The Centurion, as faithful and loyal officer of Rome, recognized in Jesus a man who had authority from God to heal those who had faith.
Faith is simply acting on what we believe to be true. We take vitamins because we believe they can help us to be healthy. If we didnt believe in vitamins, we would not take them. If we took vitamins, and if we learned vitamins were harmful, we would stop taking them.
We trust what we believe is true. Can we know what is true? In science, we can know certain truths gravity, inertia, actions of electricity, such as motors and communications, for example. Nonetheless most people believe in things which are not provably true reincarnation, astrology, not walking under a ladder, not stepping on a crack in the pavement, global warming (a little political humor).
For my purposes, I am interested in the Bible, whether the Bible is the Word of God, not some mans idea. So, can we know if we can believe the Bible because it is provable is true? Or, do we have to take it by faith? We can and do know. Ill offer several of the many proofs.
The most accepted theory of the beginning of the universe is called the Big Bang, which necessitates a sentient Being, the Creator. Once the Creator formed all the energy and matter to construct a universe, time, the laws of physics and the proper mixture of chemicals assured the formation of the ingredients needed to create life. Scientists tell us that there are some twenty to twenty-five variables necessary to have and maintain life on Earth. Scientist know that life did not appear on Earth by accident because the time required for life to develop without design is far longer than the time the Earth has existed. Besides, life developed suddenly when all the conditions were right to sustain that life.
The Biblical accounts of the creation match what science has discovered about when certain life forms appeared on Earth. The Biblical account of the creation fully agrees with what scientist know about the formation of the universe. And the Biblical account of history completely corresponds with secular history. Further, Biblical prophecy proved unerringly true.
Paul says a proof of Gods existence is looking at the creation on the earth from growing things, animals and vegetables, to everything else, concrete and water.
Yet all these conclusive proofs fail to match the most important one: the proof of the pudding. God says, if we obey Him and do His will, He will bless us in all we do, and many more promises. He gives us proverbs in both Testaments, which will work if used accordingly. God says, Prove me. . .
But obviously, we cannot prove God without knowing what He promises for our trusting and obeying Him.
God promises life. Jesus promises life and life more abundantly. God promises to save us from sin, sickness, and death through Jesus. But we must believe God is able and willing to keep His promises. We must believe that He who created the universe, which cannot be denied, can perform what He promised, is a given. He can. Will He?
If He willingly gave us His only begotten Son to save us, He must want to give us what He promised, conditionally on our faith and behavior. Naturally, for He is love and love gives.
What about our faith; do we believe enough to take the spiritual vitamins, which will bring about the blessings promised?
(See: Mal 3:10.)
Faith and Authority
Remember the Roman Centurion, whose servant Jesus healed. His understanding of authority related to his having the greatest faith in Israel.
Lets see how this works. Who is in charge? The ones with power. The police have their guns and rifles, the airforce their bombers, the army their tanks. How do they get the power and money to have these weapons of power? From the people. We become or remain a citizen of a country, elect leaders, or agree tacitly by not voting, or in an autocratic society people fearfully or for some other reason put up with a dictator or despot. We must remember people get the government they want or will put up with. Our Declaration of Independence puts it this way rulers derive power from the consent of the governed, one way or another.
But the power to rule does not originate from consent. The actual power itself comes from the source of all power, political as well as physical and spiritual God. We may choose or put up with our leaders. Nonetheless, his power comes from God. Whether a leader chooses to act as one who gets his power from God or not, he holds office because of Gods power and authority.
God rules the universe He created. But Adam rejected, better rebelled, against Gods authority. A ruler, even God, cannot rule without consent unless he or He turns His dominion into a giant prison camp and removes all traces of choice and free will from the lives of the people. God chooses to allow those made in His image to rebel against and reject Him, or accept His rule.
So Adam chose a new spiritual ruler in place of God, the Real Ruler of the Earth. He chose the demon, Satan. Adam, himself was the physical ruler. This duo reigned terror and destruction onto the Earth during Adams life and the other leaders following him until the flood two thousand years after the initial rebellion, when God washed the sin polluted Earth from grievous evils. He saved only Noah and his family.
