When God created the universe, He set up a principle for it. Archangels and angels are under God, and when God created man, He placed man under His authority too. God has the highest authority.
At a meeting for a fellowship in Hangzhou, the keynote speaker talked about "The Authority of God." The meeting discussed how men can know the authority of God and live a life subject to that authority.
The speaker began with the betrayal of God by angels and man, His own creations.
In the first example, he began with the archangel Lucifer, who was the most beautiful, capable, and wise amongst the angels created by God and how he eventually betrayed his creator. He was not satisfied with being the highest of the angels and wanted to replace God. In his heart, he said, "I will ascend to Heaven. I will raise my throne above the stars of God. I will sit on the mount of assembly, on the heights of Zaphon. I will ascend to the tops of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High." (Isaiah 14:13-14)
"The betrayal of Lucifer was a challenge to the authority of God. He wanted to replace God, and the result is that he became Satan, the enemy of God and man. One third of the angels followed him in his betrayal and these fallen angels are called 'demons' or 'evil spirits.' Satan took these fallen angels and set up a world against God and His kingdom. Ever since, there have been two nations in the universe: the Kingdom of God and the world of Satan."
Every creation submitted to God's authority before Satan's betrayal, and they lived according to this principle. But Satan introduced the law of rebellion. "I do what I want and I don't obey you" is how the rebellious treat God.
Man's rebellion towards God
According to the book of Genesis, God made Adam, the first man, and set him up in the Garden of Eden. Then God made Adam a wife named Eve. The arrangement was for Eve to submit to Adam as Adam submitted to God.
Satan planned to instill the spirit of rebellion into man, and his first target was not Adam; but, Eve. Satan tricked Eve into eating the forbidden fruit and betraying God. After that, Adam ate the forbidden fruit too. The Bible mentions that Eve was deceived; but, Adam was not. He chose to betray God with Satan and said in his heart, "I do what I want to do."
Sin entered the world due to Adam's rebellion, and it passed to his descendants and to the world. Therefore, rebellion became a law in man's heart.
God made commandments, created nations and gave man authority to oversee the law after the flood. "He did this to protect man," explained the speaker. "The nature of man is sinful and rebellious, and there is no way to control it without some form of governmental authority."
It was God who set up death penalty; because He wanted man to see the severity of taking another's life. God told Noah, "Whoever sheds the blood of a human, by a human shall that person's blood be shed." (Genesis 9:6)
God later chose Abraham to be the father of many nations. He wanted a nation amongst the rebellious peoples to be subject to Him. We all know that Abraham was a great man of faith, as well as one who submitted to God's will. God said to Abraham, "For I have chosen him, that he may charge his children and his household to keep the way of the Lord by doing righteousness and justice." (Genesis 18:19)
The Israelites were descendants of Abraham and the chosen people of God. God's purpose was for His people to submit to Him and establish His authority on Earth. He also desired that all nations on Earth would know Him through the Israelites, but the Israelites turned out to be rebellious as well. God had to rebuke them many times. Eventually, God allowed their country to be destroyed because of their rebellion. Those who lived became slaves, and were scattered around the world.
Jesus Christ submitted to God
When the time came, God sent His own Son to the world. He came to be a sacrifice for the world's sin, and to rebuild the people's submission to God. Jesus said, "For I have come down from Heaven, not to do my own will, but the will of Him who sent me." (John 6:38)
Jesus Christ is God. He shared the same glory and authority as the Father prior to coming to Earth, but He gave up that glorious position and became a humble man on Earth. The Bible says, "Who, though He was in the form of God, did not regard equality with God as something to be exploited, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a slave, being born in human likeness." (Philippians 2:6-7)
"Jesus is a person who submits to God completely," the speaker said. "He never went against God. When He was here on Earth, He never resisted God's authority. The principle of His life was submission." Jesus said "He has not left me alone, for I always do what is pleasing to Him." (John 8:29)
Jesus prayed in Gethsemane when He considered bearing our sins on the cross. "My Father, if it is possible, let this cup pass from me; yet not what I want but what You want." (Matthew 26:39)
There is nothing in the universe more amazing than that the Son of God submitting to death. The Bible says, "He humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death - even death on a cross." (Philippians 2:8) Because of this, the Father raised Him from the dead to the highest throne in the universe, as it is said in the Bible, "Therefore, God also highly exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name." (Philippians 2:9)
Jesus Christ was given all authority on Earth and in Heaven. He has become the head of a new people: God's children. Christians should imitate the way He lived according to submission.
What is "a life of principle?"
The speaker spoke on two points. "There are two principles in this world. One is the principle of Satan's rebellion. The other is the principle of Christ's submission. Everybody lives according to one of these principles: either rebellion or submission."
The first principle, rebellion, is "I want it my way."
"The basic principle of the world is rebellion." The Bible mentions that "In which you once lived, following the course of this world, following the ruler of the power of the air, the spirit that is now at work among those who are disobedient." (Ephesians 2:2) This spirit is the spirit of Satan which shows rebellion towards God and His Son. The second Psalm also recorded this attitude: "The kings of the Earth set themselves, and the rulers take council together against the Lord and His anointed."
"This resistance to God and His authority represents absolute lawlessness. The Bible says that the world will become more and more lawless as the doomsday approaches." The speaker also mentioned that "Many who profess Christianity never confessed their sins. They continue to live according to the principle of rebellion. These people will not be accepted by Christ." Lord Jesus said, "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the Kingdom of Heaven, but only the one who does the will of my Father in Heaven. On that day, many will say to me, 'Lord, Lord, did we not prophecy in your name, and do many deeds of power in your name?' Then I will declare to them, 'I never knew you. Go away from me, you evildoers.'" (Matthew 7:21-23)
The second principle, obedience, is "let your will be done."
The basic principle of the children of God is obedience. "We need to lift up the authority of God." Everyone was rebellious and disobedient before salvation, but God's grace allows Christians to live with the principle of obedience. Jesus Christ was the best example of this instance. He was so obedient that He died on the cross. With His death, God completed the salvation of man. Now Christ lives within Christians, just as it is written in 2 Corinthians 13:5, "Examine yourselves to see whether you are living in the faith. Test yourselves. Do you realize that Jesus Christ is in you?-unless, indeed, you fail to meet the test."
Christians have the strength to obey because Christ is in their hearts. However, that obedience is still not automatic, just as it wasn't in Jesus Christ's life. Lord Jesus chose to live according to the principle of obedience, and man must imitate Jesus Christ and follow that principle too. The Bible says, "Let the same mind be in you that was in Christ Jesus." (Philippians 2:5)
Translated by: Grace Hubl