer if we are united against the liberal, progressive, socialist movement of this world.
John 18:36 Updated Standard Version (UASV)
36 Jesus answered, “my kingdom is not of this world. If my kingdom were of this world, then my servants would be fighting so that I would not be handed over to the Jews; but as it is, my kingdom is not of this world.”
2 Timothy 3:1-7 Updated American Standard Version (ASV)
1 But realize this, that in the last days difficult times will come. 2 For men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, arrogant, revilers, disobedient to parents, ungrateful, unholy, 3 unloving, irreconcilable, malicious gossips, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, 4 treacherous, reckless, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, 5 having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power; avoid such men as these. 6 For among them are those who enter into households and captivate weak women weighed down with sins, led on by various desires, 7 always learning and yet never able to come to an accurate knowledge of truth.
The balanced biblical view of authority is that we pray and take what actions are possible within whatever authority we as Christians are under while awaiting Christ’s kingdom. If we can vote for a conservative candidate that make not be perfect (because who is), we still vote for him or her as opposed to a liberal progressive vote. If a conservative sits at home, it is a vote for the liberal progressive. Even so, if one is sitting at home because their Christian conscience tells them not to involve themselves in politics, this is different and acceptable.
We as Christians use whatever legal system is available to win cases that will allow us to “lead a peaceful and quiet life [while we await Christ’s second coming], godly and dignified in every way.” We as Christians also use whatever branch of government that is that is available to legislate a bill into a law so that we may “lead a peaceful and quiet life [while we await Christ’s second coming], godly and dignified in every way.” However, we are no so focused on changing Satan’s world, which is due to be removed [i.e., wicked people that is], forgetting that Jesus gave us but one great commission. He commanded that we proclaim the good news of the kingdom in all the inhabited earth, teaching biblical truths, to make disciples until his return. The overall principle again is, we obey God as ruler rather than man, meaning that if man asks us to do anything that conflicts with God’s Word, then we obey God. We give Caesar’s things to Caesar and we give God’s things to God. However, if Caesar starts asking for what belongs to God, we are not to make any concessions in any way. – Matthew 22:20-22.
We as Christians have accepted God’s authority as our supreme authority. We apply the words as stated at Proverbs 3:5-6, “Trust in Jehovah with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.” We know that if we follow God’s Word to the best of our ability, generally speaking, things will work out for our good.
Deuteronomy 10:12 Updated Standard Version (UASV)
12 “And now, O Israel, what does Jehovah your God require from you, but to fear Jehovah your God, to walk in all his ways and love him, and to serve Jehovah your God with all your heart and with all your soul, 13 and to keep Jehovah’s commandments and his statutes which I am commanding you today for your good?
Isaiah 48:17-18 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
17 Thus says Jehovah,
your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel:
“I am Jehovah your God,
who teaches you to profit,
who leads you in the way you should go.
18 Oh that you had paid attention to my commandments!
Then your peace would have been like a river,
and your righteousness like the waves of the sea;
Scripture is quite clear that while we know Christians are not immune from the effects of living in imperfection within Satan’s world, it is always in our best interests to obey the Word of God. The point that follows is very important. As long as we have a correct understanding of what the Bible says on a matter, we must obey, even if, at present, we do not understand the reasons as to why. This is not gullibility or naiveté; it is trusting in the one and only True God.
Returning to the book of Hebrews, we are told that we need to have our “discernment trained to distinguish between good and evil.” (Heb. 5:14) Therefore, we are not to obey God’s laws, rules, and principles simply because they are there without being a human being with thoughts and feelings. In order to be able to ‘discern between right and wrong,’ we have to think, so Got does not want us to be some automaton robot that just follows his laws because he says so. We want to understand and appreciate the wisdom behind what God says. If acquire the mind of Christ, we will be able to say, “I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart.” – Psalm 40:8, ESV.
