This sounds like such a simple and easy statement, doesn’t it? I feel most certain that most people who profess faith in Christ will quickly speak up and say that our God is our ultimate authority! However, the brutal truth is that our actions speak far louder and clearer than our words!
Let’s take a little time and search the scriptures for the “correct” answer. Many people are going to be surprised by the first facts presented in God’s infallible word, the 1611 KJV bible!
We will start with one that I have quoted many times myself. This one verse seems to answer the question of obedience once and for all in every aspect of the question, “who do we obey?” Acts 5:29 states, “then Peter and the other apostles answered and said, we ought to obey God rather than men”. That settle it, right? Yes, in one area, but further study is needed in other areas. For example, Romans chapter 13 and I Peter chapter 2. Let’s take a deeper look into His word!
In the case of Acts 5:29 you will find that the opposition to what Peter and the others were teaching was not the civil powers, but rather the “ecclesiastical” or church authorities. You may be thinking, well why would the “church” powers be upset with the preaching of the “gospel”. (Acts 5:17-42) I would have to say, for the same reason many “churches” are upset with the sound doctrine of God’s Word today! It upsets their belief structures and threatens their “hold” on the people that are following their “pernicious” ways and damnable “heresies”. Pernicious — Strong’s Greek No. 684, “Ruinous, destructive and damnable”! Heresies – Strong’s No. 139, “disunion, sect, self-willed opinions!” It also cut into their “profits”! Vs. 3. So, in the first area of the question, we are looking into church leaders, conferences or detrimental teaching that are not to be obeyed if contrary to God’s word! Of course the apostles were taken out and beaten for their defiance and disobedience. They went away rejoicing because they were counted worthy to suffer shame for His name! To obey men in this case damns the people to destruction! Heb. 13:17 instructs us to obey righteous ecclesiastical authority because the righteous spiritual leaders know they must give an account for the souls they are responsible for. My friends,that is a HUGE responsibility!
Now, let’s examine a few scriptures that are used often by people who haven’t studied God’s Word throughly enough to discern His will. (II Tim 2:15) We will start with Rom. 13:1-7 Most that read verses one and two will say, “See. There you are! We have to obey Caesar, i.e. government!” Almost none will read any further to see what Paul was explaining to those who take the time to study the passage. Let’s take a look. This explanation will be brief.
It is obvious that Paul, who was writing the epistle to the church in Rome from prison, was not telling us to obey unrighteous laws and edicts of man’s government! He wrote this in prison because he would not obey godless government’s laws and disobey God! He goes on to explain what government should be! Please note in verse 3 that government should not be a terror to people who do good works, but rather a deterrent to the evil done by evil men! He went onto say that if you are a righteous individual doing good works, you should have no need to fear “Godly” governments! Righteous government has the “power” i.e. authority from God to enforce His moral laws!
Verse four tells us that Godly magistrates is a minister (deacon) of God to punish evil doers. Up to, and including the death penalty.
Verse five through eight instructs us to be subject to these “just” authorities, not out of fear, but rather for conscience sake. Verse 6 says to pay lawful taxes to support God’s ministers who attend continually on supporting a moral society. Verse seven to render to all their dues which simply means duty or debt. Custom means an import or levy. Fear meant to respect “righteous” authority and to “fear” punishment” for evil doers. Honor means esteem and respect.
Now you have been able to read the true meaning of Romans chapter thirteen. Really simple to understand with a little study, isn’t it?
Another scripture used to justify being passive and compliant to evil authorities is I Peter 2:13-16. Please take the time to carefully read these verses. Peter, who was crucified upside down for breaking an evil civil authority’s corrupt laws, is saying exactly the same thing as Paul did in Romans thirteen. We are to obey because the kings and governors were sent by God to punish evildoers and to praise them that do good, verse 14! Are you beginning to see the full picture now? It truly is very clear, isn’t it?
Here is a list of righteous men and women who challenged unjust and unrighteous laws and rulers! Also listed are the scriptures where you can read for yourself that man’s law systems (government) are not to be obeyed above God’s Word, i.e. law system! Even to the point of deception to protect innocent life!
Ex. 1:15-20, Jos. 2:1-2-7, Dan. 3:4_18, Dan. 6:10-13, Acts 5:17-42.
Brothers, sisters, friends and all others, whether you “want” to believe God’s Word or not doesn’t change the truth! Literally millions have been imprisoned, persecuted, prosecuted, whipped, beaten and even murdered, (martyred) for the cause of righteousness in obeying God over men!
You have to decide for yourself who you will obey! The sooner you make the decision, that no matter what the cost, you are going to obey God, the easier it will be! Remember Romans 6:16. Your soul depends on it!
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