(The following is the May 10 devotional from my Next Step Devotions book. Before reading it, I suggest you read Acts 4 and pay close attention to verses 15-20.)
Christians are dual citizens of an earthly home and God’s Kingdom. We may hope the values of these worlds never collide, but they sometimes do. Human laws can contradict what God’s Word teaches. Christians face tough decisions with earthly and eternal consequences when human authorities make demands Christians can’t comply with while remaining obedient to God and his Word.
Peter and John faced this situation when Jewish leaders “called for them and ordered them not to speak or teach at all in the name of Jesus. Peter and John answered them, ‘Whether it’s right in the sight of God for us to listen to you rather than to God, you decide; for we are unable to stop speaking about what we have seen and heard’” (vv. 18-20). They continued to speak boldly and were imprisoned for doing so. When the high priest reminded them of their orders not to teach in Jesus’ name (Acts 5:28), they replied, “We must obey God rather than people” (Acts 5:29).
Paul wrote, “Let everyone submit to the governing authorities, since there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are instituted by God” (Rom. 13:1). Paul was discussing rulers who do good and not evil, but not all governments, rulers, and laws are godly and morally sound. When forced to choose, Christians must make the proper biblical choice of obeying God.
In the unfortunate event that we must disobey human laws to obey God, we can’t assume we’ll escape the earthly consequences of disobedience. We should expect and accept the legal penalties, knowing that our eternal allegiance to the King of kings is more critical than temporary allegiance to any earthly authority.
Are there laws or expectations placed on you by people in authority that conflict with biblical truth? How do you respond? Pray regularly for those in power that they would know Christ and lead in ways consistent with God’s Word. Work to change ungodly laws.