In Part I of this study we looked at the amazing impacts of the Grace & Truth presented by Jesus to the adulteress brought before Him by the scribes and Pharisees. As we learned, this passage can be applied to each of our lives if we will only fall before Jesus seeking mercy, receiving grace and going forward to live in truth. In Part II, let’s dig deeper and examine the decision Jesus made when presented with the “trick” by the “religious” leaders. Just as we previously discussed the men came to Jesus to set Him up and present a “catch-22” scenario hoping He would either decry the Law of Moses or the Roman law. Interesting situation isn’t it? Choose to follow the laws of God or follow the laws of man. Now we know Jesus’ response provided a new path, one that only He can present, that laid the foundation for all who would follow Him. But let’s look closely at a group of friends from the Old Testament, who were also presented with choices to follow God or the laws of man.
The examples I’d like to look at all occurred in the Book of Daniel. With Daniel we get multiple examples of how the Law of God supersedes the laws of man. First we have Daniel and his friends refusing to eat the prepared delicacies of the king in order to maintain their convictions and religious beliefs. Daniel 1:8, “But Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the royal food and wine, and he asked the chief official for permission not to defile himself this way.” If you’re familiar with the story, you know that Daniel presented a challenge of “fitness” to those who partook of the kings foods verses Daniel and his friends who maintained their covenant. Daniel and his friends placed their faith in God, but were prepared for the consequences. The second example is a familiar one, those same friends of Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego refused to bow down and worship King Nebuchadnezzar’s image. They held fast to their faith in God and were prepared for the consequences of the fiery furnace. Daniel 3:17-18, “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to save us from it, and he will rescue us from your hand, O king. But even if he does not, we want you to know, O king, that we will not serve your gods or worship the image of gold you have set up.” As a result of their courage and conviction the men were thrown into the furnace, but through their faith God protected them and they exited unharmed. Daniel 3:24-30 The final example of choosing to follow God rather than the law of man occurred again with Daniel. This time working under a different king, King Darius, legislation was passed prohibiting anyone from praying to any other god or man for 30 days except the king. “Now when Daniel learned that the decree had been published, he went home to his upstairs room where the windows opened toward Jerusalem. Three times a day he got down on his knees and prayed, giving thanks to his God, just as he had done before.” Daniel 6:10 Daniel was subsequently thrown into the lion’s den, but just like his friends in the furnace, God brought him out unharmed. We see here in our third example that the Law of God once again superseded the law of man, but it’s important to note that in all three examples none of the men rallied supporters, protested against their governing body, or in any way tried to usurp the authority of government by their own doing. In each instance they relied on God through their faith to deliver them from the circumstances in which they were placed.
In examples such as these, a choice had to be made, either follow the law as God presents it or follow that of the governing body, but be prepared to face the consequences. It’s a pattern we find throughout the Bible and one we should be keenly aware of as we begin to observe those changes taking place in our own government. I want to mention briefly one of these changes that will soon present a choice for us as Christians. Will we follow God or the laws of man? The law of man NEVER supersedes the law of God.
In a story covered by the Christian Post a couple of weeks ago, entitled Government-Run Churches, we begin to get a glimpse of the choices we may soon be forced to make, to follow God or the laws of man. The author, Chuck Colson, points out that Christians in China are forced to join a constantly monitored, government-run church or join an underground church. In Britain, Colson points out, British government will soon “begin forcing churches and other religious institutions to hire open, practicing homosexuals” under the provision of the “Equity Bill”. Mr. Colson continues by asking, “What’s next-regulating the content of sermons?” and offers the conjecture of if America were to follow this legislature, “what will happen to the Church? Will we put our congregations under the authority of Caesar? Or will we resist and, if need be, abandon our elegant buildings and, like our faithful brethren in China, form underground churches?”
If you were to read that article when it was printed on June 24, 2009, you might’ve thought this would never happen in America. We’ve been given freedom and rights that allow us to worship God how we please. Really Christian? Are we to be so arrogant that we think our “Christian” standing in the U.S. is higher in order than those who are persecuted in China, Great Britain, or other countries? Here is your wakeup call: Last week details were released from testimony given by U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder to Senate Judiciary Committee. According to an article by WND, “U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder says a homosexual activist who is attacked following a Christian minister’s sermon about homosexuality would be protected by a proposed new federal law, but a minister attacked by a homosexual wouldn’t be.” Mr. Holder took questions regarding definitions of “hate crimes” one of which came from Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) where he presented the hypothetical scenario of a minister giving a sermon, quoting the Bible about homosexuality and is subsequently attacked by a gay activist. Mr. Sessions asks would that minister be protected by the “hate crimes” law. Secretary Holder offered this response, “”Well, the statute would not – would not necessarily cover that. We’re talking about crimes that have a historic basis. Groups who have been targeted for violence as a result of the color of their skin, their sexual orientation, that is what this statute tends – is designed to cover. We don’t have the indication that the attack was motivated by a person’s desire to strike at somebody who was in one of these protected groups. That would not be covered by the statute.”
You might have followed that story, or read the synopsis above and thought that it’s a stretch for something like that to happen. Or what direct application does this have to John 8 above. The threat is very real and the implications are clear. Just as those men in Daniel were placed in situations where they needed to choose between serving God or the laws of man and just as Jesus was deliberatly placed in a situation to choose between upholding the law as God presented to Moses or the Roman law, we may soon find ourselves at the same crossroad. The stage is being set where sermons on homosexual behavior will no longer be lawful. Where ministers will no longer be allowed to call homosexuality a sin, in fact merely reading those passages from the Bible could soon be declared a hate crime. Think it can’t happen? Just monitor the happenings in Great Britain to see the potential “progress” the U.S. could soon make.
Will you be ready to stand for God and accept the consequences?
Joshua 24:15 But if serving the LORD seems undesirable to you, then choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your forefathers served beyond the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the LORD.
Mark 13:3-13 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives opposite the temple, Peter, James, John, and Andrew asked Him privately, 4 “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign when all these things will be fulfilled?” 5 And Jesus, answering them, began to say: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 6 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am He,’ and will deceive many. 7 But when you hear of wars and rumors of wars, do not be troubled; for such things must happen, but the end is not yet. 8 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be earthquakes in various places, and there will be famines and troubles. These are the beginnings of sorrows. 9 “But watch out for yourselves, for they will deliver you up to councils, and you will be beaten in the synagogues. You will be brought before rulers and kings for My sake, for a testimony to them. 10 And the gospel must first be preached to all the nations. 11 But when they arrest you and deliver you up, do not worry beforehand, or premeditate what you will speak. But whatever is given you in that hour, speak that; for it is not you who speak, but the Holy Spirit. 12 Now brother will betray brother to death, and a father his child; and children will rise up against parents and cause them to be put to death. 13 And you will be hated by all for My name’s sake. But he who endures to the end shall be saved.