God is the ultimate authority in the universe. Therefore, all authority derives from Him. Jesus said to Pilate, who thought he had power to decide whether Jesus dies or lives, “Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above…” Jn.19:11 It made the corrupt Roman ruler feel very uneasy.
We all know that a church elder cannot come in someone’s home and start disciplining their children, it would be overreaching into a family’s sphere of authority. Same thing happens when the state starts providing welfare for the poor and the sick, or taking children away from parents based on any pretext. Every sphere of authority has its prerogatives and its sanctions. The church’s highest sanction is excommunication. In a family, the highest punishment is corporal punishment (when children are small) and disinheritance. The state has the ultimate sanction, which is capital punishment, (Romans 13) and that is why it must be held in check most diligently, to keep it from misapplying that punishment.
Understanding these spheres and their role is the foundation of the American system, and confusion in this area brings many evils into society.
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