Honoring One’s Relative Authority
All those in positions of oversight must take stock of their own faith and realize that they are appointed to serve, not to command. They should be cautious about interfering in the faith of another, or demanding unquestioned allegiance and obedience. Otherwise, they may find themselves opposers actually against God.
“Therefore, in the present case I advise you: Leave these men alone! Let them go! For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.”
– Acts 5:38-39
The directions given or teachings rendered by religious authorities should be administered by those who understand fully the responsibility of oversight and their relative authority. As long as they remain fallible, imperfect and subject to change, they must bear in mind the cost of stumbling one of the little ones or the ‘least of those’ (Matthew 25:40, 45) over whom they have authority.
“Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me. “If anyone causes one of these little ones—those who believe in me—to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.”
– Matthew 18:4-6
Those taking the lead must have deep respect for those who willingly give attention to their relative authority and must always be mindful not to infringe upon personal choice and the allowance of spiritual freedom that the Father has so freely given all. They must remember that the Spirit of Truth was poured ‘upon every sort of flesh’ (Acts 2:17), not just the ones taking the lead, according to the capacity of each one to understand. What a blessing and honor to have at our side the Father’s perfect channel, His flawless helper, and His infallible comforter.
A proper view of their relative authority will give birth to a mutual and sincere search for absolute truth. That approach in and of itself breeds humility for both the authoritative figure and the willing and attentive student as each person understands that he will render an accounting for his actions in connection with the Kingdom. As a result, a spiritual brotherhood arises where the fruitage of the spirit and the law of the Christ reigns supreme in the hearts of all who submit to his God-given absolute authority.
The Father has granted absolute authority over the affairs of man to his son, Christ Jesus. Jesus has not delegated that authority to any man or body of men. Jesus continues active and involved in the lives of those who honor him. (Matthew 18:20; 28:18-20) The highest regard that the Father’s children can give to the Father is to recognize the difference between relative and absolute authority, knowing that absolute always trumps relative whether in government, in the work place, in the home, or in the congregation. And they must demand and give only relative loyalty and obedience to men and organizations if they are to honor the Father's perfect will and purpose.
To all who honor the Father in this way.