I recently wrote a post on authority and the government. And I received a comment from Marshall who said, “Did Acts 5:29 with the Apostles just take a hit here?” Oh the rub of delegated authority. For eons it has been debated and argued about. Should I abide by the governing authority of man or should I relegate myself to Kingdom authority. Which is obeying God? This can be a tricky one for sure.
On the one side the Word says:
But Peter and the apostles replied, “We must obey God rather than any human authority.” Acts 5:29 NLT
And on the other:
Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.
Romans 13:2 NIV
Maneuvering Delegated Authority
How am I to maneuver this minefield? How do I know when I am to obey human authority or God? Can anyone unscramble this egg? We better have a miracle here, right?! Here is the truth, NO man has the power to abide by the rule of God or the authority of man. Law makes us lawbreakers.
If God’s promise is only for those who obey the law, then faith is not necessary and the promise is pointless. For the law always brings punishment on those who try to obey it. (The only way to avoid breaking the law is to have no law to break!) Romans 4:14-15 NLT
For no one can ever be made right with God by doing what the law commands. The law simply shows us how sinful we are.
Romans 3:20 NLT
Here is our miracle, Christ in me. Christ in me fulfills the requirements of the law. Christ in me follows what He sees the Father doing. Christ in me is the only way I can live obeying God and the instituted delegated authority He sets in place through governing officials. Only Christ can thread this needle.
In Marshall’s scripture Peter and the apostles abided by the Life of Christ through the Spirit of Christ. These men were given God’s word to preach and the authority of man went completely counter to that order. Whenever man’s authority goes against God’s Will, we allow Christ’s Life to live His Will. This sounds like an escape hatch for sure. And how do I know that I heard God correctly in what was His Will? Dependence is the answer.
None of life can be lived knowing. Our knowledge is flawed at best. The purpose of the Law is to prove we can’t do it. The only way we can make it through this world pleasing the Father is by living in utter dependence on the Life of Christ. It is only Christ, who is THE LAW, who can abide by God’s Law. So no, Marshall, Acts 5:29 didn’t take a hit, I did. My life will ALWAYS break the Law. Law in itself is set up to be broken. Law is proof of my need for Christ’s Life. Only Christ in me can obey the Law. And only He knows when the authority of man is overreaching or when I must submit. This takes the pressure off me, as well as the temptation to make of myself a law in itself.
And be found in Him, not having mine own righteousness, which is of the law, but that which is through the faith of Christ, the righteousness which is of God by faith.
Philippians 3:9 KJV