The Law of the Land

Douglas VanBronkhorst

READ : Acts 21:27-39
Acts 22:22-29

When Paul was accosted by a mob in Jerusalem, he ended up in the custody of Roman military authorities. The Apostle then used interesting means to save himself from worse trouble. In chapter 21, he appealed in Greek to the common decency of a Roman officer to make sure he knew whom he was arresting. He also used the chance to preach Christ under the protection of the Roman army!

In chapter 22, Paul again appealed to Roman law. This led to a witness for Christ before the chief priest and entire council, again protected by Rome! Paul wasn’t avoiding pain; he was simply capitalizing on Roman law to fulfill his mission.

As believers, we respect laws and government. Laws are the attempts of flawed, sinful people to pursue peace and justice, but the drive for justice is from God. Like Paul we use laws with gratitude. Sometimes human authorities enhance our witness, sometimes they stand in the way. In either situation our duty is to proclaim Christ. If you have the government’s blessing, give thanks. If not, take courage.


God, help me use my freedom to be a witness for Christ; give courage to those who witness without the favor of the laws of the land.