3 (for rulers cause no fear for good conduct but for bad). Do you desire not to fear authority? Do good and you will receive its commendation, 4 for it is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be in fear, for it does not bear the sword in vain. It is God’s servant to administer retribution on the wrongdoer (Romans 13).
Authority is meant for our good—“it is God’s servant (deacon, yes, deacon)” for our good. for without authority in this world there would be nothing but anarchy and chaos. “Wrongdoers” would have free reign for their mischief, for nothing would be there to stop them. This is easily demonstrated every time a teacher leaves a classroom—it doesn’t take long for things to unravel!
I cannot read this without images of State Patrolmen and flashing lights in my mind. Without my cruise control set on a legal speed, I drive with the fear of being pulled over for speeding, and the feeling of sheer dread floods my soul whenever I spot a patrolman parked and in position to pounce upon me. Yet, with the cruise control on and operating, directing my automobile at legal speeds, whenever I spot a patrolman parked on the side and laying in wait, I pass him with calmness and confidence, knowing he is my friend, not my enemy.
Lord, we thank You for the authority placed over us in our lives. And, again, on This Day, help us who wield authority in Your church and in our families—to do so with love and wisdom. And may those whom we oversee, see us as friends—and not enemies. Amen.