Hebrews 13:17–19 (ESV)
Sacrifices Pleasing to God
17 Obey your
leaders and submit to them, for they are keeping watch over your souls, as those who will have to give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with groaning, for that would be of no advantage to you.
Pray for us, for we are sure that we have a clear conscience, desiring to act honorably in all things. 19 I urge you the more earnestly to do this in order that I may be restored to you the sooner.
17, where it states “Obey your leaders and submit to them”, it is talking about your present religious leader. This is awkward for me to write about, because what this is saying is to obey your Pastor and Church Leaders and to submit to them.
I will have to throw in a caveat, that is to make certain he is holding true to the Bible and not clinging to the ways of the Lord. The Apology to the Augsburg Confessions states: “20 They also quote the statement (Heb. 13:17), “Obey your
leaders.” This statement requires obedience to the Gospel; it does not create an authority for bishops apart from the Gospel. Bishops must not create traditions contrary to the Gospel, nor interpret their traditions in a manner contrary to the Gospel.
When they do so, we are forbidden to obey them by the statement (Gal. 1:8), “If anyone preaches another Gospel, let him be accursed.” [AP: XXVIII, paragraph 20, The Book of Concord]
This puts a great
weight on the pastor, but a weight that becomes a joy when the people receive the Gospel.
I pray: O Lord, guide me in my studies to remain true to your Word and let me serve with joy, especially when
the sheep receive your Word with joy. Amen.