Submit yourselves for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men. 1 Peter 2:13
In 18th-century Austria a special award, the “Pour Le Merite” (for Merit), was given to soldiers who had won signal victories by disobeying military orders that were obviously wrong. It was recognized that there were situations in which soldiers, in order to be good soldiers, had to fall back on their own intelligence and sense of personal responsibility.
In the lives of people today instances can occur when laws and rules have to be disobeyed to be obedient to the higher law, the law of God. More than a generation ago, in a European country, a government came to power that followed the “might makes right:” principle, wantonly imprisoning and executing citizens who opposed its edicts. The victims, some of them Christians, accepted the consequences of their conscientious objections; they refused to act contrary to the moral laws of God. They followed the example of Christians in the Roman Empire who would not worship Caesar as God, even if the demanded act of loyalty was only taking a pinch of incense and offering it to Caesar.
“We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29), said the apostle Peter when the religious authorities in Jerusalem demanded that the apostle no longer teach and preach in Jesus’ name.
Christians stand by that principle today. They refuse to be disloyal to Him who died for them and rose again, Jesus Christ, whose name is above every name and who is to be confessed as Lord and Savior.
Jesus was not a revolutionary. He doesn’t want His followers today to be disobedient for the sake of disobedience, or to be objectors when there is no proper ground for it. His position is clear, and workable: “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:21).
PRAYER: Lord God, guide all who are in authority in home, school, community, and at work to order what is right. If they fail, give me the courage to dissent. Amen.
(Devotions from "With Jesus Every Day" copyright 1997, CPH. All Rights Reserved. No part of this publication may be printed, reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without prior written permission of Concordia Publishing House. Permission is granted for one-time emailing of this link to a friend. For information on other devotional material, please contact CPH at 800-325-3040 or visit CPH at www.cph.org.)
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