The teaching of the Judeo-Christian worldview flatly contradicts this societal trend of overall disregard toward authoritative figures. The New Testament enforces peaceful submission, not rebellion in the name of some alleged Christian liberty. Scripture exhorts believers to respect and obey government, provided that the specific laws enforced in a particular context do not violate the commandments of God (Acts 5:29; Romans 13:1-7; Hebrews 13:7). Quite simply, authority is the power to enforce rules or make decisions. It was established by God. He is the ultimate source of all law and order. Therefore, a person who claims to be anti-government is in a very real sense also retaliating against the Lord. A leader acting corruptly in an office does not prove the existence of that position to be evil, anymore than the mishandling of a rule in itself proves it to be wrong. Being authoritative does not translate into being authoritarian. This is not a matter of being forced into blind, unquestioning submission. What we should be on guard for is the abuse of various laws and the wrongful possession of the offices designated to enforce them. Inequitable laws need not be adhered to, since they involve cruel and unjust treatment. Just as authority can be mishandled, so it can be applied correctly.
The purpose of authority is to uphold and protect the freedoms of the individual. The purpose of authority is to regulate order, which may also include the punishing of criminals. Rules are not meant to suppress and coerce, but rather are applied so as to protect and serve. In a natural state, government is not something that a person should fear, insofar that he or she has nothing to hide. The existence of earthly authorities is evidence of human civilization not being utopian. It is evidence pointing to the sinful nature of man. If we were not defiled by sin, then there would be no need for the appointment of earthly heads. Nevertheless, all authority is to be subjugated to the divine authority of God. The aforementioned details describing the proper role of authority are applicable to all different types of authority, regardless of whether they be local, regional, or national. Authority should be respected. Authority should be honored. Authority derives its value from God. We should not loathe our leaders, but rather be praying for them on a continual basis. If we were to adhere to the moral precepts set forth by the Ten Commandments, our nation would surely not crumble. What sensible person would object to a society that operates on the golden rule (Deuteronomy 6:5; Leviticus 19:9-18; Matthew 22:37-40)?
If there were no figures of authority existing in our sinful world, then how could peace be maintained? People warring amongst each other will only result in hopeless anarchy. Neither would it be wise to give the majority supreme authority, since doing such would inevitably lead to the ruthless persecution of minority groups. God is our supreme authority, who has graciously revealed to us His objective moral standard. His laws are a reflection of His character. Authority figures are supposed to uphold His truth, not invent additional decrees. Being in a position of authority means being in a position of greater responsibility. If a person literally has the freedom to act in accordance to his or her own whim with no binding restrictions, then that is not freedom. That definition is an utter distortion of the concept. Freedom demands self-control. Freedom is conditioned by morality, and therefore cannot exist in a morally subjective worldview. Governments cannot function in a logically consistent relativistic framework, and would therefore serve no purpose. It would be illogical to even have laws in a morally relativistic framework. Authority was originally instituted by God. It is meant to preserve the integrity of His truth and His morals.
The purpose of this paper is to explain what constitutes rightful authority, its purpose, and importance. God instituted authority to enforce rules, and so preserve our liberties. It is designed to maintain peace and order. It is designed to serve. Authority is designed to work for the best interests of the people. Governments are to be obeyed, as long as the commandments of God are not contradicted. Us fulfilling our call to holiness is a public display of how God wants His kingdom on earth. We should be quick to show love, mercy, and kindness. We should be living consistently with our profession of faith in God (Ephesians 6:6-9). Our freedom is protected by just laws, which are to be enforced by just authorities. There is a distinction between legal and lawful. This is all a consequence of mankind's sinful condition. God, the King and Lord of us all, has revealed to us laws with the intention of ensuring protection and peace. Whatever spiritual battles that we may end up fighting with the principalities and powers of this world should not discourage us from wanting to enter into the fullness of God's presence eternally in paradise.