Contrary to our natural, negative perceptions of “authority”, God’s perfect and good authority in Jesus Christ is the outworking of His holy love. And the goal of His love and authority is to promote mankind’s greatest pleasure and joy in His glory. Thus to submit to God’s authority is to taste of His love and goodness, and to know true life in Him. And to rebel is to reject that same love, goodness, and life. This is why Peter, throughout his first letter, is continually exhorting believers with statements like, “…as obedient children…be holy in all your conduct” (1:14-15); “…be subject for the Lord’s sake…” (2:13); “…honor Christ the Lord as holy…” (3:15); “…entrust [your] souls to a faithful Creator while doing good” (4:19); and “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God…” (5:6).
Jonathan Leeman offers these thoughts: “What a hellish lie has made humans despise the idea of authority! Divine authority grounded in holy love does not sap and steal the truly human from the human – just the opposite. It creates the human, and it authorizes the human to participate in, or mimic, that which is most satisfying – the divine life. The call to obedience is nothing more than a call into the pleasure of consciously imaging a perfect God. The rule of God’s love, his call to obedience, is a commissioning – a great commissioning. God equips us with all the tools of consciousness and creativity that we need to image him; he hands us the planet and then he authorizes us to go about living, loving, building, singing, conquering, investigating, caring, and speaking in such a way that his glory is manifested and displayed.” (from The Church and the Surprising Offense of God’s Love, Crossway: 2010, pg. 145)
Beloved, what great mercy God has poured out upon us in the Lord Jesus Christ! Though we were rebels and under His just wrath, he has forgiven, cleansed, justified, reconciled, and restored us under His holy, good, loving authority! Submission to him – his commands, and his will in our circumstances – should be our greatest delight, as ever more deeply we “taste and see that the Lord is good” (Ps. 34:8; 1 Pt. 2:3)!
How I love you in the love of Christ!