7 Levels of Authority Christians Must Submit To

by | Feb 26, 2020 | Revival

There is much misunderstanding of spiritual authority in the church today. Due to sin and compromise, we have lost sight of what true authority looks like and how it works.

In my new book, Moving from Sword to Scepter, I list seven different levels of authority as described in Scripture and how they impact us as believers. Perhaps if we understood how God intended healthy authority to function, we wouldn’t resist it so much and would begin to manifest the fruit that brings the greatest blessing and benefit.

On Whose Authority? God wants us to know who and what we answer to and why. The checks and balances He has provided in His Word are not only principles for success but also provide the appropriate boundaries for healthy leadership and accountability.

There are seven different levels of authority spoken of in Scripture that can help us prioritize our goals and shape our decisions. The first one is the most important source of authority and carries the greatest consequence or reward. As the list progresses, each level of authority submits to the authority preceding it, thus putting things in proper order of accountability.

  1. God Himself: “I know that you can do all things, and that no purpose of yours can be thwarted” (Job 42:2, NASB).

God is the ultimate and perfect authority over all, sovereign and supreme. He is the same yesterday, today and forever, and we can count on His steadfast love and overriding power to do what He intends.

  1. God’s Word: “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets. I have not come to abolish, but to fulfill” (Matt. 5:17, MEV).

The Word of God is the written account of His eternal law that is inspired, inerrant and without fault concerning His intentions and purposes for us. Every principle needed to live a righteous life and fulfill our creation mandate is provided in Scripture.

These first two levels of spiritual authority never change. They are eternal and immutable. God’s Word “submits” to His own heart and character, and both are foundational to any subsequent understanding of authority.

  1. Our Conscience: “For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me” (1 Cor. 4:4, NASB).

When fed properly by God’s Word, our conscience, our “heart,” holds us accountable to truth. However, if we feed upon negative reports and false information, our conscience will be seared and unable to lead us rightly (see 1 Tim. 4:1-4). It is our God-given conscience that moves our hearts and helps us to know and follow God’s will.

  1. Delegated Authorities: “Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they watch over your souls as those who must give an account” (Heb. 13:17, MEV).

God is the one who calls and appoints leaders (see Rom. 13:1). In our government, citizens affirm that call by voting officials into office. Believers in the church are also to recognize and affirm those whom God has called to serve in leadership. This is not dependent on their likability, but their commission. Unless we are told to go directly against the higher authority of God’s Word, we must seek to respect their roles, pray for their success and follow their leadership.

  1. Contractual Authority: “(Now this was the custom in ancient times in Israel for redeeming and exchanging: to confirm a transaction, a man would remove his sandal and give it to his neighbor. This was a binding act in Israel” (Ruth 4:7).

This kind of authority is given through a written contract, verbal agreement, vow, rental agreement and so on. When “under contract,” we are obliged to adhere to the rules assigned in the contract for the time allotment given. We are called to honor its authority unless a higher authority releases us from the contract.

  1. Positional Authority: “Honor all people. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the king” (1 Pet. 2:17).

This recognizes the various positions of authority that people carry by virtue of their office, responsibility or age. We honor the office of president or pastor simply because of the weight each office carries. We honor military personnel, police and rescue, and other positions that are responsible for our safety and well-being. We honor the elderly out of respect for their journey and our parents because it pleases the Lord. Positional authority is honored and esteemed because of the responsibilities associated with it.

  1. A Particular Gifting: “For you may all prophesy one by one, that all may learn and all may be encouraged” (1 Cor. 14:31).

Spiritual gifts are given by the Holy Spirit as He chooses. When we recognize and honor the gifts in operation, we are recognizing the authority of the Holy Spirit in revealing the Father’s heart and purpose. Where some would like to place this authority higher because of the supernatural aspect of a gift, it must always be tested through the filters of preceding authorities.

Other than the first two authorities of God Himself and His Word, which always outweigh the others, the rest may shift in order of priority depending on the situation.

