Obedience

“All too often legalism is employed whenever we consider obedience inconvenient.”

"The word legalism is overused. Sometimes I tell my students at the seminary where I teach that they may use this word once a year and no more. All too often legalism is employed whenever we consider obedience inconvenient." - Derek Thomas

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Live Free: Our Liberty to Obey

In the historical drama about the American Revolutionary War, The Patriot, a slave named Occam is signed up for the militia in place of his enslaver, who is too cowardly to fight himself. Occam goes to war because he has been forced to. He is thrust into duty. But the sub-plot thickens.

Occam later discovers that General George Washington has issued a declaration that promises freedom to any man who fights in the militia for one year. As soon as he discovers this, his attitude changes to one of determination and hope for freedom. His racist comrades assume that as a reluctant conscript Occam will quit fighting for the cause as soon as he gains his freedom. However, after fighting for a full year, the warrior is granted his freedom, and for the first time, he has the choice to do as he pleases. His shows his mettle when he chooses to remain in his fighting unit, of his own volition, fighting for the cause as a compatriot, not as a slave.

In a similar way, Christians choose to submit to governing authorities, but not because we are forced to. Our volition is driven by a deeper motive.

Previously, we saw that all human authority is actually delegated divine authority and that when we submit to governance, we acknowledge God’s prerogative to place them over us. We trust God to do his will for us, through them, and that God will bring about his justice in the end. Today we will consider…

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