Submit yourself to every authority instituted among men?

I wrote today’s first article last night but was not able to post it until this morning so that is why I want to post this article now. Here is the next contradiction initiated by our atheist friend. You will see the same pattern used again. The man has no clue about context and very little intellectual integrity.

Submit yourself to every authority instituted among men?

Acts 5:29 – Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than men!

1 Peter 2:13 – Submit yourself for the Lord’s sake to every authority instituted among men: whether to the king, as the supreme authority, or to governors, who are sent by him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right.

So let’s take a closer look to see what the intended meaning is and if there really is a contradiction. The Acts passage is spoken by Peter (and the other apostles who were with him). This takes place after Jesus sent out His disciples to “preach the Gospel to all creation”. The disciples were doing exactly what Jesus had commanded them to do. They were filling up Jerusalem with the teachings of Jesus Christ (the Gospel).

28 saying, “We gave you strict orders not to continue teaching in this name, and yet, you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching . . .  (Acts 5)

This is the testimony of those who told the apostles not to preach the Gospel anymore. The apostles (and Peter) were brought before the “judges” once again and warned to stop preaching the Gospel. This is their response

29 But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men.

It is implied here that we must obey God rather than man when the two come in conflict (i.e. the authorities tell you to do something that is contrary to the Word of God). The passage in I Peter 2 helps explain this conversation and is in no way a contradiction. We, as Christians, are to obey authority figures when they come in line with the Word of God. The explanation is in the rest of the verse in 2:13, “who are sent by Him to punish those who do wrong and to commend those who do right”. The authorities are to confirm the Word of God and not contradict It. They are to punish evil and reward those who do well. This idea is of being submissive within the limits of the Word of God is reiterated in the husband/wife relationship and the parent/child relationship. It is found in Ephesians 6:1 written by the apostle Paul.

1 Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.

Children are to obey their parents, as long as their parents are asking them to do things within the limits of the Word of God. If your father or mother orders you to steal or murder, then you do not have to obey them because you must be obedient to the clear teaching of the Word of God. The same applies to wives being submissive to their husbands.

22 Wives, be subject to your own husbands, as to the Lord. (Ephesians 5)

The same way that you are subject to the Lord (obedient to His Word) you have to be subject to your husband. If your husband asks you to do something contrary to the Word of God then you are not to obey or submit.

So, as you can see once again, there is no contradiction in these passages. My question is, “how do you know what God’s will is so that you can obey it?” The answer is found in the Word of God. These are the words of Jesus Christ Himself.

21 “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter.

23 “And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; DEPART FROM ME, YOU WHO PRACTICE LAWLESSNESS.’ (Matthew 7)

1) The will of God is not sin or living a lifestyle of sin.

2) God’s will is not lip service but instead it is the way that you live (actions)

24 “Therefore everyone who hears these words of Mine and acts on them, (Matthew 7)

3) The will of God is hearing the Word of Jesus Christ and putting It into practice (acting upon It).

The plan for getting to know the Word of God well enough to be able to obey It at all times is found in Psalm 1, written by king David.

2 But his delight is in the law of the LORD, And in His law he meditates day and night.

To meditate means “to study, to ponder, to talk about”. Therefore, if you study the Word of God, ponder on the Word of God, and talk about the Word of God then you will be able to know what God’s will is and apply it to your life. May God help us know Him, His Word, and obey.

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10 comments on “Submit yourself to every authority instituted among men?

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