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Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Doing Right in the Midst of Wrong: Obeying God Rather than Man

And when they had brought them, they set them before the council. And the high priest asked them, saying, “Did we not strictly command you not to teach in this name? And look, you have filled Jerusalem with your doctrine, and intend to bring this Man’s blood on us!” But Peter and the other apostles answered and said: “We ought to obey God rather than men. —Acts 5:25-27

Chaos occurs when there is the absence of order. Order is established by implementing the timeless principles of God’s Word to a situation. Kingdoms have come and gone. But the Word of God shall remain forever (Matthew 5:18). How can we institute the inerrant truths of the Word of God to the governance of our societies in order to produce the types of results that would produce the results that the Bible promises? Do we pick and choose the laws we want to use? How should we respond? This leads us to the age old question: What do we do if the laws of the land are contrary to the Word of God? How do we reconcile this situation? There is a very simple answer to this, but it will take courage and integrity to sort it all out and implement the changes necessary to transition our society to a more freedom-based and Biblical standard.

Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.-- 1 Corinthians 11:1

We are never to forget that we must obey those that are in authority over us, i.e., parents, teachers, police officers, community leaders, etc (Hebrews 13:17). However, it is important to note that the authority that they have been given to rule over us ultimately comes from God. Do we ever have the right to circumvent that line of authority if those that rule over us abuse their God-given authority? The above-mentioned Scripture gives us a clear answer: we are only obligated to follow Christ; so those leaders that are following Christ can expect those that he/she is leading to follow him/her.

I had some discussions with some people recently and I questioned them about some historical people and events. There have been people in history that broke the law of the land, but these people were catalysts for positive change, and were fighting for a morally good cause. The question is: Were these people wrong for what they did, since they broke the law of the land? The following is a small list of people and events to which I was referring:

  • Slavery was legal in the USA. But was Harriett Tubman wrong for freeing the slaves via the Underground Railroad?
  • God is a God of love and compassion. Was Jesus wrong for whipping the moneychangers and throwing them out of the Temple?
  • God's people are supposed to obey civil authority. Were the three Hebrew boys wrong for disobeying the King and not worshipping the idol?
  • It was against the law to speak out against the king. Was John the Baptist wrong for publicly declaring that Herod shouldn’t be involved in immoral sexual acts?
  • It was once illegal for an African-American person to sit in the front seat of a public bus. Was Rosa Parks wrong for refusing to move to the back of the bus?
  • It was against the law for anyone to disobey the laws of the British king. Were the Colonists wrong for fighting back against the British Crown in order to win their independence?
  • Jesus broke the law by healing someone on the Sabbath. Was Jesus wrong?
  • The Nazis were exterminating millions of Jewish people. Should the German people have obeyed the Nazis and turned in the Jewish people to the Nazi regime?
  • Were the Jews wrong for not telling King Herod where the baby Jesus lived?
  • Finding answers in science is a good thing. But should we let the Government do whatever it wants? Were the Willowbrook State School and the Tuskegee experiments moral?
  • If unjust laws exist, should we exercise or surrender our right to protest/petition our government for a redress of our grievances?

Abe Lincoln declared “government of the people, by the people and for the people shall not perish from the earth.” The US Declaration of Independence states: whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. See, it is up to us (the common citizens)! We can’t just rollover, play dead and accept whatever is given to us. The Law of God has been established, and if our elected officials don’t want to line up with the true principles of Law, then the Declaration of Independence has given us the recourse to abolish and re-establish Government as we see fit. The Laws of God trump all laws of man.

As I stated in the opening portion of this writing, we ARE NOT obligated to follow unlawful laws. Unlawful laws are in effective, not even laws at all. They must not be allowed to be implemented as law, and any unlawful law on the books-SHAME ON US!!!!! Again, we are only obligated to follow laws that come from God and in line with what He has already said. It doesn’t matter who the authority is, we are only obligated to follow God’s Word/Authority. There might be some natural consequences to bear for not obeying man’s laws, i.e., jail time or death. But we (as a nation of people) have let things gone too far the wrong way, and it’s time for things to be corrected. We need to stand up and stop pretending that we are accomplishing the Will of God. Today, when someone stands up for the truth, that person was either ostracized or looked upon as some strange voice in the land. Well, a voice that stands for truth was commonplace when this nation was established. Over time, however, we have slowly let the moral fiber of this nation erode under the guise of tolerance and social acceptance. What a cop out! We are not called to compromise our faith, convictions and standards; we are called to be the standard bearers.

People who blindly obey are like sheep being led to the slaughter. We should be obedient and honor God’s Word (which is a good thing). But we honor the authority set above us, by doing so in line with the Word of God. What many people don’t realize is that authority is not a Carte Blanche blanket privilege to invade my privacy and be a dictator in our personal life. A pastor has authority over the congregation at the church; the police have authority to enforce the civil laws if people break them; parents have authority over their children until they are adults; teachers have authority over their students at school, and that’s as far as it should go. We are sovereign individuals, but if we don’t know that, then we must take what those who rule over us give us. Folks, please don't be reactive to tyranny, be proactive to liberty. Live well!


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