Natural Born Rebel, by Tom Sloan
OCTOBER 12, 2017
As a teenage son of fundamentalist missionaries, I had a big problem with authority.
I have always been a black sheep, never finding the means wherewith to ¨submit¨ to the jurisdiction of those in command. It seems as if everything in me has always bucked the norm, the standard—that which was expected of a ¨normal¨ human being. There is this egocentric maniac in my nature that selfishly resents that which would attempt to subjugate me. Proud, rebellious and angry—these are the words that best describe me. Warnings don`t work, threatenings fuel my stubborn resolve and I have experienced that the way of the transgressor is hard. Having observed those around me, happily prospering as a result of submission to their authority, I aspired to concede to some form of power somewhere that would not scorn me in my quest to ¨fit in.¨ After many years of searching, I finally concluded that if being accepted meant allowing one`s self to be controlled, then I would never be loved. I came to understand that I didn`t need an authority; I needed a Sovereign.
Ironically, after searching for that just-right authority and not finding it, it came to me, softly and tenderly. And it was one that fit me perfectly—that of the risen Christ. As a natural born rebel, this is the only authority that my insubordinate heart has been able to recognize. My soul has no choice but to follow when I hear His words. Being dragged down the road of life shackled by the chains of rebellion is a tiring proposition. But Jesus says: ¨come unto me and I will give you rest.¨ I willingly submit to the authority of Jesus because I know that He has delivered me from the curse of the Law. I give Jesus the keys to my heart because I know that He will never abuse His authority. Jesus did not come so we could better keep the Law; He came so we could accept His love. Christ came to set the captives free. In this context, who has more authority, the oppressor or the Liberator?
Mark 1:22 And they were astonished at his doctrine: for he taught them as one that had authority, and not as the scribes.
The religious rulers of Jesus` day derived their authority from the heavy yoke of the Law. They did have authority, but it was an oppressive one. The people were astonished at Christ`s doctrine because He taught as one that had authority and not as the manipulative religious rulers. Why was Jesus considered as the one having authority and not the Scribes? Christ`s authority was squarely founded upon His meek and lowly heart. Christ uses His power in heaven and in earth to enforce the right of passage for sinners to His grace. This power defies the condemnation of all believing rebels. It aids and abets the morally bankrupt, the bitter, the distressed, the discontented dissenter. He learns that no other authority exists like—I will have mercy and not sacrifice.
Psalms 68:18 Thou hast ascended on high, thou hast led captivity captive: thou hast received gifts for men; yea, for the rebellious also, that the LORD God might dwell among them.
Can God be sovereign in the life of a rebel? What does God do about rebels? He dwells among them and brings them gifts. God knows that there is something special about rebels, something indomitable. For this reason, once the rebel has seen that he is violently loved by his Creator his rebellion is taken as loyalty to his Master. His lawlessness was the cocoon that birthed him into the glorious liberty of the sons of God and he perceives that he was created for this. He knows that a place has been set just for him at the banqueting table of the One whom he once deemed as his bitter enemy. And he rests, knowing that it is ok to be a rebel. His humble rebellion is vindicated by Emanuel, the God who chooses to dwell with him.