Having an Authority and Obeying it

Several weeks ago, as I was perusing around YouTube, a video caught my eye and I clicked on it to see what it was all about. The video showed a man getting pulled over by police for not having a valid license plate on his car. As the police officer approached his window, he asked for the man’s driver’s license, registration, and proof of insurance. What happened next was surprising to me. The man stated that he did not consent to the laws of his state and therefore, did not need a valid driver’s license of registration. He stated that he was not driving, but traveling, and therefore had protections under the 14th Amendment of the constitution. I’ve come to learn that this man is part of a growing movement in Western countries called the Sovereign Citizen movement. These Sovereign Citizens believe that the laws of their countries are illegitimate, which therefore allows them to answer only to their own interpretation of the law. This illegitimacy allows them to separate themselves from governmental regulation, including not paying taxes, registering cars, and not having driver’s licenses or other licenses that may be required. By taking this stand, they feel they have the ability to consent or not consent to obedience to the laws of their country and their state. If I’ve piqued your interest in this movement, you should spend some time on YouTube watching some of the videos available… They are actually quite entertaining, if only because the whole movement is so off-kilter.

As I’ve been watching these videos and doing a little reading about this movement, it hit me that many of us as Christians have a similar attitude about obedience to God and the Bible as ‘Sovereign Citizens’ have toward the laws of the land. In both situations, we see people who have a higher authority they are called to obey roundly disobeying that authority. In addition, in both cases, we see a group of people who want all the protections and benefits from the higher authority but don’t want to obey the authority and their rules. In the case of us Christians, we have a Bible that serves as our authority as the authoritative Word of God, and yet, like Sovereign Citizens, we often disobey that authority and replace it with our own moral code of what is right and wrong. This moral code has some biblical undertones in it, probably just enough to look somewhat biblical. 1 John is a great book to study in this regard. In Chapter 2, the apostle John writes, “but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected.” John continues this theme in Chapter 5, “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments. And his commandments are not burdensome.”

My encouragement to those reading this today as a believer in Jesus: 1. Know the Word of God by reading and studying it. 2. Work on your obedience by simply knowing what God is asking you to do and then do it. We have a nice worksheet here to help you get started. And finally, 3. As you begin obeying the Bible, encourage others to do the same as a normative course of what it means to be a believer in God and in His Son.


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