"Then Jesus came to them and said,"All authority in Heaven and on earth belongs to me," (Matthew 28:18 NIV (c)1984).
God also owns everything in world and all who live in it.
"The earth is the Lord's and everything in it; the world and all who live in it," (Psalm 24:1 NIV (c)1984).
God then delegates authority, responsibility, and wealth to people and institutions. What? Well, let me explain. God is the owner of everything and we are His stewards. We take care of His property for Him. The best biblical illustration of this is the parable that Jesus told in Matthew 24:45-51 where the master of the household puts a servant in charge of his household, possessions, and other servants while he goes away on a trip. When the master comes home, he will reward or penalize the servant based on the servant's care of others and behavior.
God places us in charge of his people and possessions. We are his stewards, accountable to him for the job we do in caring for what is entrusted to us.
The reason we have private property is that God entrusts what belongs to him to people. One of the Ten Commandments is "Thou shall not steal" (Exodus 20:15). That commandment alone justifies private property. You cannot steal from someone unless some sort of wealth or property belongs to the person.
We cannot take what belongs to someone else and we are accountable for God for how we handle the property He has entrusted to us. Again, we are stewards of His property.
Delegation of Authority/Stewardship of Authority
Just as God's delegated property to people, He has also delegated authority to people and to institutions run by people. Heavenly authority is delegated to the individual, the family, the church, and the government. Authority is given with a job to do. A father has authority over his family because he has the responsibility to provide for his family and raise godly children. He has just enough authority to get the job done!
The individual has authority for self-government. He controls his speech, behavior, and choices. He is accountable to God. His responsibility is to obey God's laws, but makes the choice whether he will obey or not. That choice will lead to personal consequences.
The family has authority to raise children to serve God, educate children, and provide for family's financial needs. Families have God-given autonomy to make decisions about how they will live and raise their children. Again, God holds families accountable, especially fathers.
The church has authority from God to fulfill the Great Commission (see Matthew 28:18-20) and extend grace to the church and the lost world. Churches have authority to proclaim the Gospel and teach the Word of God. The church alone has the authority from God to collect and distribute wealth. Remember, though, that wealth is collected from volunteers. God has not given the government the authority to collect and redistribute wealth.
God's Delegation of Authority to Government
God delegates authority to maintain justice to the government. Not a world-wide government, but sovereign nations. The Lord role for the government is to reward good and punish evil.
"Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you For he is God’s servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God’s servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience," (Romans 13:1-5 NIV (c)1984).
With the responsibility to make and keep just laws, comes authority. How easy it is to abuse this authority. It is a wise government official who remembers he is a servant of God. It is a wise citizen who holds his or her government leaders in check.
Government is a dangerous servant and a fearful master. The power of government leaders needs to be kept in check. That is why America's Founding Fathers put checks and balances into the Constitution.
Government exists to protect the freedom of individuals. We often talk of the "left" and the "right" when we are talking about government systems. But, with fascism on the right and socialism on the left, all I see is total government control.
The balance we really need is the balance between total government control on one side and anarchy on the other side. The United States of America started with a great balance between total government control and anarchy, but over the past 100 years has moved dangerously close to the side of government control.
The Bottom Line
Why are we accountable to God? Because He made us. He owns everything and has all authority. The Lord entrusts authority and responsibility to mankind. We are accountable to Him for how we use His wealth and authority.
Merey (Meredith Ludwig Curtis)