Garry continued his series on the church of God tonight, looking further at the question of submission, this time our submission to authority. Submission to God is our voluntary response to Him, and His motives are always pure and for our benefit. Our submission to ruling authorities can either be voluntary or compelled.
Key passages on this topic are found in Romans 13:1-7, Ephesians 6:5-8 and 1 Peter 2:18-19. From these, we see the need to submit to ruling authorities, but this idea of submission no matter what the authorities demand is not found in the Bible. In Daniel 3-6, we see people disregarding laws because these impinged on the Hebrews’ devotion to God. Similarly, the apostles said they must obey God rather than men (Acts 5:29); there are instances when to disobey authority is the correct response.
In Ex 1:8-21, we see Pharaoh issuing an edict to midwives to kill all Hebrew male babies. They disobeyed, believing that the sanctity of human life superseded the Pharaoh’s edict. Similarly, the satraps and chief ministers who fooled the king into writing the law that condemned Daniel to the lions’ den could not prevent Daniel from breaking that law; his conscience would not allow him to cease from praying.
Those in authority issue commands, and if these are within what God says, we should obey. This applies to much of our everyday lives (parking rules, speed rules, paying taxes etc.) But there may well come times when we need to disobey the laws of the land in order to submit to the higher authority of God, as citizens in Communist countries such as China have already demonstrated. As our society goes further away from God’s laws, there will be times when we cannot in good conscience obey these and need to take a stand for God against them. Are we prepared to stand for God?