Published April 14, 2015

Paul's Epistle...
"Obey God Or Man?"

No laws made by man can change in any way the laws of God.

That thought struck me the other day as both simple and profound — and eminently true. But you wouldn't know it by what you see happening around us in society these days.

We are going through an unprecedented time of change in our culture. We can't say we weren't warned. As you'll recall, "change" was a rallying cry and promise made by the current national administration to get elected in the first place. And "changes" have been many. For Bible-believing Christians, most of those changes, as they touch matters of faith, are clearly unwelcome.

At no time in recent memory has there been such an assault on God's moral laws by lawmakers on all levels. And a majority of these laws – which not only enfranchise non-Christians with newly-minted "rights" not previously known while harming Christians by limiting their rights – are driven by portions of secular society that clearly have no regard whatsoever for God's laws.

Recently the news was full of accounts of how legislators and the governor of Indiana passed a "Religious Freedom Law" so that religious freedoms would be safeguarded by making it more difficult for government to intervene when religious rights were challenged. But, faced with unprecedented threats, boisterous demonstrations, outrageous demands, harsh economic sanctions, critical knee-jerk national news coverage, etc., etc., etc., they quickly back-peddled. Other states hastily re-evaluated their own similar laws. To misquote a famous 17th century line, "Hell hath no fury like gay activists scorned."

But cultural pressure, public opinion polls and even new laws will not change God's view of things. God's word – as presented in the Bible – is the original and final arbiter and determiner of truth. No laws that man can write will ever change that. Just because something is called "legal" by our government doesn't mean it's right in God's eyes. If God says something is an "abomination" and man's law says it's just fine, whose opinion would you choose? You do have to choose, you know.

Again: No laws made by man can change in any way the laws of God.

In the United States, there are 535 Senators and Representatives in Congress. In the 50 states, there are 7,383 state legislators. And there are untold numbers of local governments. The primary job of all of these individuals is to make laws. And they keep busy at it. But not one of their laws can change God's laws which have been in place for mankind for thousands of years.

But that doesn't stop legislators from trying. Do they really think they can pass laws that will change God's will? Can they hope to change the One who Scripture says is the same – yesterday, today and forever?1 The One whose Word is eternal? How arrogant. How foolish. But most of these people don't believe in God anyway, so, for them, it's a non-issue. (Come to think of it, that's the definition of "fool." See Psalm 14:1 and 53:1.)

But it gets worse. Secular governments, reflecting a degenerating secular society, are one thing. But churches? Churches!? An unprecedented number of churches – even entire denominations – are selling out to secularism. Churches are splitting. Denominations are splitting.2  They are compromising with the world, turning their back on Christ, or even "reinventing" Him in a way that fits their preconceived secularized agenda and goals. Christ warned that because "lawlessness will abound" in the last days, "the love of many will grow cold" (Matt. 24:12). We're seeing this. They are wholeheartedly buying into lies, inspired by the "father of lies" (see John 8:44). And in so doing – let's be clear – they are setting themselves above (and apart from) God. "Churches?" What could they possibly be thinking?

If news accounts are accurate, so much of the church that Christ bled and died for on the Cross seems to be abandoning Him. We are told that when we get to heaven, the Lord will wipe all tears from our eyes.3  But, the way things are going, He may have to start by wiping His own.

Daniel chose God's law over man's law and he wound up in the lion's den. But God delivered Daniel. (Daniel 6.) Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego chose God's law over man's law and they wound up in the fiery furnace. But God delivered them, too. (Daniel 3.)

True, the Apostle Peter calls on us to "submit ... to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake" (1 Peter 2:13). And Paul tells us to be "subject to the governing authorities..." (Romans 13:1). This is certainly still true. But this presupposes that government's rules enforce Godly principles. This was once the case, as seen in the USA's founding documents. William Penn, the Quaker who founded the colony of Pennsylvania, once gave this advice to rulers: "If thou wouldst rule well, thou must rule for God, and to do that, thou must be ruled by Him." Perhaps this explains much of what we're seeing today — because Penn's advice obviously is not being followed.

What happens when God's law and man's law conflict? What happens when prescribed actions are mutually exclusive and irreconcilable? When Peter, himself, and other apostles were hauled before the authorities who demanded to know why they continued preaching about Jesus after being ordered not to do so, Peter simply but pointedly replied, "We ought to obey God rather than men" (Acts 5:29).

The time is soon coming – and is already here – when Christians are forced to choose between man's law and God's law. Obviously, to choose properly, you must know what God's law is by carefully studying His Word. Then pray earnestly for understanding. Remember Paul's admonition: "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind..." (Romans 12:2). Then, having done this, the choice should be quite clear.

- Paul

1. Hebrews 13:8
2. The National Black Church Initiative, which represents 34,000 churches from 15 denominations has declared it has severed ties with the Presbyterian Church USA after that group amended its constitution changing the definition of marriage to include same-sex couples. Christian Post, March 28, 2015
3. Rev. 21:4

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