Day 21: A More Civil Obedience

Acts 4:19-22 :

But Peter and John answered them, “Whether it is right in the sight of God to listen to you rather than to God, judge for yourselves, for we can’t help telling the things which we saw and heard.”

When they had further threatened them, they let them go, finding no way to punish them, because of the people; for everyone glorified God for that which was done. For the man on whom this miracle of healing was performed was more than forty years old.

As Christians, we are to submit to the governmental authorities, but there is a limit to it as we see here.

The only honest thing for Peter and John to do here is to continue to help people by telling them about Jesus as they were commanded to by God, but the authorities told them to do just the opposite. Peter and John used a very logical argument in response to the order, one that we should also use to determine when it is appropriate to go against our authorities. Peter asked the authorities to consider that they were speaking in opposition to the highest authority: God. This is how we should also determine when to be disobedient. If the authority over us is being disobedient to their authority and is expecting us to go with them in their rebellion, we need to be responsible and continue to follow the appropriate higher authority. As you can see, this is not rebellion at all, but the most civil kind of obedience under these circumstances.

This is also how I answer the problem of spouse abuse. There is not provision for any kind of abuse of a spouse in the Bible. Never is this tolerated by God and any person who does it is acting in direct rebellion to God no matter how many Bible verses they know. It is true that the Bible tells us that a wife is to submit to her husband, but it is important to not leave out the words “in the Lord.” Only a husband who is under the authority of the Lord Jesus is to be followed this way. If a husband asks a wife to do something outside of the authority of Jesus Christ, it is to be disobeyed. There are multiple examples of this in scripture.

May God help those who are being persecuted under rebellious authority and may God help those authorities who are submitting to God’s will to be made strong and help those who are weak.

Government: This is the basis for the American revolution. The Americans realized that the English government was acting outside of the authority of God by limiting the liberty of the citizens, removing some of their God-given rights. I am told that many Americans were loyal to England but when their rights as Englishmen were being removed and their families abused, they realized that what God had rightfully given them was being taken away. Americans today need to remember that government can become a force of rebellion against God and at times like these, it must be opposed in order to remain under the authority of God.