Friday, August 28, 2020

The Head of All Things

"And you have been given fullness in Christ, who is the Head over every power and authority" (Colossians 2:10)

The headship of Christ over all earthly powers and authorities also contradicts a pervasive heretical tendency seen throughout church history. Many have felt that because Christ is their King, they need not recognize lesser powers. In part, this notion has been involved in various “drop-out” sects that have arisen time and again in church history. It is found as the justification for wives not submitting to their husbands, and it has been used at various times to justify civil rebellion.

The biblical perspective, however, is quite the opposite. It is precisely because Christ is the Head of all earthly heads that we can submit to earthly heads. Whether or not they realize it and admit it, Christ directs and rules all husbands and all civil powers. It is far better, of course, for these rulers to submit willingly to Christ—better for them and better for those they rule. Whether they submit willingly or not, however, the fact is that they can do nothing except what Christ allows them to do.

How does that square with the fact that we see so many tyrannical rulers and parents in the world? The answer is that such persons are allowed by Christ to be scourges to those under them, just as God raised up the Assyrians and Babylonians to be scourges to His people, Israel. When we please the Lord, He will give us good rulers. Until then, we are to submit to the chastening rods He has put in power over us.

This does not mean we must obey everything they tell us to do. The biblical doctrine is that we must disobey them if they command us to do something that is sinful. We are not free to reject them when they sin, but we are required to disobey them if they command us to sin. Thus, for instance, we must submit to a government that allows abortions, but if that government commands us to take part in one, we must refuse.

Further, Christian social theory argues that if a lesser authority, ordained by God, refuses to obey an order to sin, those under his authority may join with him; and the lesser authority may lead his people in physical resistance to tyrants if they try to force him and his people to sin.

It can be disheartening to realize that those who oppress us are ordained to do so by God. Such an understanding, however, should lead to repentance and gratitude for such a gracious reminder of the need to repent. Take comfort in knowing that God remains on His throne and rules everlastingly.