Acts 5-6: Obeying God Rather than Man

The apostles were brought in and made to appear before the Sanhedrin to be questioned by the high priest. “We gave you strict orders not to teach in this name,” he said. “Yet you have filled Jerusalem with your teaching and are determined to make us guilty of this man’s blood.”

Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings!

Acts 5:27-29, NIV


Contained within this short passage is one of the most difficult predicaments that we find ourselves forced to deal with. What do you do when the proper authorities of man come into conflict with the authority of God? While the consequences may be difficult, the answer to the question is not: When our human authorities differ from the Word of God, God wins every time!


In the passage above, we find the apostles preaching about Jesus. They have received the command to preach from God, but the Jewish authorities (who, by the way, did have legal authority within Jerusalem given to them by the Roman government) have commanded them not to preach in the name of Jesus. The apostles stated a simple fact that is just as relevant in our day and age as it was in theirs. The principle is that when we can be in agreement with both God and men, we do so. But when we can be in agreement with only one, that "one" has to be God.


The reason that this is so important is becoming clearer and clearer as each day goes by. We are being given new laws concerning the worship. A disease is being blamed for these laws, but they still are increasingly coming into conflict with God's instruction concerning our meeting together on the first day of the week. In addition to this, Bible teachings on sexual immorality and purity are now being challenged by our often corrupt, and even more often immoral, court system. What are we to do?


Again, the answer is simple even though the penalties for abiding by that answer are often not so simple. The fact remains. When God's laws are in conflict with man's laws, only one acceptable avenue is available to Christians, and it is the same answer that Peter and the rest of the apostles gave to their wicked leadership during their day and age: "We must obey God, rather than man."


One more thought: The only way we can know what God commands is by being familiar with His Word. This is why we read!


The reading for the next two days is from Acts chapters 5 & 6. These chapters contain many straight forward truths that we must be aware of and obey, if we are to be pleasing to God.