Scripture commands us to honor the divine authority that God has vested on parents (1), husbands (2), governmental leaders (3), governmental officials (4), and ecclesiastical elders (5).
However, such authority, compliance, and allegiance are not without their limitations. Those in positions of authority, especially those who teach (6), are accountable to God.
Whenever obedience to Man would cause one to violate the laws of God, non-compliance is morally justified.
Taking such a stance, however, does not free subordinates from incurring immediate consequences of what would likely be viewed as insubordination. The willingness to suffer the immediate consequences for his or her disobedience to the delegated authority given to Man, is cheerfully (7) accepted as the price one is called to pay in order to honor God.
It’s been said that all evil needs to prosper is to have good people stand by and let it happen.
In many situations, those who suffer at the hands of those who would abuse their authority feel helpless and hopeless to be able to realistically do much about their circumstances. For them, compliance and tolerance seem to be their only means of survival. The fear of losing relationships (8), logistical support, material possessions (9), civil freedom, social standing, and in some cases their very lives, will keep many individuals from taking a stand for what they know is right.
Many find themselves turning a blind eye to the evil around them, justifying themselves by taking the position that they are contributing to the greater good. Little do they realize that addressing such evil was the very purpose that God placed them there in the first place (10).
Others will go as far as engaging in some of the evil activity around them in order not to be identified as a follower of Christ and suffering the inevitable persecution (11) for being “different.”
Other than finding oneself in Acts 5: 29 scenarios, disobedience to divinely-delegated authority is NOT an option. Accordingly, one must make certain that any such non-compliance has the support of Scripture, and not based on feelings or social trends.
Many things, both good and evil, can influence our feelings. What is socially accepted and politically correct will be in line with the never-ending cycle of spiritual revival and moral decline.
The Christian Community-at-large is not without it’s own issues as to whose authority is to be honored, and Who it is that is to receive the credit and the glory.
NO ONE, outside of the Triune Godhead, is to be worshiped or to receive the glory that belongs to God alone (12).
When all was said and done, it was Jesus’ claim of deity that resulted in Him being falsely convicted for what His accusers viewed as blasphemy (13).
Granted, God produces divine good through human beings. But because it is He who accomplishes the divine good, it is He who deserves the credit (14), and not the human agent.
There has never been, is not now, nor will there ever be, a fallen man or woman being elevated by God to equality with the three divine beings of the Trinity.
Nowhere in Old or New Testament Scripture are God’s people instructed to direct their prayers or pay spiritual homage to anyone but God.
Seeking guidance or prosperity from any other spiritual source can lead to spiritual adultery (15) and idolatry (16). Remember, when God allows it, the forces of evil can produce supernaturally-deceptive activity and prosperity (17).
All three Members of the Trinity, having omniscience, can hear and respond (18) to our prayers, but prayers are to be addressed to God the Father (19). Prayers, addressed to God the Father, are presented under the name (authority given by) the Lord Jesus Christ (20). Prayers, addressed to God the Father, are enhanced by God the Holy Spirit (21).
In conclusion, honor God’s human servants, but reserve worship for God.
(1) Ex. 20: 12 (2) Eph. 5: 22, 24 (3) Rom. 13: 1, 3/Eccl. 8: 2 (4) Romans 13: 4 (5) 1 Tim 5: 17 (6) James 3: 1 (7) Acts 5: 40, 41 (8) Luke 14: 26 (9) Matt. 6: 24 (10) Esther 4: 14 (11) 2 Tim. 3: 12 (12) Isa. 42: 8 (13) Mark. 14: 61-64 (14) Acts 3: 12/John 15: 5 (15) Rev. 2: 4 (16) Ex.20: 3 - 5 (17) Matt. 24: 24/Exodus 7: 11/ Luke 4: 6 (18) John 14: 14 (19) Matt. 6: 6 (20) John 14: 14 (21) Romans 8: 26.