When the Apostles were confronted by the high priest and the council, Peter responded, We must obey God rather than any human authority. With this, Peter pointed out the authority of God over any government. We obey government laws but if they are immoral, then we are not obliged to obey them. God is above any human government. Another thing Peter said is God exalted Jesus at his right hand as Leader and Savior that he might give repentance to Israel and forgiveness of sins. And we are witnesses to these things, and so is the Holy Spirit whom God has given to those who obey him.
Jesus is above any government and he is the One we need to obey. Governments may pass laws allowing immorality, and sadly, many Christians will agree with these laws. But the true believer of Jesus will not agree to these.
The Gospel tells us Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life; whoever disobeys the Son will not see life, but must endure God’s wrath. This is a scary thought. Given a choice, we need to choose the Word of God over the teaching of any man. Obedience to God leads to eternal life. Peter tells us obedience to God allows us to receive the Holy Spirit who will lead us to eternal life.
The Psalm today tells us: the Lord is near to the broken-hearted, and saves the crushed in spirit. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, but the Lord rescues them from them all. When we obey the Word of God, the Lord draws near to us, to give us hope. We may be persecuted, or we may be ridiculed, beaten for the sake of the Word, but we know the Lord rescues us from them all. Should we be called to give up our lives, we know God will give us eternal life. The question is: will I be willing to give up my life for the Lord?
As I said a few days ago, I personally cannot answer that question and I pray that should the time comes, I will have the courage to respond to God’s grace.
In the meantime, we pray for those who are suffering for the sake of the Word of God, for those in China and other communist countries, for those in Saudi Arabia and Muslim countries that persecute and even kill Christians. We ask God to receive these martyrs to his kingdom and may their blood be the seed of the Church.
We also pray for Christians in western countries, where society is canceling those who speak against evil. God will not lack in giving us the grace to stand for him. May we have courage to respond to that grace.
Lord, in the midst of persecution, may I have courage to stand up for you. When even if I am not ready, I give you permission to do with my life as you will.