Submission to Authority


Submission to Authority 

Nero was the Roman Emperor from AD 54-68. Nero came into power when his mom murdered his adopted dad Claudius. Five years into his reign, Nero murdered his mother for having too much say in his affairs as Emperor. Nero’s reign was known for tyranny and excess. He was in power when most of the New Testament was written. There are two key facts about Nero that inform us about New Testament Christianity. 

The great fire of Rome in AD 64. Nero was the primary suspect, so he blamed the Christians to take suspicion off himself. He burned them alive at the stake. He began Christian persecution. Nero’s wife was pro-Jewish, so she made a distinction between Jews and Christians. That is how there became a distinction between Jews and Christians in the secular world. 

The emperor as a god. Nero originated the worship of the Emperor as a god. Before Nero, the Emperor was seen as a great man. Nero planted the seeds of the Emperor as one of the gods. Domitian took this concept later and required all people to bow before the Emperor and worship him which led to 150 years of Christian persecution. 


The Christian Response to Government Authority 

All authority lies with Jesus- Matthew 28:18. “All authority on heaven and earth has been given to me.” Jesus has all authority. He grants authority to whom He desires for the purpose of His will and glory. Jesus’ authority is positional. All authority He grants to others is functional. Most people walk in a functional authority over someone, and most people must submit to authority from someone. Take a moment and think about who has authority over you, and how you use the authority you have been given for the benefit of others.

One of those authorities in our lives is governmental authority- Romans 13:1-7. Paul states in 13:1 that we are to willingly submit ourselves to our governing authorities. This is a command from God with no exceptions other than the obvious implied exception of freedom to live out our faith as believers. Lack of respect is not a valid reason to disobey this command. The reason for this command is so that Christians may live quiet and peaceful lives, and so that God can use our submission to authority as a tool to bring lost people to Him (1 Timothy 2:1-4). God uses our submission to authority as a tool for evangelism.

Paul gives several reasons why submission to governmental authority is necessary: 


Government is by divine decree- 13:1. There is no civil authority except from God, and the civil authority that exists is established by God. 


Therefore, resistance to governmental authority is rebellion against God- 13:2. 


Those believers who resist government authority will bring judgment upon themselves- 13:3. This passage shares that they will be punished.


Why is this the case? Because God sets up government to restrain evil- 13:3. God knows that law must be in place to punish evil. If not, society will collapse. History has proven this to be true. If our government loses its authority to restrain evil, think about what would happen to our culture.


Government serves to promote good within culture- 13:3-4. We have nothing to fear from governmental authority if we walk in obedience and submission. They restrain evil and promote good within the culture.


The government is empowered by God to punish those who are disobedient to the laws set up by society- 13:4. God has given them that responsibility to keep society safe and functioning. Otherwise, culture sinks into turmoil and chaos. 


As believers, we are to submit to authority for the sake of our conscience as well- 13:5. 1 Peter 2:13-17 says that by obeying God in this matter we will silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. Take a few moments and think about ways in which your submission to government authority helps to silence the ignorant talk of foolish men. What ignorant talk might Peter be addressing? 



Heavenly Father, I rise up in my rights, and exercise them both on earth and in Heaven. I pray for those in offices of governmental authority as I exercise my authority in Christ through prayer. I operate according to the divine law of love, and I refrain from criticism and negative speech. I speak words in agreement with the will of God and the establishment of righteousness in my land.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

This coming Wednesday is the start of the four-week Constitutional Education Series – 7pm in the EMIC Sanctuary.  This will be taught by Tim Barton & Jonathan Richie.

Pastor Peter Henneberry

Peter Henneberry,

EMIC Groups Pastor
 Office: 817-252-2925
E-mail/ Group questions