Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work, To speak evil of no man, to be no brawlers, but gentle, shewing all meekness unto all men. For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another. But after that the kindness and love of God our Saviour toward man appeared, Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; Which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Saviour; That being justified by his grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life. Titus 3 1-7 KJV
Paul wrote the book of Titus. He called Titus, “his son in the faith”, and he was writing to Titus because he left him in Crete. His mission was to basically start a church or churches there, and the book of Titus is a blueprint for how the church should operate. There is a lot of good advice about how the people in the church should behave. This short book is full of good instruction. There is a model for the behavior of elders, bishops, older men, older women, younger men, and younger women.
Paul reminds us that we were all once sinners, but have received grace and forgiveness from God, we are washed, regenerated, renewed by the Holy Ghost. We are justified, and made heirs with Christ, and have the hope of eternal life!
In the first sentence of this verse, we are told to obey those in power. What about evil leaders? I think we have to take the Bible as a whole. When Daniel, and his friends, in the Old Testament, were presented with laws that went against their faith, they disobeyed tactfully. Daniel was thrown in a den of lions, his friends in a fiery furnace for punishment, but God delivered them. Standing for what is right is more admirable, and necessary, than following the crowd, when they are disobeying God’s laws. There are many other stories, like the one about Elijah when Ahab was king. God intervened, and saved Elijah’s life on more than one occasion. The story about Moses, and the Pharaoh of Egypt was exciting to read, because God delivered not just Moses, but the whole nation of Israel from Pharaoh’s hand. There are more stories like these. They remind us that occasionally we have to obey God rather than men.
I think if at all possible, we should try to obey the law, but not when it goes against God’s laws. We must obey God foremost. He is the ultimate authority. We might suffer for our disobedience of a law, but perhaps God will deliver us, as he did for others of the faith. I do believe these are trying times for people who love God. The fear of God should override the fear of man though. Paul said it best when he said, “To live is Christ, to die is gain.”
Our final authority is God, and we need to know what He says. One of my favorite verses is Psalm 119:11: “Thy word have I hid in my heart, that I might not sin against thee.”
Lord, help us to follow the plans You have for us. Give us wisdom and direction to act properly as Your followers. Thank You!