AUTHORITY AND LAW

Today, there are a significant number of people, regardless of age, that treats any kind of power with disbelief, even with contempt. If the power, which is defined as an authority or right to control, judge, or to ban someone’s actions, is exercised correctly, will there be a widespread love for power?

The apostle Paul says: “For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? do that which is good, and thou shalt have praise of the same: For he is the minister of God to thee for good. But if thou do that which is evil, be afraid; for he beareth not the sword in vain: for he is the minister of God, a revenger to [execute] wrath upon him that doeth evil. Wherefore [ye] must needs be subject, not only for wrath, but also for conscience sake” (Romans 13:3-5).

The functioning of the authorities for punishing the evil and crime and regulating public life fully coincides with God’s activity for this purpose, so the authority is also called the minister of God for good. But where there is an abuse of power from democratically elected officials, there we can talk about the crisis of democracy or the distortion of democracy.

This is how the US authorities, for example, were up until the 1960s, encouraging racism, discrimination of black people, or the German authorities from the late 30s to the end of World War II, propagandizing Nazism, fascism, and racism.

The apostle Paul speaks of the attitude towards the law by which and indirectly speaking about the position towards the authorities. He says:
“To those under the law, I became like one under the law (though I myself am not under the law), so as to win those under the law. To them that are without law, as without law, (being not without law to God, but under the law to Christ,) that I might gain them that are without law” (1 Corinthians 9:20-21).

The apostle deals with the three situations of law – that are not under the law: those who live without the law; people under the law – those who live by law because of the fear of being punished for the the transgression of the law; and life in law, or, as the apostle says in other words, “ye are not under the law, but under grace” (Romans 6:14).

The person who is under the law is afraid that he will be punished if he committed a crime, that’s why he does not violate the law. But a person in the law or in the grace is not even interested in the existence of the state law or of the Criminal Code because his life is in line with good requirements of the law.

For example, it isn’t necessary for a true Christian that the laws say “you do not commit murder” or “do not steal”, so that he was not a thief or a robber. But the life he lives is good and virtuous, which does not deal with bad deeds and punishments established by law.

Unfortunately, the reality of being under the law is present not only in the lifestyle to keep the state laws because of fear but also in the faithful life, for there are many people who do not commit adultery, do not steal, or keep God’s other commandments first of all for not being punished by God and being burned in hellfire.

Meanwhile, in fact, faithful people must keep the commandments by love for God, must be guided by the commandments of the Lord, as it is the right, moral, and virtuous life.