If we are going to be like the Psalmist, to have the mind of Christ, who said, “I have come down from heaven, not to do my own will but the will of him who sent me” (John 6:38), we will need to ponder on what the Bible authors meant by what they wrote. We might ask ourselves, “How do I apply this verse of ‘do not get drunk with wine’ (Eph. 5:18, NASB), with say, beer, as Paul did not mention beer?” “Why is law or that principle to be applied in different circumstances?” On the other hand, “in what all circumstances does it apply?” “Why is it best for me to obey God’s Word?” “If I obey God’s Word will everything always work out for me?” If our Christian mind and heart are in harmony with the mind of Christ, we will then make decisions based on a biblical worldview. Right before the above verse on wine, Paul wrote, “So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is.” (Eph. 5:17, NASB) Let us revisit “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s,” which is not always easy to determine.
We just spoke about the Kentucky County clerk, who was refusing to hand out marriage licenses to same-sex couples. The liberal media was trying to use the Bible to evidence that the Christian clerk had no choice but to obey the Supreme Court ruling. They quoted Matthew 22:21, “give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s.” Well, this verse does not even apply to these circumstances. First, the liberal commentators leave out the second half of the verse. It reads, “and to God what is God’s.” The question was raised before, what if Caesar (governmental authorities) asks for something that belongs to God? We do not give what belongs to God to Caesar. We reiterated this issue to make our point about having a correct understanding of the Bible. The Critical and Exegetical Hand-Book to the Gospel of Matthew, by Heinrich Meyer, explains: “By [Caesar’s things] … we are not to understand merely the civil tax, but everything to which Caesar was entitled in virtue of his legitimate rule.” Yes, everything we are to give Caesar everything he is entitled to, but not what God is entitled to from us, such as obedience.
From the time of the Garden of Eden, Satan has sought to undermine God’s authority and sovereignty (right to rule). He chose to be independent of God’s authority in his rebellion, which independence, a lack of respect for authority has been the way of humanity after Adam, and Eve joined him. It used to be that marriage was a divine institution. Now, we have couples that just choose to live together. Moreover, the United States one of the last conservative Judeo-Christian countries had their Supreme Court alter the definition of marriage from a man and a woman, to include same-sex couples. In addition, the divorce rate, even among Christians is over fifty percent. While this serves as just one example, we should ask, “Do I respect God’s authority to establish marriage to be between man and woman, for live and to hate a divorcing as much as he?” “Have I allowed the world around me to affect my thinking toward marriage?”
Many young ones in the Christian Church are falling away from the faith because Satan has singled them out as a special group. Satan does this by undermining God’s authority. The apostle Paul warns young ones to “flee youthful passions and pursue righteousness, faith, love, and peace, along with those who call on the Lord from a pure heart.” (2 Tim. 2:22) It is Satan’s world, which caters to the youthful passions, and the peer pressure of worldly children, which lead young ones to see God’s Word as oppressive. They need to understand fully and appreciate the wisdom behind God’s Word. We are all told to “flee from sexual immorality” (1 Cor. 6:18), but this counsel is especially poignant to the young one’s today. In the 1980s, it was common to find a teenage boy and girl kissing under the bleachers at a basketball or football game. We now live in a world where teenagers culturally believe that oral sex is the same as kissing. What a stark contrast in just in thirty-five years!
There are “3 in 10 teen American girls will get pregnant at least once before age 20. That is nearly 750,000 teen pregnancies every year. Parenthood is the leading reason that teen girls drop out of school. More than 50% of teen mothers never graduate from high school. About 25% of teen moms have a 2nd child within 24 months of their first baby. Less than 2% of teen moms earn a college degree by age 30. The United States has one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in the western industrialized world.” Young ones ask yourselves, ‘Why is the command to flee from sexual immorality wise?’ ‘If you obey the command, how will it benefit you?’ Certainly, young ones, you see pregnant teens walking around your schools, you see that they eventually drop out. This author is aware of numerous cases where there is an eighteen-year-old with three children. While the children are precious, the young girl, a child herself, is ignoring God’s Word and has paid the price. Certainly, it is best to accept God’s authority as the Creator of humanity, who knows what is best for his creation.
