Romans 13 … Consider Him, the Absolute Authority

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God, (13:1).

I am no theologian; I am His child, a simple student and lover of His Word. But I am quite certain we don’t need to be theologians to grasp this truth explicitly declared, “there is no authority except from God.” Nothing at all ambiguous or mysterious here; “there is no authority except from God.”

Authority:
1849. ἐξουσία exousía; gen. exousías, fem. noun from éxesti (1832), it is permissible, allowed. Permission, authority, right, liberty, power to do something (Acts 26:12). As éxesti denies the presence of a hindrance, it may be used either of the capability or the right to do a certain action. The words éxesti and exousía combine the two ideas of right and might. As far as right, authority, or capability is concerned, it involves ability, power, strength… Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
37.35 ἐξουσίαa, ας f: the right to control or govern over—‘authority to rule, right to control.’ Louw-Nida Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament

The word Paul uses in the Greek, describes Authority as both the right and the might, the ability and the strength, and without hindrance to do a certain action. And as He is the One who establishes all authority, His Authority is Absolute in every action.

Consider Him, the Absolute Authority

  • Absolute: “free from imperfection; complete; perfect.”
    • This God—his way is perfect; the word of the LORD proves true; he is a shield for all those who take refuge in him, (Psalm 18:30 ESV).
    • The law of the Lord is perfect, restoring the soul;
      The testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple,
      (Psalm 19:7).
  • Absolute: “not mixed or adulterated; pure.”
    • Your eyes are too pure to approve evil,
      And You can not look on wickedness with favor,
      (Habakkuk 1:13).
    • The words of the Lord are pure words;
      As silver tried in a furnace on the earth, refined seven times,
      (Psalm 12:6).
  • Absolute: “complete; outright.”
    • “I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8).
    • Then He said to me, “It is done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the beginning and the end…” (Revelation 21:6).
  • Absolute: “free from restriction or limitation; not limited in any way.”
    • Great is our Lord and mighty in power; his understanding has no limit, (Psalm 147:5 NIV).
    • “For nothing will be impossible with God,” (Luke 1:37).
  • Absolute: “unrestrained or unlimited by a constitution, counterbalancing group, etc., in the exercise of governmental power.”
    • “O Lord, the God of our fathers, are You not God in the heavens? And are You not ruler over all the kingdoms of the nations? Power and might are in Your hand so that no one can stand against You,” (2 Chronicles 20:6).
    • All the ends of the earth will remember and turn to the Lord,
      And all the families of the nations will worship before You.
      28 For the kingdom is the Lord’s
      And He rules over the nations,
      (Psalm 22:27-28).
  • Absolute: “viewed independently; not comparative or relative; ultimate; intrinsic.”
    • Many, O Lord my God, are the wonders which You have done,
      And Your thoughts toward us;
      There is none to compare with You.
      If I would declare and speak of them,
      They would be too numerous to count,
      (Psalm 40:5).
    • There is none like You, O Lord;
      You are great, and great is Your name in might,
      (Jeremiah 10:6).
  • Absolute: “positive; certain.”
    • “So let us know, let us press on to know the LORD. His going forth is as certain as the dawn; And He will come to us like the rain, Like the spring rain watering the earth,” (Hosea 6:3).
    • And those who were in the boat worshiped Him, saying, “You are certainly God’s Son!” (Matthew 14:33).
    • All that the Father gives Me will come to Me, and the one who comes to Me I will certainly not cast out,” (John 6:37).
    • Therefore let all the house of Israel know for certain that God has made Him both Lord and Christ—this Jesus whom you crucified.” (Acts 2:36).

 How do we respond to Him, the Absolute Authority?

When we receive His free gift of salvation by faith, He is not only our Savior, but He is to be our Lord, the Absolute Authority over our entire life.

Paul puts forth three responses for his readers, three responses to be obeyed, that are not up for discussion; for who are we to argue with Him, the Absolute Authority?

  • 1) Therefore it is necessary to be in subjection, not only because of wrath, but also for conscience’ sake, (13:5).
    • Let us commit to live in subjection to the authority established by God. That means all authority. By this we can live with a clear conscience before our earthly rulers, but more importantly before Him, the Absolute Authority.
      • Of course, if earthly rulers should expect obedience when in clear violation of His commands, we must obey God rather than man.
        • But Peter and John answered and said to them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to give heed to you rather than to God, you be the judge; 20 for we cannot stop speaking about what we have seen and heard” (Acts 4:19-20).
        • But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men,” (Acts 5:29).
      • We can cultivate our willing subjection to the authority God has established by praying for our leaders (whether or not we agree with their political inclinations).
        • First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity. This is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth, (1 Timothy 2:1-4).
  • 2) Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for he who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the law. (13:8).
    • Let us commit to fulfill His command to love one another. The truth is, the best way we can reveal Him as the Absolute Authority in our own lives is by sharing the love He has freely bestowed upon us with others.
      • “A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another, even as I have loved you, that you also love one another. 35 By this all men will know that you are My disciples, if you have love for one another,” (John 13:35).
  • 3) The night is almost gone, and the day is near. Therefore let us lay aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light. 13 Let us behave properly as in the day, not in carousing and drunkenness, not in sexual promiscuity and sensuality, not in strife and jealousy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh in regard to its lusts, (13:12-14).
    • Let us commit to live with an eternal perspective, deliberate in our choices to make no provision for the flesh as we trust the enabling power of His Holy Spirit.
      • But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 24 Now those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires, (Galatians 5:22-24).

Oh, that we would respond in obedience to ready ourselves through a consecrated life, in submission to His Absolute Authority to live by faith as His witnesses, that others would also desire to know and submit to Him, the Absolute Authority.

And Jesus came up and spoke to them, saying, “All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.19 Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age,” (Matthew 19:18-20).

Let’s Grow Together!

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