Noah, a wise man, saw the reign of terror the previous rulers aligned with Satan brought upon the world, chose God as his spiritual ruler. Since all human rulers of the Earth, through primogeniture, came from Noah, all rulers, knowingly or unknowingly are ultimately under the spiritual authority of God. Thus God can intervene in any case He deems appropriate. He rarely does because of consent.
When people consent to a ruler who prefers Satan as his spiritual ruler, God usually does not interfere, directly. Remember the Exodus. Pharaoh was the ruler. He accepted the spiritual rule of Satan or one of its minions. God did not interfere with Pharaohs authority by wresting Israel out of Pharaohs grasp. Instead, He brought grievous plagues upon him and the Egyptians. These plagues were actually their idols turning upon them in devastating ways. Finally, Pharaoh and the Egyptians consented to let Israel go free. They consented.
Israel agreed to have God as their God, their spiritual ruler. God set up laws of governance, you know the Ten Commandments and other statutes, to which the children of Israel agreed. Throughout the years, Israel consented to one degree or another, often to a lesser degree, to obey the spiritual rule of God. Eventually, because of their disregard of Gods laws and authority, He sent them into exile only to be restored as a vassal state until the time after Jesus when the nation of Israel cease to exist until the late forties when it regained nationhood.
When the time was right, God begot His Son under the line of King David to be the new king of Israel, in part. Jesus would be Israels new ruler and savior. But Israel did not consent to Jesuss reign and murdered him. That was meant to happen because Jesus had to die for our sins and obtain salvation. Also, God established a New Kingdom for people who consented to the human reign of Jesus under the spiritual rule of God the Kingdom of God.
No earthly nation, as Israel showed, could contain the power and majesty of the human king, Jesus, under the spiritual authority of God, who decreed that Jesus would rule not only Israel, who rejected him, but the world also.
All authority comes from God. The citizens or subjects consent to their temporal and spiritual rulers, good or bad, which God seldom disputes. If we believe God, we must accept Gods authority through temporal rulers. It is an article of faith. We need not fear for God uses these rulers, good and bad, for the good of His believers.
(See: Isa 1:19, Gen 22:18, 26:5, 1 Sam 15: 19-22.)
Our Relation to Those in Authority
The theme that all authority comes from God impacts on our relation to earthly rulers. Good or evil, right or wrong, they are to be obeyed. The Bible explains.
Pharaoh enslaved a freely invited and free people living in Egypt, the Israelites. His actions and the ones of the subsequent Pharaohs were certainly unjust and may have violated some Egyptian codes of justice. Nonetheless, the Pharaoh was the law. Being a demigod, his word was command. Thus, the Israelites became abject slaves consigned to hard labor for some four hundred years. They feared and hated the Egyptians even as they fell sway to their pagan satanic influences and practises.
When the time was right, God selected Moses as His instrument to set His people free. Oddly, to many, who believe in righting wrongs by rebellion, God disappoints them, for He did not have Moses head an insurrection. Why? Because Pharaoh had authority from God and the consent of the Egyptians. The Israelites were subject to Pharaohs rule. He must free them willingly, which he did. The point being that Gods people must subject themselves to even evil rulers and trust God (have faith) to take care of them through all rulers, good and evil.
Jesus obeyed the Jewish leaders and Roman rulers even though their decisions and acts were illegal, as I pointed out above, according to their laws. They could not execute Jesus for any crime; he never committed any. They had to murder him. Jesus never even confronted their illegal actions; he meekly obeyed to the point of death.
The sacrifice of the Lamb and the faith in Jesuss blood brought us freedom from the tyranny of the spiritual ruler of the Earth Satan. Until we trust the blood of Jesus to free us from sin, we remain enslaved to Satan. We cannot foment an insurrection against the demon, only God through Jesus can set His people free, like the Exodus.
God set Israel free from a satanic rule by faith in the blood of the lamb. God sets Christians free from Satan by faith in the blood of the Lamb of God.
We, thus, prove our understanding of Gods Word and trust His judgement by faith in Jesuss blood when we accede to the physical rule of constituted authority. There are two important exceptions: 1. No authority can stop us from proclaiming the gospel. Whatever the penalty, we obey God rather than man. 2. No authority can force us to bow down to any demonic idol or break the commandments. Naturally, our crime might be punished, which we must accept, if God does decree it. All things happen for good for those who love God and for Gods purposes. He will ascertain our ability and need for such a stringent cross, and also give us the strength to handle it.
