What happens when you see a sign: “Road closed”? Do you follow the detour or drive around the barricade because “No one is going to tell me I can’t use this road”? Tell a little one, “Don’t touch,” and what may he likely do when you turn your back? Take your shoes off, wear a mask, show ID. Why do rules like these make us want to do just the opposite?
It’s proof of our sinful nature. “The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God” (Rom. 8:7-8). By nature, we want nothing to do with God or with those whom He places over us, such as parents, teachers, pastors, police, and elected representatives. We don’t want anyone telling us what to do. We want to choose our own path and indulge our own desires. It may feel good at the moment, but the end result is catastrophic. For the wages of sin is death. Whether it is defying parents’ house rules, breaking traffic laws, or giving in to sins of sexual immorality, every act of disobedience brings a death sentence from the holy God.
But Paul also writes, “There is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit of life set me free from the law of sin and death” (Rom. 8:1-2). The Holy Spirit has called us out of stubborn unbelief to faith in Jesus. Through the Word He has led us to repent of our disobedience and to trust that Jesus has given us His perfect obedience and in exchange took upon Himself our guilt and punishment. Jesus was condemned that we might be justified, that is, pronounced not guilty in God’s court.
That gives us an entirely different attitude toward authority, whether it is God’s laws in Scripture or the rules handed down by His delegated authorities in the home, church, or government. Rather than resisting them and wanting to do just the opposite, gratitude for salvation moves us to willingly follow the directions given us. Through obedience, the Lord fills our days with countless blessings, for His laws are not intended to harm, but to protect and bless us. He appoints authorities over us, not to deprive us, but to enable us to make the most of this time of grace. Look for those gifts today. Rather than resent the rules, let’s see them as channels for God’s love and opportunities for showing our love to Him.
In Jesus’ name,
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