Authority And Obedience | The Institute for Creation Research
Authority And Obedience

“Speak not evil one of another, brethren. He that speaketh evil of his brother, and judgeth his brother, speaketh evil of the law, and judgeth the law: but if thou judge the law, thou art not a doer of the law, but a judge” (James 4:11).

Some things are entirely under God’s authority. Judgment is one of these. We are instructed not to judge one another, for, as our text teaches, when we judge a brother, we are in reality judging the law (in context, God’s commands to us). When we do so, we are setting ourselves above the law (i.e., better than the law). In fact, we are setting up our own law in bold rebellion against God and His order.

Of course, this is strictly forbidden. There can be only one ultimate law giver (v.12), and He has given us clear teaching and principles on how we should act and what we may or may not do. His laws stem from omniscient knowledge of human character and are designed not only with our best interests in mind, but also to make us keenly aware of our desperate need for a Savior. God is able “to save and to destroy” (v.12), and it would behoove us to respect Him, His law, and His authority. The fact that He will judge righteously—not with human justice—should bring both comfort and warning, for His is a holy standard. It is a comfort to know that evildoers, especially those who persecute us, will be justly judged. But take warning, our own deeds and attitudes come under the same holy scrutiny. Rather than usurp God’s authority, we ought to love God’s authority, because even His laws stem from His love for us and are not excessively burdensome (I John 5:3).

Make no mistake. Human government has been granted authority in certain areas to make laws and to punish wrongdoers. (For example, see Romans 13:1–7.) God’s laws must not only be kept distinct from man’s laws, we must likewise not set up our own law. JDM

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