Friday, August 10, 2012

When it is RIGHT to DISOBEY!

In my blog posting from yesterday we looked at Romans 13:1 which tells us that "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."  We answered three foundational questions from this verse:

WHO is being spoken to?  Every follower of Jesus!

WHAT are they to do?  Be in subjection to the governing authorities!

WHY are they to do this?  Because all governing authorities are established by God!

But there is one specific exception in Scripture to this general principle and that is when a law or command given to us by a governing authority would require us to disobey God's Word.  lease note - the exception is not simply when we don't like or don't agree with a law.  There are many laws I do not like and don't agree with but living by them does not require me to disobey God's Word.  Let me give you some examples of this from Scripture.  I hope you will take the time to look up all of the passages I list,

In Exodus 1:7, Jewish midwives disobeyed Pharoah's command to kill all male Jewish babies.  This resulted in God blessing these midwives.

In Daniel 1:12-15, Daniel and his three Hebrew companions refused to disobey the dietary laws of the Mosaic Law when they were taken captive into Babylon.  This resulted in God blessing them.  By the way, I find it very important in this text that even though these men refused to obey their governing authorities they still showed respect for them.  They respectfully "sought permission" for an exception and referred to themselves as the commander's "servants."  If only we who are followers of Jesus today could learn to still show respect even when we disagree with others.

In Daniel 3:16-18, Daniel disobeyed King Darius' decree to pray to no one but the King, and as a result, Daniel was blessed by God.  Again it is worth noting that Daniel showed no malice toward the King in doing so.  Even after the King has him thrown in the lion's den and Daniel survives, he declares to Darius these words, "O King, live forever" (v21).

In Acts 4:19-20 and Acts 5:28-29, we see that Peter and John disobeyed the leaders' of Jerusalem's command not to speak about Jesus.

Let me summarize:

First, the general principle of Scripture is that every follower of Jesus is to be in subjection to our governing authorities (even if we didn't vote for them) because all governing authorities are established by God.

Second, The only exception to this principle is when our governing authorities pass laws that would require us to disobey God's Word.

Third, even when this happens we should still show an attitude of respect and humility - not malice or anger.

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