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One of the basic principles a society must uphold is the respect for authority. Respect for authority is the great regulator of life. Suppose we had no norm or standard by which to live, and no set power, authority or judgment to direct us, what would be the outcome?

It would simply be catastrophic. People cannot live together and survive without some rules and regulations to guide them. Suppose all were at liberty to do whatever we wanted without any regard or respect for anyone else? Could such a society as that function at all?

We live in a world in which our very existence cries out for some recognized authority we can look up to and live by.

Let me suggest, there must be:

1. Respect for the authority of God. “It is He that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are His people, and the sheep of His pasture” (Psalm 100:3). This God who made the world and all things therein is said to be “the Lord of heaven and earth” (Acts 17:24). God then is the ruler of heaven and earth. He is in control.

2. There must be respect for the authority of Christ. When Jesus finished the Sermon on the Mount, the record says, “The people were astonished at His doctrine (teaching): for He taught them as one having authority” (Matthew 7:28,29). Christ spoke with authority and He acted with authority. Christ’s authority was given to Him, from God, His Father (John 5:26,27). Will you respect the authority of Christ and do what He has commanded that we do?

3. There must be respect for the authority of the Bible. If Christ’s Word will judge us in the last day, that Word must be most authoritative. Christ is the Word that was made flesh and dwelt among us (John 1:1,14). It is through His Son that He speaks to us (Hebrews 1:2). Give some attention to 2 Timothy 3:16,17, which teaches us that the Bible is all that we need to make us complete. No further revelations are needed.

4. There must be respect for high powers. “Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God. Whosoever therefore resisteth the power, resisteth the ordinance of God: and they that resist shall receive to themselves damnation” (Romans 13:1,2). As a society, we must be subject to those that are ruling over us.

5. There must be respect for the authority of the home. Ephesiains 6:1-4, teaches us that children are to obey their parents because it is right, and fathers are not to provoke their children to anger. God has ordained the structure of the home so that it will be blessed. There are homes in our day that have no set of values, honor and respect. Children are also to honor their father and mother. Do we see this in our society?

What respect for authority do you have? It might be that you are showing respect for authority on earth, but failing to show respect for the authority of heaven. The problem in our day seems to be a real lack of recognizing authority. Give it some thought.

Eddie Cooper is a retired minister for the Washington Street Church of Christ in St. Albans.

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