In our world, that values an independent spirit above all else, we must be on guard to not adopt the same attitude, as accepting God’s authority will be called into question. If we begin to think of ourselves more than we ought to, it can become self-assurance, i.e., believing that your views and abilities are of greater value than say our spouse, our school, our parents, our employer, the government, or even our Creator. After Jesus had spoken of figuratively feeding on his flesh and drinking his blood (spiritual sense), many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him. Therefore, Jesus said to the twelve apostles, “Do you want to go away as well?” Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.” – John 6:52-68.
If we are accepting God’s authority, it means that we will be taught by it, we will be reproved by it from time to time, corrected by it, trained in righteousness by it, so that we may be complete, being equipped for every good work. (2 Tim. 3:16-17) In these last days, we will also follow Paul’s counsel, “let us not sleep, as others do, but let us keep awake and be sober.” (1 Thess. 5:6) Who are the others, who are sleeping? It could be a reference to the unbelievers in the world, who are sleeping through this important time because the Word of God is mere foolishness to them. However, it may also apply to Christians who is uninterested. “Falling asleep is a picture of what can happen to us spiritually, ethically, or morally if we are not watchful. We simply drift off. Drowsiness begins, we become comfortable, our hearts become insensitive. Spiritual drowsiness slowly paralyzes the spirit. The person who was once vibrant and wide awake in following Christ can become lethargic and lazy about issues of the spirit.” We, on the other hand, “are to be alert and self-controlled. To be alert is the opposite of being asleep. An alert person is aware, sensitive to life around him, and morally and spiritually awake.” (Larson 2000, p. 70)
1 John 2:15-17 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
15 Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world. 17 The world is passing away, and its lusts; but the one who does the will of God remains forever.
Humility will help us to appreciate always that Jesus “is the head of the body, the church.” (Col. 1:18) Humility will also help us to accept the direction and guidance from those taking the lead n our church. Paul wrote, “we ask you, brothers, to respect those who labor among you and are over you in the Lord and admonish you, and to esteem them very highly in love because of their work. Be at peace among yourselves.” (1 Thess. 5:12-13, ESV) However, the leaders can evidence their humility as well, accepting that it is Christ’s congregation, not theirs, that they may learn from Paul and first-century leaders “not to go beyond what is written” in the Word of God. – 1 Corinthians 4:6.
Yes, it is not “glorious to seek one’s own glory.” (Pro. 25:27) The apostle John had to deal with a serious case of one who suffered from this pitfall. He wrote, “I have written something to the church, but Diotrephes, who likes to put himself first, does not acknowledge our authority. So if I come, I will bring up what he is doing, talking wicked nonsense against us. And not content with that, he refuses to welcome the brothers, and also stops those who want to and puts them out of the church.” (3 John 9-10, ESV) While progressing spiritually is exactly what all of us need to be reaching for, selfish ambition is something entirely different. Ambition is having a strong desire to be successful in life, always seeking an angle to get ahead of others. Solomon wrote, “When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with the humble is wisdom. (Pro. 11:12, ESV) He also wrote, “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Pro. 16:18, ESV) We never want to take our relationship with God for granted. In every aspect of our lives, we must reject the independent spirit of this world and accept God’s authority.
- What all is involved in accepting God’s authority?
- How is the Christian view of authority different from those living in Satan’s World?
- What evidence is there that the Kingdom of God is closer?
- How is training our discernment connected to accepting God’s authority?
- How is Satan trying to undermine God’s authority?
- Why is humility Connected to our accepting God’s authority?
 Epignosis is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning, “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis.
 We say “generally speaking” because bad things happen to good people in an imperfect world run by Satan.
 11 Facts About Teen Pregnancy – Do Something,
https://www.dosomething.org/facts/11-facts-about-teen-pregnancy (accessed September 21, 2015).
 Jesus was talking about the cross—the spiritual act whereby we accept his death on our behalf in order to gain access to his offer of eternal life. In the spiritual sense, that is the real food and the real drink. (Gangel 2000, p. 129)