38. What will our obedience to God’s law never let us do regarding governments and authorities, but what will it not let us join governments and authorities in doing?
38 Our conscientious obedience to God’s law may embarrass human governments and authorities. It may show up their error and their nonalignment with God’s law. But it will never, no, never lead us into subversive movements or conspiracies or violent revolts against such existing governments and authorities. When we render to God what belongs to God during this system of things, it does not mean that we do not also render to Caesar what belongs to Caesar. (Matt. 22:21) It does not mean that we are violating the apostolic counsel to “be in subjection and be obedient to governments and authorities as rulers.” It simply means that as conscientious Christians we will not join with imperfect, human governments and authorities when they fight against God. We must take our stand with Christ’s apostles when they said to a nonpolitical, religious court in Jerusalem: “We must obey God as ruler rather than men.”—Acts 5:29.
39. Accordingly, what apostolic instructions will we follow, and with what in mind?
39 In all cases we will follow the apostle Paul’s instruction about being in subjection to husbands, to slaveowners and to worldly, political governments and authorities as rulers, and about other affairs of life. This we will do “in order that those who have believed God may keep their minds on maintaining fine works. These things are fine and beneficial to men.”—Titus 3:8.
Subjecting Ourselves to “Every Human Creation”
1. Who are the freest people today, but how could they lose their freedom?
FREE people must be careful not to abuse their liberties or to use them as a cloak for selfish, lawless deeds. The freest people today are the people who have been set free from the bondage to the “ruler of this world,” Satan the Devil, who is the “god of this system of things,” the chief opposer of Jehovah God. (John 12:31; 2 Cor. 4:4) These people have been made free from the bondage to untruth, ignorance and superstitions. “If you remain in my word, you are really my disciples, and you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free,” said Jesus Christ, adding that “every doer of sin is a slave of sin. Moreover, the slave does not remain in the household forever; the son remains forever. Therefore if the Son sets you free, you will be actually free.” (John 8:31, 32, 34-36) Such disciples are free from the false human traditions and philosophies of this world that enslave men and hold them fast in a groove. They are not sin’s slaves who are not free to do right. But if they abused their freedom by becoming wild and then used their liberty as a cover for selfish lawlessness, they would lose their freedom. They would become slaves of sin, slaves of wrong.
2. How do true and imitation Christians differ as to use of freedom?
2 Imitation Christians abuse the liberties they have. True disciples of Christ do not abuse their freedom, for they are guided by God’s Word. They are wise. They know that to abuse one’s freedom leads to trouble and difficulty with existing institutions of men.
3. When and to whom did Peter address his first letter, and how did he address them?
3 Christians follow God’s Word as expressed through the apostle Peter in his first letter to Christians. About A.D. 62-64, or about the same time that the apostle Paul wrote his letter to Titus, Peter wrote the letter to the Christians in Asia Minor, which was then part of the Roman Empire but now belongs to Turkey. Peter addressed them, not as permanent residents of where they were then living, not as a component part of the local community, but as the “temporary residents scattered about in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia.”—1 Pet. 1:1.