Be Submissive to Rulers and Authorities

In Titus 2, Paul taught about godly behavior toward each other and the impact of that behavior to unbelievers. In Titus 3, Paul taught about godly behavior toward all other people in general. In Titus 2, Paul addressed groups of believers in the church—older men, older women, young women, young men, slaves, and leaders. In Titus 3, Paul addressed all believers in the church.

I’ve outlined this section in three major parts—(1) The Reminder about Godly Conduct (vv. 1-2); (2) The Reason for Godly Conduct (vv. 3-7); and (3) The Result of Godly Conduct (v. 8).

Titus is to remind all the believers in the churches in Crete. Paul had already taught them about it previously. But they need to be reminded again. That is one of our tasks as Pastors and teachers of the Word. We must keep on reminding believers about the things of God.

Paul told Titus to remind the believers to do seven behaviors.

First, be submissive to authorities. “Remind them to be submissive to rulers and authorities” (Tit. 3:1). The word “submissive” (hupotasso) means “subordinate.” (Gingrich) It means, “to submit to the orders or directives of someone.” (Friberg) In the passive voice, it means to submit oneself (Tit. 2:9). The “rulers and authorities” refer to government officials.

Paul wrote in Rom. 13:1, “Let every person be subject to the governing authorities.” Then in vv. 6-7, he wrote,

6 For the same reason you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing.

7 Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed.

The paying of taxes is a form of submission to the authorities.

I worked for 20 years in a Fortune 500 company in the Philippines. I received a fat salary. But I also paid large taxes. The company deducts it before we receive our salaries. Many complained that we were paying big taxes, while corrupt government officials steal our money. We pay big taxes while we do not see economic progress in our country.

Yet we pay our taxes because we want to honor God first. God commands us to submit to the government; and paying taxes is a form of that submission, regardless of the performance of government.

More, submission is the opposite of rebellion. We should submit to the authorities and not rebel against them. We can protest but we should not take up arms. Christians cannot in good conscience join any movement that seeks to overthrow the government violently.


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