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Examine Scripture

1 Peter 2:13-14

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The Laws of Man…

What does Scripture tell us about the laws of man?

“Be subject to every human institution for the Lord’s sake, whether it be to the king as supreme or to governors as sent by him for the punishment of evildoers and the approval of those who do good.”  -1 Peter 2:13-14, NAB

As we read this verse, Peter tells us that we should follow the laws and government for where we live.  Some might be surprised by that.  While we must follow God’s law, of course, we should also follow the rules and laws of our government.

The first thing that many will ask is whether we should follow laws that are in opposition to the laws of God.  Without question, God’s law takes precedence.  If, for instance, the local law states that you should worship a false god, you must not follow, but most laws are common to both.  Both Christian and human laws tell us that we should not steal.  Both Christian and human laws tell us that murder is wrong.  If anything, Christian law, especially compared to today’s moral decline, is more strict than human law.

Of course, just because something is acceptable to human law, it does not give us the right to do it if it is against His law.  Abortion may be legal by our law, but it is not in the eyes of God.  Gay marriage laws are being passed in many states, but it is still against basic Christian teaching.  So, while we must follow the laws of man, when possible, we must always follow God’s law first.

If God’s law supercedes human law, then what was Peter’s point?  His intention was for us to be an example for those around us.  As Christians, we have discussed how the world is watching us.  If we show complete disregard for the law, the world will notice.  They will begin to think that we feel we are above the law.  By following the laws of man, we are showing good moral discipline that comes through a life of faith.  Meanwhile, if we do not follow the laws of man, we are a poor example of the impact faith has on our lives.

At times, you may feel laws are wrong or pointless.  I admit that I often push the limits of the local speed limits.  Have you ever considered the speed limit a “guideline” and not a law?  Well, admittedly, it is something that we should all work on.  Even by disobeying the most trivial laws, it shows a lack of discipline, and our faith should bring a discipline that shines a light on God’s glory.  The laws of man may not seem important, but the example we set for others is.  

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