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Kim Davis stuck by her conviction that marriage is between a man and a woman only, all the way to jail. And God has honored her stand by moving the judge to release her. Praise God! He has heard and answered the prayers of His people for her. So, did Kim Davis do the right thing by standing for her religious liberty—liberty that says the U.S. Supreme Court is wrong in their decision to “redefine” marriage? Is it Biblical to resist civil government, or should we always obey the civil law? The Bible does teach us to be respectful of governmental authority because God created government. And often we hear, “We are to obey the laws of the land.” This is generally taken from 1 Peter 2:13, which says,
“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme; or unto governors, as unto them that are sent by Him [that is, by God] for the punishment of evildoers, and for the praise of them that do well.”
But, does this tell us to “submit” to law that does not agree with the Bible? Absolutely not! This sentence teaches us that government law is for the purpose of punishing “evildoers”. Therefore, we are to submit to the law if it punishes “evildoers” and praises “them that do well”. We are not to submit to it if it does anything else! In another message we’ll discuss how to be reasonable with our disobedience and patiently work to change bad law. For now, let’s find out if it can ever be right to disobey the law. The answer to that is a resounding “YES”! And the Bible is filled with examples of those who did disobey the law and were commended by God for it!
The New Testament identifies Moses’ parents as disobeying the King of Egypt’s law that all baby boys had to be killed. Hebrews 11:23 tells us that “they were not afraid of the King’s commandment” and preserved Moses’ life. They disobeyed civil law and were praised for it—in both the Old Testament and the New!
The midwives who disobeyed Pharaoh’s same command were commended by God for not killing the boy babies. God gave them their own families as a reward for their disobedience to a bad civil law! (Exodus 1:17-21)
I personally think Jesus disobeyed civil law when He refused to answer Pilate during His trial before the Roman Governor. And, remember, the Bible tells us Jesus was “without sin”. It is not sin to disobey bad civil law.
Peter and John disobeyed the religious and civil authorities of their day when they were told not to speak anymore in the Name of Jesus. Their answer to the authorities was, “We ought to obey God rather than men”. (Acts 5:29)
America’s Founders carefully studied the Scripture to know if it was ever right to disobey civil law. They determined, as William Blackstone, the great English jurist, had said concerning civil law’s relationship to the teachings of the Scripture:
(Christianity & the Constitution, p.58 ; J. Eidsmoe)
Our Founders wrote the Declaration of Independence to express this belief. After stating that the rights of “life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness” come from God (and that civil government was for the purpose of protecting those rights) they then stated:
“…that whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government…”
So, does there ever come a time to disobey civil government? ABSOUTELY! And, insofar as religious liberty is concerned, that time is NOW!
Think about it; because if you don’t, someone else will do your thinking for you—and for your children! And you won’t like what that brings to you. I’m Don Pinson; this has been Think About It.