Acts 5:27-32 :
When they had brought them, they set them before the council. The high priest questioned them, saying, “Didn’t we strictly command you not to teach in this name? Behold, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching, and intend to bring this man’s blood on us.”
But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men. The God of our fathers raised up Jesus, whom you killed, hanging him on a tree. God exalted him with his right hand to be a Prince and a Savior, to give repentance to Israel, and remission of sins. We are His witnesses of these things; and so also is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”
In my lifetime and in my culture, I have heard quite a bit of talk about why we should not go around feeling guilty. This is a very true statement when spoken to a Christian. We shouldn’t go around being guilty after our guilt has been taken care of, however, if our guilt has not yet been taken care of, it is the only right thing to feel.
Guilt is very important because it is required in order to become a Christian. Have you noticed how often the apostles bring up the murder of Jesus? This subject stands out in our passage today because it is usually not a good idea to accuse the judge in a courtroom of murder, but that is what the apostles did here. They must have believed that guilt was a very important thing to communicate because they did it over and over.
Right after being warned by them not to keep bringing “this man’s blood on us,” they reminded them that it was the God of Israel that they have violated by killing the one He has greatly glorified. Then they go a step further and imply that the reason that they don’t have the Holy Spirit is because the don’t “obey him.”
Some people argue that people who talk like this deserve persecution because they always guilt people into God. The problem with this argument is that it avoids the problem of sin. When you focus on the one who makes you guilty it distracts you from focusing on your sin and possibly admitting it. Without knowing your guilt you cannot go to heaven and you will die the death of a guilty one if it isn’t dealt with. Eventually, all of us will feel our guilt. Now is a better time to feel it because there is a chance of being saved. Later, it will be too late.
You can see that they were not just making people guilty. They put their own lives on the line when they did it. They also told them about the solution to the problem. If the solution was left off or if the guilt was being used to improve their own lives at other’s expense, then there might have been a legitimate cause for an accusation against them. In this case, it is quite clear that they were obeying “God rather than men.”