My extensive thoughts are as follows. Thanks for taking the time. Enjoy.
Acts 5:29 reads: “…Peter and the apostles replied, ‘We must obey God rather than human authority.’ ”
That’s what started this little research project. Peter’s statement that God > Man. To put it in context, Peter and the apostles have just been arrested, and are being told not to tell people about God. Peter replies, as shown above, and it ticks the people in authority off.
There is a fine balance between prudent resistance, and full-blown violent rebellion. The difference is clear. Prudently resisting authority is when the people in charge (at least the ones on earth) tell you to do something you know is wrong, or at least believe is wrong. If you have good grounds upon which to base your resistance, then you have your little resistance.
But, when you disagree with the government, leaders of the church, your parents (that applies to me :-), you can’t just barge into their room/house, guns blazing, and mow them down because you disagree. That’s only allowed in the movies. (Not so much the parents part, but…)
Authority is there for a reason. Whenever a collection of people gets together, wether it be voluntary, in the case of a church, or hereditary, in the case of a nation, or a family, there needs to be leaders.
In our country we get to choose our leader every four years. His name is usually Mr. President, and he serves his country by leading it into battle, around the block, or through tough times.
In the body of Christ there is a pastor, and other elders, that lead the church. In the modern age, where the church has become a building, they may do various tasks from organize the schedule, pay the bills, invent small money making schemes to balance out the winter heating bill, and also guide their brothers and sisters in Christ along their walk with Him.
In the family the Dad is on top of the pyramid, with the Mom coming in a close second. Then you have the kids. The Dad’s job, just typically, is to provide money for the family to eat, be clothed, and drink (water, of course). The Mom’s job (again, typically), is to raise the children. Not to say that the Dad can’t help, far from it, but while the Dad is working the Mom’s in charge.
The Kids’ jobs? Do what the parents say. (I don’t care if it’s unfair! Look it up! It’s in the Bible!) 🙂
With all of this in mind, what should we do when it comes down to God v. Human Authority?
I decided to try and find out.
Let’s figure out who we’re dealing with first. In the right corner!… Standing infinite feet tall, and 12 inches more!…Weighing a whopping infinite number of pounds, plus 16 ounces!… the master of all creation!… The creator of all creation for Pete’s sake!… the infinite!… the master of the universe!… GOD!
And in the left corner! Standing anywhere from 4 feet, to 7 feet, tall!… Weighing anywhere from 100 pounds to 600 pounds!… the created!… the finite!… the very short life spanned!… the appointed by God!… man!
Not much comparison, is there? God > man.
In John (19:11), after Pilate tells Jesus he has the power to release him or crucify him, Jesus says to Pilate:
“You would have no power over me at all unless it were given to you from above…”
That’s a big hint that God is in charge. The fact that people are only in charge if he allows it tells me he runs the show. Score one for God. 1-0
Then, right out of the gates in Galatians (1:1) Paul says:
“This is a letter from Paul and apostle. I was not appointed by any group or by human authority. My call is from Jesus Christ himself, and from God the Father who raised Jesus from the dead.”
Paul is saying his authority to write this letter is real. When Jesus calls and says, “Yo, Paul, I need you to write something for me,” Paul, and everyone else, knows that it’s important.
Because God’s in charge. Score another one for the Big Man. 2-0
Now, let’s check out 1 Peter. If you look up 1 Peter, chapter two, in your bible (or someone else’s bible) then you can see that there is actually a section on Respecting People in Authority. Here’s the section (1 Peter 2:13-17):
“For the Lord’s sake, accept all authority–the king as head of state, and the officials he has appointed. For the king has sent them to punish all who do wrong, and to honor those who do right.”
That last part is similar to what I was pointing out earlier. When any group of people congregates, it needs order. Cities have policemen. Countries have their military. The family has a large man with lots of PSE (Potential Spanking Energy) known as “dad”. So, someone has to be in charge, otherwise there isn’t anything to be in charge of. But, I digress. It continues:
“It is God’s will that your good lives should silence those who make foolish accusations against you. You are not slaves; you are free. But your freedom is not an excuse to do evil [rebel violently, etc.]. You are free to live as God’s slaves. Show respect for everyone. Love your Christian brothers and sisters. Fear God. Show respect for the king.”
First, I would like to point out the part where it says, “You are free to live as God’s slaves. Show respect for everyone.”
Just to put a little bit of practicality in the mix, let’s play suppose.
Suppose you were God’s butler/maid. Your job is to please him, keep him comfortable, and agree with him. Suppose God has friends over (from what I here, God has a lot of friends), don’t you think he would want you to be nice to them? Don’t you think you would automatically respect them anyway? They’re God’s friends after all. So then, since God made, and loves, everyone, then shouldn’t we respect everyone as our superior?
Just something to think about, as we digress again 🙂
Another thing I wanted to point out was the part where it says, “It’s God’s will that you live good lives to silence those who make foolish accusations against you.”
Let’s play suppose again, shall we?
Suppose the government of your country is accusing you of praying. You have been praying, but it isn’t against the law. “Oh, yes it is. We made that law just last night, believe it or not. What a coincidence. I’ll be darned if I don’t have to haul you away to jail right now.”
First, you’d probably laugh in their faces. 🙂 “That’s ridiculous!” you’d protest. “You can’t do that!”
I think Paul’s point here is that regardless of what the other side does, our godly lives will save us. It’s a little packet of Freeze-Dried Goodness. Just add faith, and everything works out okay.
I’d say that just about evens up the score. A two pointer for man makes it 2-2.
While we’re talking about going to jail for God, I looked that up too: (Col. 1:24)
“I am glad when I suffer for you [Jesus] in my body, for I am completing what remains of Christ’s sufferings for his body, the church.”
That sounds like a pretty noble thing to do, doesn’t it? Suffer for somebody else. That is the single-most greatest thing a man can do. And in this case you’d be suffering for God!
So then why would we fight the government if they throw us in jail. We would then be acting as martyrs, would we not? (I know not technically, but in the case of Paul, and many others, eventually. This is a good place to put a plug in for Randy Alcorn’s Safely Home. It’s a good book. Go; read it.)
I think that if you found yourself in this situation, it would be wise to have a little faith. I’m am not saying that I would be able to have that faith, but I think it would be better than struggling.
God works all things for the better. (Psst. It’s me the scoreboard. I think that’s 2-3 man.)
And that’s the half! 2-3 man leading God. Don’t go away! Second half, coming up next.