Sunday, February 7, 2010

God’s Faithful are to Follow the Laws of Men

Sometimes we cannot prevent injustice even to the powerless, unless to circumvent law is in keeping with God's Law. Do things correctly and the change of wrong can be achieved.
There are many places in God’s Word that address the Christian's relationship to the State.

Paul reminds Christians that they must obey the government and respect worldly authority wherever possible.

Every person is to be in subjection to the governing authorities For there is no authority except from God, and those which exist are established by God. Therefore whoever resists authority has opposed the ordinance of God; and they who have opposed will receive condemnation upon themselves. For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil. Romans 13:1-7.

Paul then tells Timothy to pray for those who have authority over Believers that they may live with dignity.

First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men, for kings and all who are in authority, so that we may lead a tranquil and quiet life in all godliness and dignity.
1 Timothy 2:1-2.

Paul encourages Believers to submit to those who rule over them and to be obedient to what is good.

Remind them to be subject to rulers, to authorities, to be obedient, to be ready for every good deed, to malign no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing every consideration for all men. Titus 3:1.

Peter reflects the heart of Paul that Christians are to hold proper respect to all who are in authority.

Submit yourselves for the Lord's sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men. Act as free men, and do not use your freedom as a covering for evil, but use it as bondslaves of God. Honor all people, love the brotherhood, fear God, honor the king. 1 Peter 2:13-17.

However, having said that, there is one overwhelming principle: God's law should be the foundation of man's law.

In Acts 5:29, when Peter and the apostles were forbidden by the Jewish authorities to preach the Gospel, they flagrantly disobeyed that edict saying, "We ought to obey God rather than men. " In any conflict between what God says is right and what the laws of man demand of us, we must be prepared to stand up for God's law at whatever personal cost.
True enough, these Jewish leaders did not represent the laws of Rome, but their traditions of religion held sway over a large population. For this reason Peter stood firm in his desire to follow the directions of God.
We are reminded by the writer of Hebrews that we are "strangers and pilgrims" wherever we live. We must obey the law of the land insofar as these laws do not contradict God's law. We must pay our taxes and honor our Nation’s leadership. However, our citizenship is in Heaven and our loyalty is to Christ Jesus as Lord.

In following the laws of men that are not contrary to the laws of God for man we must remember that by doing so we are more able to proclaim the Good News.

But now in Christ Jesus you who formerly were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ. For He Himself is our peace, who made both groups into one and broke down the barrier of the dividing wall, by abolishing in His flesh the enmity, which is the Law of commandments contained in ordinances, so that in Himself He might make the two into one new man, thus establishing peace, and might reconcile them both in one body to God through the cross, by it having put to death the enmity. AND HE CAME AND PREACHED PEACE TO YOU WHO WERE FAR AWAY, AND PEACE TO THOSE WHO WERE NEAR; for through Him we both have our access in one Spirit to the Father. Ephesians 2:13-18.

Jesus is Lord


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