Obeying the laws of man
Weekly Bible Study #20
This week I want to talk to you about laws. As we all know God gave us His own laws to obey, but we also have authorities placed over us on this earth. Does God want us to follow these earthly laws or does he want us to rebel? Lets see what God’s Word has to say about it, starting in the book of Romans.
1Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. 2 Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. 3 For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. 4 For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. 5 Therefore you must be subject, not only because of wrath but also for conscience’ sake. 6 For because of this you also pay taxes, for they are God’s ministers attending continually to this very thing. 7 Render therefore to all their due: taxes to whom taxes are due, customs to whom customs, fear to whom fear, honor to whom honor.
Here God clearly tells us that we are subject to our governing authorities and if we owe taxes we should pay them. Many times I’ve seen people use the Bible or being a Christian as a justification to ignore laws that they don’t agree with or as an excuse. While its true that many of our worldly laws are not Biblical and often times not fair, the fact remains that they were placed over us a governing authority so by disobeying or ignoring these laws you are in effect disobeying God.
The only time I can personally see an exception to this is if a law was passed ordering us to bow down to another or commit a sin. But it is something to think about that even when speeding you are technically disobeying God, this can also take us back to the topic of being an example for Christ by following the law.
1Remind them to be subject to rulers and authorities, to obey, to be ready for every good work, 2 to speak evil of no one, to be peaceable, gentle, showing all humility to all men.
Again this kind of illustrates the same thing again but for me it brings to mind how people will bash any given US president because they don’t like them. Its fine to not like or agree with a president but we must keep in mind that they have been placed over us and as such we should give it our best shot to honor and respect them, just not above God of course.
Another caveat though that is not related to this is back when President Obama was first elected I used to shake my head when I hear of people say “don’t vote for him, hes the anti-christ!”. For one, he isn’t and secondly I always thought it was a bit counter-intuitive to tell people not to vote for someone for that reason. Because we know the anti-christ will come into power, it is prophecy and will happen no matter what. If it had turned out that any candidate was the anti-christ I highly doubt “not voting” for them would prevent prophecy. The way I always saw it, if that was the case and we didn’t vote for them then one way or another, by a miscount or other means they would still take office in order to fulfill prophecy. I just thought I’d take a moment to share that thought with you as it has always amused me.
Now I have one more passage for you from the book of Luke. To set the scene for context, here we have the Pharisees trying to craftily ask Jesus questions so they could arrest him
20 So they watched Him, and sent spies who pretended to be righteous, that they might seize on His words, in order to deliver Him to the power and the authority of the governor.
21 Then they asked Him, saying, “Teacher, we know that You say and teach rightly, and You do not show personal favoritism, but teach the way of God in truth: 22 Is it lawful for us to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”
23 But He perceived their craftiness, and said to them, “Why do you test Me? 24 Show Me a denarius. Whose image and inscription does it have?”
They answered and said, “Caesar’s.”
25 And He said to them, “Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”
Can you say that you are obeying all authority?