Thursday, May 4, 2017

Civil Disobedience!! In the Bible no Less

In Sunday School we were discussing 1 Peter and in chapter 2 we hit upon that classic issue (also in Romans 13) or submitting to governmental authorities.  Keep in mind that Peter wrote this epistle from PRISON, whilst Nero was emperor of Rome.  Yes, that Nero.

Paul writes of Nero's government,
"13 Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether to a king as the one in authority, 14 or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the praise of those who do right. 15 For such is the will of God that by doing right you may silence the ignorance of foolish men."

Yes, but Nero?  You gotta be kidding!

Well the mere mention of this in Sunday School and a hand goes up.  But should Christians NOT speak out against moral wrongs?

Good question.  We would clearly encourage Iraqi Christians NOT to recant their faith and thus cooperate with ISIS "authorities".

Acts 5 comes to mind immediately, doesn't it?  Peter and John are thrown into jail.  An earthquake frees them, and they go back to what got them thrown into jail.

"The high priest questioned them, 28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and intend to bring this man’s blood upon us.” 29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men."

Or maybe you thought of Daniel 6. "Now, O king, establish the injunction and sign the document so that it may not be changed, according to the law of the Medes and Persians, which [g]may not be revoked.” Therefore King Darius signed the document, that is, the injunction.
10 Now when Daniel knew that the document was signed, he entered his house (now in his roof chamber he had windows open toward Jerusalem); and he continued kneeling on his knees three times a day, praying and giving thanks before his God, [h]as he had been doing previously."

Here are two clear instances of NOT obeying authorities!  What's up with that?

Look back at Acts 5:19-20

" But during the night an angel of the Lord opened the gates of the prison, and taking them out he said, 20 “Go, stand and speak to the people in the temple the whole message of this Life.”  

Aha, a direct command of G^d trumps everything else.  Scripture lays out clear GENERAL behavior, but as Jesus himself noted to the Pharisees, there are plenty of exceptions to General commands.  In Matt 12, Jesus mentions the exception to Sabbath "rules".

 It would seem the key issue is the state of our heart.  We sin in disobedience to G^d's word, and we sometimes obey in disobedience to G^d's general commands.  

But where is our heart?  Are we following the L^rd or kidding ourselves.  Who are we serving?

Answering those questions sincerely seems to clear up the matter.

Oh well.


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