But God gives us simpler tests. Let us say, and we can all relate to this, some police officer gives us a ticket for an infraction. Let us say we are guilty all well and good. We have no real complaint, except Americans innate distrust of government and those enforcers of that government.
But let us say we are not guilty of what we are stopped for. What then? Why that rotten cop! How dare he! It was just a policeman changing the timing of a signal light! Why those revenuers! Remember, for a Christian, everything happens for a good purpose. So why would God instruct one of His minions of the law to stop us? What do we have to learn by this? What would Jesus have done? We have to check our attitude. Are we showing an attitude of rebellion? It certainly rankles our American sensibility. Yet, how do we show respect or lack of it to the officer, for they are very sensitive to their position of authority, even the bad ones? Our attitude can often determine whether we get a ticket or not, deservedly or not. Even if we choose to fight the ticket, which is within our rights as a citizen of the USA, what attitude will we present to the judge, who is even more sensitive to his position of authority?
God would seldom have us be judged wrongly in any instance without some reason, a good reason, a lesson needed to be learned or a little straightening of our attitudes especially toward authority.
God knows our attitude; He sees into our hearts. If we have a latent rebellious attitude, God will determinedly exorcise that attitude in whatever manner He deems fit. Everything happens for a good purpose.
There are other positions of authority we have to contend with besides those in government. A boss is to be treated as if he were Christ. Some people have a hard time with that because of Americans attitude to stupid or nasty bosses. These rich guys are just out to exploit us and make a lot of money off of us. At least with bosses, we can always change jobs. But will our new boss be any better, if we are the problem? You can see Gods hand in this also.
Then in this age of feminism, it is difficult for some bright, talented women to accede to the authority of their husbands. But the husband, like all others in authority, gets his authority from Christ.
James tells us in all cases not to judge others. It is idolatry because judging, except for those put into that civil office, is the sole province of God. When we take on Gods judicial authority upon ourselves, we are contending with Him and putting ourselves in His place.
All authority comes from God. If we cannot show proper respect and obedience to those in authority, right or wrong, whom we can see, how can we show proper awe, respect and obedience to God whom we cannot see? Gods laws and authority, we know are good and just so it is easy for some to acknowledge him. But all in positions of authority, whether they exercise it properly or not, still receive authority from the One we love and revere, the Ruler Himself, the Great God.
Our faith depends upon it, as you will see.
(See: Rom 13:17, 1 Pet 2:13-17.)
God hates rebellion and quashes it; there are numerous examples in Exodus. Gods love for us makes sure that He rids us of all rebellious attitudes, words and actions, for our rebellious attitudes precludes our having faith, or faith in great strength.
He calls rebellion as evil as witchcraft and divination, these ultimate evils of Satanism. To rebel against God, and His constituted authority, indicates a tie to Satan, which we do not even want to think about. To stubbornly resist authorities is idolatry Satan worship. Scary, isnt it?
Other scriptures call the rebellious: companions to thieves, treacherous people, complaining malcontents, perverse influences over others, presumptuous, untrustworthy, and disobedient. These depend upon their own insight instead of God.
God will bring to light any seeds of rebellion. For he who resists authority, resists God. Rebellion prevents our faith from becoming active. James tells us whatever is not done in faith is sin.
Even history shows the evils of rebellion, as opposed to Gods way of extracting of Israel from Egypt. Julius Caesars assassination turned the empire into turmoil and civil war and established the god-emperor dictatorships with mystery religion leading to Constantines corruption of Christianity. The effects of Lincolns assassination are still being felt after a hundred years as far as race relations, states rights, and the balance of powers are concerned. The IRA still has England in fearful readiness. The list is as long as history. Rebellion destroys people, constituted authority, and faith.
We must rebel against rebellion.
(See: 1 Sam 15:23, Isa 1:23, 48:8, Num 20:24, Deut 1:26, 43, 9:20, Pro 3:5.)
for the Sabbath Christian Church