Human Law vs. God’s Law

The start of Exodus has me thinking about morals, specifically relating to the difference between human laws and God’s laws.

We all know that we can violate God’s laws and not violate human laws, for example adultery and pornography are legal (in our country) but violate God’s law (for good reason).

One thing we do not see often in Canada but do so in Exodus is sometimes following God’s laws and commands will violate a human law. The Egyptians were instructed to kill all Jewish boys as they were born and later on as they were found. I can’t imagine the heart ache that this law caused the nation.

1 Peter 2: 13 Be subject for the Lord’s sake to every human institution, whether it be to the emperor as supreme, 14 or to governors as sent by him to punish those who do evil and to praise those who do good. 15 For this is the will of God, that by doing good you should put to silence the ignorance of foolish people. 16 Live as people who are free, not using your freedom as a cover-up for evil, but living as servants of God. 17 Honor everyone. Love the brotherhood. Fear God. Honor the emperor.

First Peter talks about submitting to human institutions but also says to honor everyone. But what if the human institutions tell its people disrespect or oppress others? Is this a biblical contradiction? No. As Christians was are called to sacrifice and show love like Christ, who died for others. It was illegal under Nazi rule to hide Jews. But hiding Jews was morally right and was in fact following God’s law, as we know what the Jews were to face if found by the Nazis.

The way we both submit to human institutions and honour everyone is to do what is commanded by God AND accept the consequences of doing so under human law: ie persecution or incarceration for harbouring Jews in world war 2. This is a hard truth that luckily many of us in this part of the world don’t face, at least on this magnitude.

I pray today we can be bold to carry out God’s laws even if it costs us friendships, relationships, family members or jobs. It may not be losing our legal freedom or our lives but these other loses can cause much pain. But God is faithful to us, He will reward us for being streadfast amidst our struggles.

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