Romans 3:31 Do we then make void the law through faith? God forbid: yea, we establish the law. (KJV)
**Obey the law of the land as long as it doesn’t conflict with God’s law.
Read Mark 12:13-17 Jesus upholds the law of the land, the right of taxation.
Read Matthew 12:9-13 Jesus heals on the Sabbath, which was considered unlawful by the Jewish Community. Jesus defends his actions by stating that it is lawful to do good on the Sabbath. (or Mark 2:27 The Sabbath was made for man, not man for the Sabbath.)
These are two examples of times when Jesus upheld or overcame the law of the land as God dictated. The only way to understand when you should uphold the law of the land, or set it aside is to live in faith closely with God. You should be in contact with God through prayer, and God will guide your conscience to make the correct decisions.
Think of some issues in society where the law of the land is in direct conflict with God’s law. Examples are Abortion, Capital Punishment, Gay Marriage, Pornography. As Christians we need to remember that we are living under God’s laws first and foremost, but that other people who are not calling themselves Christians are not living under God’s laws. We cannot expect non-Christians to understand God’s laws and the need to follow them. They simply do not have the Holy Spirit residing within them and cannot understand that God is God.
There are many Christians today who want to go around or against God’s laws because they don’t want people to dislike them. This is a real problem if you are calling yourself a Christian and you are doing this. If you are looking at the world and saying…well, “I don’t see anything wrong with that!” It doesn’t matter what “you” think is “right” or “wrong” personally. If you start evaluating God’s laws as good or bad, or right or wrong, then you are putting yourself in the place of God. Then it becomes a way of “self worship” you are basically telling God that you think that you know better than he does about what is right and what is wrong!
Jesus was almost always at odds with society about right and wrong, but he did not try to change society’s rules to fit with God. He wasn’t interested in society’s rules; if it was a rule that was against what God intended he didn’t follow it, and if it was a rule that was in line with God’s laws, or had nothing to do with God..(such as taxation) he did follow it.
Jesus was interested in those who were interested in following God…he was interested in how they behaved. Jesus told his disciples to do what the Pharisees and teachers of the law said because they knew the laws, but not to behave the same way that they behaved! (Matthew 23) That is because the Pharisees did not behave in a loving and Godly manner when dealing with the people whom they were supposed to be leading. They were more interested in being seen as an elite group who were more important than everyone else than they were interested in following God. They were sitting in Mose’s seat (the seat of the law giver) and they were putting heavy burdens on the people by misusing the power God had given them. Essentially, they were misrepresenting who God was to the people they were leading. They had made God into a harsh condemning God, instead of a patient, loving and forgiving and gracious God. There is a heavy penalty for that behavior! Moses struck a rock in anger when leading the Israelites in the wilderness, and God was so angry with him for misrepresenting him, as an angry God, to the people that he did not let Moses enter the promised land. (Numbers 20:9-12)
If a Christian is following whatever society says is right and agreeing with it, even when it conflicts with God’s rules then not only are they putting themselves in the place of God, but they are misleading others as to what God requires. That means they are misrepresenting who God is to other people, and misrepresenting how serious God is about his laws to others also. He is so serious about his laws that he felt it was necessary to send Jesus to die for our sins in order to enable us to be reunited with God. The fact of the matter is that if a person cannot see that breaking God’s laws are a serious matter, then they cannot accept that they have sinned, which in turn makes it impossible for them to repent and accept the salvation that Jesus’ death makes possible for them. That is why Jesus said that he did not come to save the righteous. (Mark 2:16-17) In order to be saved, you must be able to admit that you are a sinner! The Pharisees could not do this! As Christians we should be living in peace with others as much as we are able,(Romans 12:18) but we also must not just follow along with the crowd of society when they say something is okay, yet we know that God does not think that it is okay at all! If we are true followers of Christ, then we will many times find ourselves in conflict with the ways of the world. Following God’s law is not always popular, but it is always the right law for the Christian to follow. (Incidentally, I am not speaking of whether you eat pork or not.) God is a God of love, but he is not a wishy washy, mushy marshmallow…he is still a serious God who is firm about what is right and what is wrong.
Psalm 111:10 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom; all who follow his precepts have good understanding. To him belongs eternal praise.