Over the years I’ve heard many comments and complaints about obedience, specifically when an authority requires someone to follow an extra-biblical rule. I’ve heard the complaint leveled against christian colleges, who require students to follow strict behavioral and dress standards. I’ve heard it said against parents who want their families to live by certain standards.
I’m not talking about situations when an authority asks someone to do something that is unbiblical or sinful. That is a completely different situation.
Every time I heard complaints like these it didn’t sit right with me, but I couldn’t quite articulate what was wrong with their logic. Recently in our Sunday school, our pastor addressed this very topic and he quoted two verses that settled the entire issue in my mind.
1 John 2:3-5 “Now by this we know that we know Him, if we keep His commandments. He who says, “I know Him,” and does not keep His commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in Him. But whoever keeps His word, truly the love of God is perfected in him. By this we know that we are in Him.”
Hebrews 13:17 “Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.”
Just because a specific wish or command of an authority is not found directly in the Bible does not mean that it is a “legalistic” or “sinful” command. In fact, if an authority makes clear his wishes it then does become a command from God because He tells us to obey and be submissive.
Not only does God want us to obey, but He wants us to be submissive in such a way as to bring joy to our authorities. In other words, if we obey, but we do so with a grumbling word or attitude we will bring undesirable consequences to ourselves. (see Hebrews 13:17 above)
God can use us in mighty ways when we assume our proper position under our authority’s protection.