The Laws of the Land

“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord’s sake” (cf. 1 Peter 2:13-14).

Submission is not our strong suit in America. Many Americans cheat on their taxes annually, disregard traffic laws habitually and even rip off employers regularly. Yet, Peter, who lived under a repressive Roman regime, demanded submission to the laws of the land. Question: when we refuse to obey even those minor, little laws of the land, how do we convince our neighbors of the value of God’s laws? Peter says we should obey the laws of the land “for the Lord’s sake.” He explains: “For so is the will of God, that with well doing ye may put to silence the ignorance of foolish men” (1 Peter 2:15).

People are constantly taking pot-shots at Christians. We are regularly jeered for faithfulness to laws that many of our neighbors ignore with seeming impunity. Laws are not always perfect in their purpose or application, but as godly people, we must submit because “to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin” (James 4:17). If we intentionally, willfully disregard the laws of the land in our everyday conduct, not only do we stand condemned in the sight of God but we also lay the body of Christ wide open to ridicule and mockery. How can anyone teach and stand for the truth in matters of eternal consequence, while at the same time disregarding matters of temporary, temporal consequence. The inconsistency is a glaring one and fodder for the infidel’s cannon.

A Christian will submit to the laws of the land so “that when they defame you as evildoers, those who revile your good conduct in Christ may be ashamed” (1 Peter 3:16).