The principle to be learned is that there is a proper order of authority and accountability. We cannot place any “word of the Lord” above God’s written Word if it is in question. Nor can we lower the role of delegated authorities simply because we do not agree with them. Each level of authority carries a purpose and has its place.

Unless this understanding is taught and demonstrated by kingdom-minded believers, people will continue to make up their own version of what is right and wrong and decide for themselves who and what determines the truth. God’s Word and character will always be the highest level of authority in the kingdom. Let’s pray we can steward it well to set things in order. {eoa}

Wanda Alger has been a field correspondent with Intercessors for America (ifapray.org) and has had articles published with The Christian Post, Charisma magazine, The Elijah List and Spirit Fuel. She is a recognized fivefold prophetic minister with DOVE USA (dcfi.org) and is the author of several books, including Moving from Sword to Scepter: Ruling Through Prayer as the Ekklesia of God. Follow her blog at wandaalger.me


Stay up-to-date with current issues, Christian teachings, entertainment news, videos & more.

The latest breaking Christian news you need to know about as soon as it happens.

Prophetic messages from respected leaders & news of how God is moving throughout the world. 


Kevin Sorbo’s Transformative Encounter as a Teen with Billy Graham

Kevin Sorbo’s Transformative Encounter as a Teen with Billy Graham

Actor Kevin Sorbo is known today for his roles in faith-based movies, like "God's Not Dead" and "Left Behind," but the iconic "Hercules" star's Christian roots took form at an early age. Sorbo recently told CBN's "Faith vs. Culture" he first read the prophetic book of...

7 Forms of Functional Cessationism

7 Forms of Functional Cessationism

In this article, cessationism refers to the doctrine, practice or belief that the ascension ministry gifts and the manifestations of the Holy Spirit ceased with the early church and do not function in the present church age (Eph. 4:11-16; 1 Cor. 12: 4-11). The...

Practical Tips to Maximize Your Time

Practical Tips to Maximize Your Time

We all have the same amount of time—four hours a day, seven days a week. And the longer I live, the more I discover that time is too valuable for us to waste any of it. That’s why it is so important that we learn to live on purpose, for a purpose. The truth is if you...

Enter the Courts of Heaven with Rabbi Curt Landry

Enter the Courts of Heaven with Rabbi Curt Landry

This article was first released by Curt Landry Ministries. Note: This is the first of a two-part series of articles. When you enter heaven's courtroom to do spiritual warfare, you are asking that the will of God, what is written in His books, be released from heaven...

The Spiritual Awakening of Buffalo, New York

The Spiritual Awakening of Buffalo, New York

Monday night, Jan. 2, 2023, God drew our nation to prayer as Bills player Damar Hamlin experienced cardiac arrest on live tv. Could this have been the largest spontaneous prayer meeting in the history of our nation—beginning with players on the field, spreading to...


Dr. Don Colbert: How This Every Day Ingredient is Killing Your Brain

Read Time: 4 Minutes 43 Seconds Of the many artificial sweeteners out there, such as aspartame, sucralose (Splenda), saccharin (Sugar Twin and Sweet’N Low) and neotame (NutraSweet), aspartame is one...
Messianic Rabbi: The Problem with Paul

Messianic Rabbi: The Problem with Paul

Read Time: 3 Minutes 36 Seconds I cannot tell you the number of conversations that I have participated in, or the number of sermons or Bible studies I have heard, where someone made the statement, “The problem with Paul is…” and then the person made a definitive...

Deliver Us from the Spirit of Lawlessness

Deliver Us from the Spirit of Lawlessness

Read Time: 4 minutes 36 seconds If you type in the words “Walmart brawl” or “Waffle House fight” on YouTube, you’ll find hundreds of videos of bizarre altercations between angry customers. They are throwing punches, hurling expletives, kicking each other, pulling hair...

Pin It on Pinterest